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At Zudu, we’re passionate about helping businesses expand their presence in new markets, with China at the top of the list.

We understand that opportunities wait for nobody and that by tapping into lucrative and thriving economies, you can capture the attention of new potential customers, and unlock additional revenue streams in the process.

As a Scottish food and drink business, the chances are that you’ve spent a long time crafting and developing products and marketing them through social media, content marketing and paid ads, but you may not have considered the benefits of taking your company global.

Below, we explain why Scottish food and drinks businesses are missing out on the huge opportunities that China offers, and explore ways you can make a splash in the country…

Food and drink is a huge Scottish export

The food and drink sector is one of Scotland’s biggest exports, with sales topping £4.8 billion in 2015 and rising to £6 billion in 2017 - and it’s performing well domestically, too.

According to Scotland Food & Drink, the industry is now the biggest in the country, worth an incredible £14 billion, with estimates suggesting that the figure could double to £30 billion by 2030.

The growth in Scotland’s food and drink sector is great news for firms that are considering international expansion, too.

China is a net importer of foods and beverages, with soybeans, meat products, wines, spirits, confectionery, chocolates, water, dairy and sugar topping the list of in-demand products.

With a unique proposition, branding and a strong marketing strategy, you could soon export your products in the country and generate healthy returns.

The Food and Hotel China exhibition

In November, we headed to China on a trade mission and exhibited at the Food and Hotel China event.

Supported by the UK’s Department of International Trade and Dundee City Council, our participation saw us speak with hundreds of Chinese and international firms and top buyers, many of whom were looking to take on new food and drink lines for their firms.

With more than 2,450 exhibitors from 69 countries and an eye-watering 91,000 trade buyers, it was great to meet some incredibly exciting food and drinks brands, all of whom importing top-quality products from their home countries to expand their presence in China and Asia.

This year’s event, which will take place from the 12th to 14th of November, will host 120,000 buyers and more than 3,500 companies at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

One thing missing from 2018’s event, however, was strong Scottish representation. Other than Zudu and the craft beer firm we were supporting, very few Scottish brands were in attendance.

As one of the most lucrative food and beverage events in the country, small and medium-sized Scottish firms could benefit greatly, putting their company on the global map, generating new leads and finding international customers.

Huge demand for Scottish produce

China is home to a $700 billion food and beverage industry, overtaking the United States in 2011 to become the world’s largest consumer.

With a growing middle class and increased purchasing power, demand for high-quality foreign produce is on the rise, with health foods and quirky, original food and beverages in season.

Today’s savvy, well-travelled consumers are happy to spend above and beyond to follow trends or enjoy a premium product at home.

Something to consider when exporting your goods to China is local taste. Some of the world’s most successful food chains, such as KFC, have customised their products to suit tastes and trends.

You could introduce new flavours, experiment with what’s hot in China, or stick to your guns and market your foods and beverages as traditional Scottish cuisine.

When attempting to crack into the market, be mindful of where you offer your products.

58% of Chinese consumers buy foreign products online from domestic e-commerce stores, so by signing up to a site like Alibaba or WeChat, you can appease demand and increase sales.

Opportunities on home turf

As well as offering app and web development and digital marketing services at Zudu, one of our main areas of focus is tourism. In Scotland alone, tourism generates £12 billion a year for the wider supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to GDP.

Those figures are on the rise as more and more Chinese tourists head west to explore countries including Scotland.

We’re entering into a new dawn of Chinese tourism, with middle-class travellers becoming more independent and adventurous. According to Visit Scotland, Chinese tourists spent £44 million in Scotland last year, compared to £694 million across the whole of the UK.

Scottish cities and tourist attracts have not focused on targeting Chinese consumers to date, which presents a whole host of opportunities for food and beverage businesses looking for growth.

If you’re concerned about the costs or risks of expanding into a new country, then you could consider the opportunities on home turf, instead.

Marketing your brand towards the growing number of Chinese tourists in Scotland will ensure that when they do visit, they’ll remember your business and will want to buy your quality merchandise, and spread the word to friends.

Let Zudu China help

At Zudu China, we offer a unique digital marketing solution that’s designed to increase your presence and protect your intellectual property in China.

In a market so different from that of the UK, including language, culture, law, and social media, trust us to guide through the challenges of entering into the country.

Contact our Dundee-based team today on 01382 690080 to arrange a consultation, and check back to our blog regularly for more helpful tips.

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