Australian chilled beef to be sold online to Chinese consumers

28 August 2015

Chinese consumers will soon be able to buy Australian chilled beef direct online for the first time in a ground breaking partnership between a premium meat exporter and China’s largest online retailer. 

Premium meat exporter Bindaree Beef Group and their meat sales and marketing business, Sanger Australia, have partnered with JD.com, the largest online direct sales company in China, to launch packed-in-Australia chilled retail-ready beef into the Chinese market. 

Sanger Australia has brokered a memorandum of understanding, with support from Austrade and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) who are working to increase trade and open up markets for Australian beef in China and other overseas markets.

Australian beef has a valued reputation in overseas markets because of its safe, traceable, and high quality profile over other imported meats, particularly in China where safety is at the forefront of consumers’ purchasing decisions.  

In China this week with Sanger Australia, JD.com and MLA representatives, Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the agreement will bring market opportunities for branded beef products into the lucrative Chinese market.

“This partnership with JD.com is an exciting prospect with the potential to open up trade opportunities for the entire beef industry as we look to capitalise on the rising consumer desires from our key Asian trading nations,” Minister Robb said.    

Sanger Australia CEO James Campbell said this was a great opportunity to market their product as a highly desirable premium beef brand. 

“We now have a platform to deliver a unique premium, fully traceable Australian product, direct from our plant in Inverell, Northern NSW, to millions of homes in China,” Mr Campbell said.

“For us this is about innovation and generating value for a product that would have traditionally been sold to a fast food chain. These beef products will now be sold through an online channel that captures a significant Chinese audience.”

“We’ve seen a huge demand for imported fresh Australian food, and we are delighted to be working with Sanger Australia to bring their world-class beef products to our more-than100 million customers in China,” Carol Fung, Vice President of JD.com and President of JD.com’s FMCG Business Unit said.

MLA International Markets General Manager Michael Finucan said MLA had been building the reputation of Australia’s high quality, safe and trusted beef in China for over a decade to give Australian brands increased access to this crucial market.

“MLA’s objective in China has been enhancing market access, growing awareness and promoting the benefits of Australian beef to open up potential trade opportunities for all Australian beef producers. 

“We know Chinese consumers have a taste for high quality and brands they can trust, and through our CoMarketing program, Sanger Australia has capitalised on these insights by securing a booming online platform to market premium beef directly to consumers,” he said.

Chinese online shoppers will begin to see First Cut Pure Australian Beef chilled cuts of steak, beef fingers and strips sold through JD.com from late September. 

Key China market insights:

  • 40% of Chinese consumers buy food online (vs 10% in the US) (Source: McKinsey report 2015)
  • Online grocery sales in China rose nearly 50% in 2014 (Source: 2015 report by OC&C Strategy Consultants)
  • Online grocery sales in China are estimated to be around US$41 billion in 2015, and forecast to increase to $178 billion by 2020 (Source: IGD Retail Analysis)
  • JD.com has 96.6 million active customers, and fulfilled 689 million orders in 2014. As at 30 June 2015, JD.com operated 166 warehouses and a total of 4,142 delivery stations, with 84,322 employees across China.
  • China was the fourth largest export market for Australian beef in 2014, both in volume and value terms. Beef exports to the market registered 124,586 tonnes swt, valued at A$760 million FOB.
  • China’s total beef consumption is estimated at 7.6 million tonnes in 2014.
  • Imported beef accounted for an estimated 24% of total Chinese beef consumption last year.
  • Australia accounted for 45% of total official imported beef in 2014.
  • Australia was the number one supplier of imported beef directly into China in 2014.
  • Australian beef represented around 2.7% of overall Chinese beef consumption in 2014.

About the MLA CoMarketing program

MLA’s CoMarketing Program supports Australian companies to develop marketing strategies for their beef, lamb, and goat meat brands.

It is important for Australian red meat brand owners to communicate and market their brand attributes to keep a step ahead of competition – such as other proteins or other competitor suppliers.

MLA works closely with Australian exporters to help them create and capture value (by promoting their own branded red meat products), from the consumer back down the supply chain to the producer.  


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