17 Swedish food producers gain valuable practical experience of the China market
Source: | Author:Per Linden | Publish time: 2019-05-24 | 20 Views | Share:
We congratulate the 17 Swedish food brands that were selected and participated in the 2019 China market entry program organized by Scandic Sourcing. This year’s participants were: 
  • Nordmarkens Destilleri
  • Nyckelbryggerierna
  • Saturnus
  • The Uncharted Brewing Company
  • Moreganic Sourcing (Wästgötarna och Camellina of Sweden)
  • Enago
  • Vitalynx
  • Ice River Water
  • Nordic Superfoods
  • Malmö Vinegar factory
  • Truffle and our Friends
  • Brandstar Alliance
  • Arcus
  • Darhult Dairy
  • Lisellas
The companies got a chance to get training on Chinese food preferences, food standards and export documentation, export financing , market structure and business culture. Then they sent a shipment of selected products to China for import processing, participated in exhibition, distributor meetings and in store promotions. The program was coordinated by Dalarna Science Park and the EEN network in Sweden and partly financed via the Swedish Agency for Regional Growth.

The Chinese imported food market is now the largest in the world with a yearly import USD 80 Billion per year with a growth rate of 15% per year. However, cultural and technical barriers makes it a difficult market to approach.

Scandic Sourcing is a consulting company that work with market entry in China since 2006. The company has a sister company Scandic Foods Asia that has 10 years’ experience of food import to China. Both companies are owned by Per Linden, a China veteran with 16 years in Shanghai, and a previous 21 year career in the Sandvik group.

Per tells the story of how this program emerged:

“With a background in the industrial machinery sector in Sweden I had the assumption that export is the focus for every business from day one.

When I started to work with the food industry I was surprised with the low interest in export. Even large companies did not have an export department. Norway was often the main and only export country. Export outside EU was very limited. Only Absolut Vodka had a sizable export focused production business and some companies were happy that IKEA did their export. The focus for most companies was either ICA with 51% market share in food retail or Systembolaget with a 100% monopoly on alcoholic drink.

After our first test imports of Swedish foods to China we realized that this market had a huge appetite for anything imported and the Sweden was a country with a good image.  However, we could not make Swedish food companies interested to sell to us. The ones that bravely tried had enormous problems with documentation and to understand our requirements for freshness. We also learned step by step all the technical restrictions and the peculiar Chinese food standard.

After meeting several Swedish regional export developers among them Invest in Skåne and Dalarna Science Park we put together an experience program with the goal of making more food producing companies aware an d interested in export and equip them with knowledge and tools to get a better chance for success. We don't expect large sales after the first try, instead the participating companies will understand better about the potential in China but also obstacles to success and especially get a better feel for how packing design, packing size, flavors and other requirements needs to be adapted. With this understanding they become interesting partners and potential suppliers to our food business”, explains Per Linden.