Chinese beef imports rise as consumer tastes evolve

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Chinese imports of beef have recorded impressive growth this year. In the year to September, China imported 1.57 million tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, according to Chinese government statistics. This is almost 40% more than the same period in the previous year. This is a due to a combination of a national protein deficit following the decimation of the pig herd by ASF, and the growth in the middle class influencing consumer purchasing and consumption patterns.

While imports have continued to rise, there have been some sizable changes from where the beef is imported. Brazil has drastically increased its market share this year, with the nation now accounting for almost 40% of China’s beef imports, compared with 22% the previous year. Brazilian beef is highly price competitive, with prices per tonne lower than Australia and New Zealand in dollar terms, which has enabled Brazil to capture some of these nations’ market share.



By Felicity Rusk

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