Bord Bia targets slice of China's pizza pie
THE westernisation of Chinese diets presents an opportunity for Irish firms to ramp up exports of pizza cheese to the world's most populous nation, according to Bord Bia.
The semi-State body is about to undertake market research to identify the scale of the opportunity in China, which already accounts for 10pc of the total Irish dairy export market.
There are over 3,700 pizza outlets in China, the vast majority of which are chain outlets, noted Bord Bia. The number of pizza restaurants is expected to continue to grow to more than 4,300 in 2022, according to the agency.
"Irish dairy exports to China are dominated by specialised nutritional powders, particularly in the infant milk formula category," noted Bord Bia.
"However, beyond infant formula, the 'westernisation' of diets has been identified as an opportunity for Irish dairy in China," it said.
Bord Bia is about to appoint a market research provider to analyse the potential market in China for pizza cheese, which would include mozzarella.
According to Euromonitor, the pizza foodservice market in China is estimated to have been worth €3bn in 2017 and expected to hit €4.2bn by 2022.
"We believe from industry consultation that the customer base for pizza cheese is fragmented and we wish to build this understanding of customers' needs or routes to building successful supplier relationships in this space," said Bord Bia.
It wants to drill down into the Chinese pizza market to determine extent of the segmentation and requirements of the market. The analyses will include an examination of pricing and margins.
It also wants to explore the scope for Irish cheese manufacturers to establish joint ventures or partnerships with domestic producers in China.