Cheese has yet to become an established product and has not yet become a familiar item in most of the families In China. On average, the annual supply of cheese in China is 30,000 tonne, and the annual consumption of cheese by Chinese people is around 20g. The market for cheese in China has very great potential with annual increase by 45% in recent five years.
At the early stage of the market research, it was reported that there were 3,500 tonnes of so-called cream cheese used in China, while after further investigation, we found that only 560 tonnes could have the quality of international standard, of which 500 tonnes were imported with the tariff number as H.S.04061000 (fresh cheese), and 60 tonnes were locally produced by Hohhot Yite Milk Products limited. The reason is that a large amount of butter, margarine and cream is used as cream cheese ingredients in China since the cost of imported cream cheese is too high, and at the same time Chinese customers are not picky in consuming of cream cheese because they are not familiar with the real products.
More than 95% of Cream Cheese is used as the ingredients of Cheese Cake in China, and less than 3% is used in salads & home consuming, while for pizza and ice cream there is no consuming of cream cheese ingredients. As to the sales channels of cream cheese, the usage volume in star hotels is around 60%, and for chain stores, cheese cake corporations and others, the volume is 25%, 10% and 5% respectively.
Cream Cheese in China is categorized according to fat content. Most of the imported brands have 32-35% fat content with import price at Euro 2.7/kg (CIF), while the local made brand Yite has higher fat content as 37% with factory price at Euro 3.05/kg. Both the price and the quality of the local produced cream cheese have less advantage compared with the imported ones. Low technology levels and the shortage of large scale production are the main reasons for the high cost of local production of cream cheese.
New Zealand and Australia are the biggest suppliers of cream cheese for China. The main importers/traders of fresh cheese (cream cheese) were Bongrain (Tianjin), Guangzhou Zhilian, Guangzhou Danone, Beijing Yinhe and Shanghai Bingshen..
Gross Margin of different cream cheese products in Chinese market are 30% for local producing corporations and 20%-30% for traders/ importers, with the price difference at 50%-80% between import corporations and the industrial buyers. It is estimated that market demand will increase by 30% in the next 3-5 years.
Currently the main standard of cream cheese products is NY 478-2002 (soft cheese) which is derived from the Ministry of Agriculture of PRC.