Chocolate in China—Catch Up the Opportunities and Reduce Losses

放大字体  缩小字体 Date:05 Sep 2017  Source:Foodmate  Writer:Sun Guoliang  Views:172
Since 2015, the chocolate import in China continues to grow strongly all the time, and has achieved 19.347 billion in sales, with year-on-year growth up to 12%, and has achieved a compound annual growth rate of 12.73% since 2010. With the rise of Chinese consumption level, the consumption quantity of chocolate in China continues to increase, and import quantity will also gradually increase. During February 14 Western Valentine’s Day, and the traditional Chinese Double-Seventh Day which is considered as Chinese Valentine’s Day, the boy will give his loved girl chocolate as a gift, therefore, these festivals constitute the emerging chocolate consumption season in China in recent years. There are important reference values for the overseas chocolate enterprises to successfully export their products to China if they understand the Chinese standard laws and regulations of chocolate and the relevant previous food safety incidents and import & export notification cases. This article briefly summarizes the relevant knowledge of Chinese chocolate import. For more details, please see “Series of China imported Food Manuals – Chocolate” compiled by Foodmate.

Chocolate is not included in the registration list of oversea food enterprises registration in China, so the import process of chocolate is basically the same as that of other ordinary foods, including filing of importer & exporter, preparation of Chinese labels and other materials for inspection submission, implementation of inspection and quarantine and other operations, while no more detailed description is shown here.

The Chinese product standard related to chocolate are mainly GB 9678.2-2014 “National food safety standard Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate products with cocoa butter alternatives” and GB/T 19343-2016 “Chocolate and chocolate products, chocolate and chocolate products with cocoa butter alternatives”, the former of which is a mandatory national food safety standard specifying the food safety requirements that the chocolate products must meet, including basic requirements for sensory, microbiological, contaminant, food additives, etc.; the latter of which is a recommended product standard specifying the classification of chocolate and its products, raw & auxiliary materials requirements and physicochemical indicators and other quality requirements on the basis of food safety requirements. In the standard chocolate and its products are mainly divided into such four categories including chocolate, chocolate products, chocolate and chocolate products with cocoa butter alternatives. It shall be noted that Chinese Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureaus carry out inspections during the import process mainly according to the national food safety standards.

In the past few years, there are no major food safety incidents of chocolate, in July 2016, a test from a German non-governmental food inspection organization made the world famous chocolate brand Ferrero into a carcinogenic trouble, Kinder chocolate was accused of containing carcinogens “aromatic hydrocarbons mineral oil”. Mineral oil is a common problem across the industry, at present most countries and regions at home and abroad have not specified the limits in the food, therefore, Foodmate considers that, although the event caused widespread attention of public, it won’t have a great impact on Chinese imports of chocolate.

In addition, in China, the chocolate event that media reported mainly include foreign body contamination, living insects, etc., the recall events of foreign chocolate are mostly due to unlabeled allergens. Currently allergen identification is voluntary in China, however, Foodmate gets the news that GB 7718 (recently begun to be revised) has confirmed that allergens shall be mandatorily labeled in the future, and this point need to be paid attention. In addition, biological contamination, heavy metals exceeding the limit, additives usage out of scope are also the common problems of imported chocolate. According to the information obtained from the Foodmate sampling inspection enquiry & analysis system, we can see that the labeling is the main reason for the non-conformity in Chinese domestic sampling inspection in recent years, followed by food additives and microorganism; the unqualified products of imported chocolate mainly come from Belgium, Italy, Vietnam, Switzerland, South Korea. Unqualified products form these five countries accounted for more than half of the total number of imported unqualified chocolate; labeling is also the main reason for non-conformity, followed by food additives and other reasons. It can be seen that the importers and exporters of chocolate shall pay enough attention to the issue of label identification.

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