The closure of foodservice channels as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 resulted in the transfer of some processed meat and seafood sales to retail, as consumers increasingly cooked and consumed meals at home. The increase in demand for food for home consumption has boosted sales of processed meat, and especially shelf stable meat, which has seen sales rise in tandem with burgeoning sales of instant noodles.
Soy products such as tofu comprise a significant majority of meat substitutes in the Chinese market. Soy products are seeing a notable shift from small factories and artisanal shops to larger-scale production, as the Chinese Government’s focus on environmental protection and reducing pollution has made it difficult for smaller players to operate.
WH Group retains the lead in processed meat and seafood. Having seen a consistent trend of year-on-year share decline, WH Group saw price increases due to the impact of African swine fever on the price of pork boost its share in 2019.
While some effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to contain the disease are expected to have an enduring effect, the rise in demand for frozen processed meat and seafood through retail is expected to largely subside as consumers return to foodservice channels during the forecast period. Nonetheless, the negative economic impact of lockdown measures and the ongoing uncertain economic outlook are likely to bolster consumer budget-consciousness, constraining foodservice’s recovery and maintaining some demand for frozen processed meat and seafood for home consumption.
Traditionally, most shelf stable processed meat products have been ready-to-eat, with little use of such products in home cooking. However, manufacturers are increasingly exploring the potential for targeting home cooking.
In common with most areas of packaged food, processed meat and seafood will be forced to adapt to the health and wellness trend to remain competitive during the forecast period. Indeed, this is particularly the case with processed meat and seafood, which continues to struggle with an unhealthy image.
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