Feature: U.S. cheese company seeks to expand market share in China

By Xu Jing
  • World
  • Wednesday, 13 Dec 2023

CHICAGO, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Orange Cheese Company attended two exhibitions in China in November this year: the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the following 26th Shanghai Global Food Trade Show under Food and Hospitality China (FHC).

The U.S. cheese company is a veteran exhibitor at the FHC, given its history of exporting American cheese to China for nearly 10 years. FHC "is a show gearing to food service which we've been exhibiting since first year we entered Chinese market," Cynthia Liu, managing director of the company, told Xinhua.

Being an exporter as well as a strategic brand partner for multiple acclaimed American dairy brands headquartered in Woodbridge of the U.S. state of Connecticut, the company attended the CIIE for the first time this year.

"What stood out the most for us at the China Import Expo was the sheer magnitude of the event. The size of the expo and the multitude of exhibitors surpassed what we've encountered in many other exhibitions," Liu said. "The substantial foot traffic not only created a vibrant atmosphere but also resulted in numerous high-level interactions... We firmly believe that the CIIE ranks among the best we've attended in all of Asia, underscoring its significance not just within China but on a broader regional scale."

China hosted its first CIIE in Shanghai in 2018. Being the world's first import-themed national-level expo, CIIE is now an annual event, with the number of participating exhibitors and countries growing year on year.

At CIIE, the Orange Cheese presented its products to a diverse array of companies, unveiled some of its latest retail offerings for the first time in the Chinese market, and engaged with numerous new connections and Chinese companies expressing keen interest in American cheese.

"We did not finalize any agreements during the show," Liu said, noting that the significance of CIIE participation lies in the momentum gained. "We've connected with many new customers in both retailing and food service sectors, as well as (China's) food processing industry at CIIE."

"The expo serves as an excellent platform for us," Liu told Xinhua. "The positive experiences and connections made have solidified our decision to participate in the expo in the future, with plans to attend annually."

Established in 2014, the Orange Cheese Company has two subsidiaries operating in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. As Chinese consumers are more open to try different cheeses and incorporate cheese into their dietary routines, the primary focus of the company is to deliver a diverse selection of American natural, processed, and specialty cheese products, and to cater to the needs of retail, food service, and dairy manufacturing sectors in China, Liu explained.

Recognizing the importance of catering to Chinese household needs, the U.S. company has introduced a retail brand featuring smaller-sized cheese items tailored to accommodate the typical Chinese household size of one or two persons.

To align with the Chinese taste preferences, the company has innovatively incorporated fruit flavors into its cheese products.

"Our vision includes having our cheese prominently featured in all major pizza and burger chain restaurants across China, while also aiming for comprehensive placement in every significant retail store in the country," Liu said.

Given the market potential among Chinese consumers, "we believe that by establishing a strong presence in households, more families will become familiar with our cheese, creating a ripple effect when they encounter our products in restaurants. Our overarching goal is to emerge as the leading cheese exporter into China," she stressed.

Reflecting on track record of exporting to China, Orange Cheese has steadfastly built robust ties within the Chinese market, Liu said. "Our persistent dedication to excellence positions us as a pivotal player, actively contributing to the smooth assimilation of American dairy products into the Chinese market."

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