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Consumers educated about frozen food merits during gala festival held at Taiwan University.

Consumers Educated About Frozen Food Merits During Gala Festival Held at Taiwan University

November was Frozen Food Month in Taiwan, as the island's allied trade associations joined forces to promote their products. The 18th -- as in 18 [degrees] Celsius -- was designated as Frozen Food Day. Most eventful, it proved to be the high point of a well orchestrated media campaign.

Quick Frozen Foods International attended a gala outdoor festival held at Taiwan University in Taipei. Promoters, who sold 3,300 tickets in advance of the gathering, estimated that around 10,000 people attended in all. Within three hours of the grand opening adults and children were milling about the many booths, tasting food samples in the process. By mid-afternoon it became a little tricky to move around as queues stretched before all the exhibitions and the fest swelled beyond expectations.

"We set up one organization to promote frozen foods," said Yung-Ming Shen, managing director of the Chinese Frozen Food Institute. "Financing equivalent to US$ 800,000 came from the government and from Chinese Agricultural Standard (CAS) factories."

The CAS was recently established to improve conditions within the industry. Four categories were created: prepared food, juice, pork and rice. All links within the industrial chain may apply for the CAS seal of approval. To obtain such recognition, evidence must be provided showing that equipment, products, environment and selling points meet specifications. CAS inspectors conduct spot checks at markets, factories and raw material sources.

"The frozen food industry has developed rapidly," said Yuang-Sing Chang of the Council of Agriculture. "The whole country has become industrialized at a rapid rate. People don't find enough time to prepare traditional Chinese food. It's necessary to provide processed foods of quality. Up to now, 24 companies have met CAS standards. We export a great deal to Japan and have also obtained the JAS mark of certification from their Ministry of Agriculture."

Indeed, Japan is the leading market for Taiwan's frozen food exports, purchasing about $1.15 billion worth annually.

Ticket holders at the Taipei festival were given a coupon designed to be stamped at each exhibitor's stand. Those presenting fully stamped coupons were given a bag of frozen products for their effort. For the children's amusement, a life-size labyrinth was constructed. Youngsters and playful parents wandered through the maze until they found the point where premiums were distributed.

Consumer awareness was a major theme during the event. "A decade ago Chinese people did not really trust frozen food, but now it has become an integral part of nearly every household," said Ben C.I. Wang, who heads the Prepared Frozen Food Institute. The government and frozen food groups have an extensive program under way to educate consumers and broaden their awareness, he added.

"Every year we hold a different kind of activity," said Yung-Ming Shen. "We want the consumer to recognize how many choices there are. Our work extends into foodservice and institutions as well. Seventy percent of finances come from member factories. Three years ago we began the CAS campaign. After joining, companies have realized average sales increases of 30%."

Judging by the Nov. 18 turnout, Frozen Food Month 1991 had great impact on customers. Since the industry and the concept of frozen food is still in its early years in Taiwan, sales are expected to continue to grow substantially for a long time to come.

From Catfish to Swordfish, Gallant Ocean Has it All

Gallant Ocean International is a Kaohsiung, Taiwan-based company engaged in seafood import/wholesaling and export. "We specialize in supplying cultured species such as milkfish and catfish, as well as sea-caught fish to prime customers in the USA, Saudi Arabia and Australia," said Gary Ho, president. "This demands a great deal of marketing input and big capital, which we have."

Much of Gallant's production goes to the foodservice sector and to further-processing factories. The processing end has grown recently as the infrastructure of the whole food industry gears toward increasing output of value-added products. Ten major packers have gone into prepared foods in recent years.

Some of Gallant's imports come via third countries. Indian pomfret is brought in through Singapore, for instance. Ho sees depressed exports in the future, as pollution and diminished resources cut into raw material supplies. Gallant bought 10,000 metric tons of halibut from northern Europe last year, and 2,000 tons of lobster from Australia. The company will focus on imported seafoods to supply restaurants and processors -- the two increasingly important areas of profitability.

PHOTO : Officials and organizers of the Taipei Frozen Food Festival are all smiles as attendance exceeded their expectations.

PHOTO : For those who do not read Chinese, this banner heralds the Frozen Food Day Festival held in Taipei on Nov. 18.

PHOTO : More than 10,000 people crowded the grounds of Taiwan University to sample products offered by the island's diversified frozen food industry.
COPYRIGHT 1992 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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