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Taiwan thrives on frozen food exports, further develops domestic marketplace.

Don't look now, but Taiwan is not only a major exporter of frozen foods, but has a domestic FF market that is already greater in per capita terms than Italy's. Exports during 1991 reached 513,507 tons, while home consumption was at least 164,840.

Based on production figures for the domestic market from 25 major packers, believed to account for 90% of the output, the Chinese Frozen Food Institute put the total domestic market at 60,397 tons of locally-produced and 104,443 tons of imported FF Per capita consumption, based on a population of 20.4 million, was 8.4 kilograms.

Shrimp (178,907 tons) and pork (187,950) were the two single largest export items in 1991, while beef (44,087) and fish (26,291) were the largest import items out of a total of 104,443 tons. Figures for frozen fruit and vegetable exports in two different tables in the Chinese Frozen Foods Yearbook do not agree; the entry in the main table is 73,684 tons, but a more detailed table for fruits and vegetables alone gives 79,560 tons.

Comparative figures for 1990 and 1991 in the fruits and vegetables table show a 4.68% increase last year. Major items included soybeans, up 3.55% to 41,098 tons; kidney beans, up 3.98% to 13,711; bamboo shoots, up 14.33% to 5,395; and spinach, up a muscular 245.88% to 3,262. Mixed vegetables were up 48.92%, to 4,496 tons, and miscellaneous vegetables 5.61% to 5,219. But judging from another table (which seems to use a different data base), fish and seafood exports declined during 1991. Shrimp exports are known to have plummeted during the late 1980s because of a blight that hit the over-intensive shrimp farms on Taiwan.

Still another table puts exports of frozen eel products of 29,101 tons, vs. the 26,233 shown on the main export table. Eel product exports for 1990 were 26,528 tons, according to the eel table, which shows that frozen prepared eel - 25,507 tons, up from 22,695 - dominates the category Not surprisingly, Japan accounted for nearly all the export market - 27,935 tons in 1991, vs. 22,195 in 1990. Japan also accounts for the lion's share of frozen fruit and vegetable exports - 71,223 tons in 1991, or 89.52% of the total. But the United States was second, at 4,073 tons - more than half of that in mixed vegetables, and about a quarter in bamboo shoots.

Taiwan's frozen food industry is clearly hoping for bigger things from the USA market; one of the untranslated sections of the Yearbook includes an article on wholesale clubs, an American retailing phenomenon (see story on page 154 of October 1992 QFFI) that has created a market for what are called club packs - two pounds or larger - of frozen food; and the implication is that the club stores are seen as a potential export market for Taiwan. The domestic market, meanwhile, is fueled by increased prosperity and a greater demand for convenience - not to mention the need to make the country not too dependent on exports. What is happening today in Taiwan will doubtless be happening tomorrow - if it hasn't already begun to happen - in Korea, Thailand and other countries on the Pacific Rim.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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