Food Service - Public

An Expert's View about Food Services in Hong Kong SAR

Last updated: 19 Feb 2011

U.S. exports of high value food products and seafood to Hong Kong are expected to reach a record level at over US$2 billion in 2010.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 9/1/2010 GAIN Report Number: HK0012 Hong Kong Food Service - Hotel Restaurant Institutional HRI Food Service Sector Approved By: Erich Kuss Prepared By: Chris Li Report Highlights: U.S. exports of high value food products and seafood to Hong Kong are expected to reach a record level at over US$2 billion in 2010, making it our 4th largest market for these products after Canada, Mexico and Japan. The global financial crisis did not have a significant impact on Hong Kong?s food & beverage imports and spending on food. Economic growth in Hong Kong is expected to be around 5% in 2010, benefitting from the continued economic growth in Mainland China. In addition, it is expected that Hong Kong will remain as one of the top 5 markets for U.S. consumer ready food products in 2011, continuing to be a major buying center and transshipment point for China and Southeast Asia. However, rents and wages are on the rise in Hong Kong and inflation may limit Hong Kong?s future economic growth. In addition, Mainland China is expected to take austerity measures to cool down its economy in late 2010 and 2011 and these measures could also impact Hong Kong?s economic growth. Even with lower economic growth, post expects that U.S. products will continue to fair well due to competitive prices and consumer confidence in the quality and safety of U.S. products. In addition, the Hong Kong dollar link to the U.S. dollar provides much needed foreign exchange stability among food importers. Post: Hong Kong Page 1 of 30 SECTION I. HONG KONG MARKET PROFILE HRI Food Service Sector 1. Restaurants Despite the global financial crisis, Hong Kong restaurant industry?s purchases of over US$3.5 billion in foods and beverages generated sales of over US$10.2 billion in 2009. This represented an increase of 0.6% and a drop of only 2.8% respectively over 2008. Table 1. Hong Kong: Restaurant Receipts and Purchases, in US$ Million Growth 2008 2009 2010 est. 2010 vs 2009 Restaurant Receipts 10,178 10,239 10,750 5.0% Restaurant Purchases 3,647 3,546 3,700 4.3% (Source: Quarterly Restaurant Receipts and Purchases, Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department) Hong Kong economy experiences continued growth and it is expected that restaurant purchases and receipts will grow by 4.3% and 5.0%, reaching US$3.7 billion and US$10.75 billion respectively in 2010. As Asia?s most cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong boasts around 11,540 restaurants serving a wide range of world cuisines. These restaurants are comprised of 53% Chinese, 36% non-Chinese restaurants, and 11% fast food outlets. In addition, there are over 1,000 bars, pubs and other eating and drinking establishments. Chinese restaurants: Chinese restaurants are popular among local citizens and tourists. There are a variety of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong serving different regional cuisines: Canton, Shanghai, Beijing, Sichuan?etc. A typical lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant costs around HK$100-300 (US$12.82-38.46)per person and a typical dinner costs around HK$150-400 (US$19.23-51.28) per person. Non-Chinese restaurants: Many Hong Kong consumers enjoy western food, as do the nearly 30 million tourists (in 2009). 5-Star and other high-end western restaurants are as likely to be patronized by locals as tourists/visitors. Japanese food, fast food chains, coffee houses and casual dining establishments are also increasing their presence. A typical lunch at a western restaurant costs around HK$100-300 per person and a typical dinner costs around HK$200-500 (US$25.64-64.10) per person. Fast food outlets: Fast food outlets are popular among Hong Kong consumers. The most popular fast food chains in Hong Kong are McDonald?s, KFC and Pizza Hut. There are also some large local fast food chains such as Café De Coral, Maxim?s and Fairwood that serve both Chinese and western foods. Competition among fast food chains is intense, as they Page 2 of 30 each try to keep meal prices competitive. The average cost is around HK$25 (US$3.21) for breakfast, HK$30 (US$3.85) for lunch, HK$20 (US$2.56) for afternoon tea and HK$50 (US$6.41) for dinner. To further meet competition, many fast food operators have renovated their outlets to make them look more modern, spacious and attractive. To meet the demand of a growing number of health-conscious customers, fast food chains have also introduced more new ingredients and developed healthy-food options such as salads, fruits, and fresh juices. Coffee Shops: The coffee shop market continues to grow in Hong Kong?s commercial areas. The two largest coffee house outlets are Starbucks ? operating 109 outlets and Pacific Coffee 53 outlets. Most shops also offer basic menus consisting of muffins, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and bottled beverages (juices and water). McDonalds has also vigorously expanded its McCafe in order to gain share in this growing market. Of its 154 outlets, 64 include a McCafe inside their shops. Growing Trend ? Healthy Eating: Hong Kong?s food culture is ?fresh?. Consumer preference for fresh and live products is due to tradition, as well as concern about food safety. Hong Kong consumers are increasingly health conscious. Hong Kong has over 50 small to medium size health food stores. The two leading supermarket chains (Wellcome and ParknShop) and drug store chains (Manning?s and Watson?s) also sell natural/organic products at their outlets. The growth of ?Mix? ? a juice bar that also serves food is a good example of a successful ?healthy? restaurant chain. Organic foods are also gaining popularity as evidenced by the growth of specialized retail outlets for organic foods. There is increasing opportunity for U.S. products and ingredients in this sector. 2. Hotels The number of hotels and available rooms in Hong Kong is growing. Table 2. Hong Kong: Growth in Number of Hotels/Guesthouses (2008-2009) 2008 2009 Growth Number of hotels/guesthouses 695 758 +9% Number of rooms 60,273 65,386 +8% Room occupancy rate 85% 77% - (Source: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department) According to Hong Kong Tourism Board statistics, tourists spent more than US$1.37 billion on food and beverages in 2009. Many five-star hotels serve U.S. beef, chicken, turkey, pork, eggs, fish and seafood products, fruits and vegetables, processed products and beverages. Page 3 of 30 The Hong Kong Government (HKG) provides a searchable list of licensed Hotels & Guest Houses at: A list of Hong Kong hotels are available at: 3. Institutions Institutions like schools, hospitals, and airlines are serviced by a small number of large catering groups who are generally affiliated with the restaurant sector. These caterers mainly source their ingredients from China where supplies are cheaper and more abundant. They also use ingredients from other countries such as the U.S. when they cannot find the same quality products in China. Schools: As school regulators prohibit primary and lower secondary students from eating their lunch out, students must pack their lunch boxes or subscribe to a school lunch box program. For the academic year 2009/2010, there were 582 primary schools and 523 secondary schools, having a total of 344,748 primary students and 238,026 lower secondary students. About 70% of students join a school lunch program. A typical lunch box consists of some kind of meat, rice and some cooked vegetables. The annual cost of Hong Kong?s school lunch program is estimated at US$250 million. Healthy eating programs are underway to encourage a change in eating trends for school children. Caterers must register with the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) before they are eligible to bid tenders provided by individual schools. ATO Hong Kong can provide U.S. exporters with the list of registered caterers for school lunch boxes. Hospitals: The Hospital Authority operates 40 hospitals with a total of 27,117 beds and staff size of 55,911. The catering services for hospitals are outsourced on a tender basis; many of which also operate restaurants, fast food chains or school lunch catering services. Airlines: There are three aircraft catering franchisees at the Hong Kong International Airport, each with a 15-year term. The aircraft caterers provide a comprehensive range of flight catering services. These services include the preparation and assembly of flight meals, loading and unloading of food and other catering loads onto aircraft, and the storage of catering equipment and supplies. Table 3. Hong Kong: Airline Catering Page 4 of 30 Size Capacity (meals/day) Catering Franchisee (sq. m.) Cathay Pacific Catering Services 50,400 80,000 Lufthansa Service Hong Kong Ltd 15,000 30,000 Gate Gourmet Hong Kong Ltd 8,850 10,000 (Source: Hong Kong Airport Authority) Economy Hong Kong was only slightly affected by the global financial crisis. GDP and per capita GDP dropped by only 2.5% and 2.8% respectively in 2009. Hong Kong?s economy quickly recovered and continued to improve in 2010, particularly with the continued influx of investment from Mainland China. It is expected that GDP and per capita GDP will grow by 5.3% and 5% and reach US$220 billion and US$31,400 respectively in 2010. Table 4. Hong Kong: Gross Domestic Product and GDP per capita Growth Growth 2008 2009 09 vs 08 2010* 10 vs 09 GDP US$215 billion US$209 billion -2.5% US$220 billion* +5.3%* GDP per capita US$30,779 US$29,902 -2.8% US$31,400* +5%* (* Estimate based on government forecast, analysis of the economy and market trends) Demographics Hong Kong?s population was 7 million at the end of 2009. 1.74 million, or 47% of the total labor force, are women. The large number of employed women is an important influence on the demand in the restaurant business. Table 5. Hong Kong: Labor Force Participation 2008 % of Total 2009 % of Total Labor Force-Men 1.95 million 53% 1.96 million 53% Labor Force-Women 1.7 million 47% 1.74 million 47% Total 3.65 million 100% 3.7 million 100% (Source: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department) A typical Hong Kong household spends around US$2,500 each month to meet its basic living needs, 27% of which was spent on food and beverages (Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department). Imported Foods vs. Domestic Products Due to limited land resources and having a population of 7 million, Hong Kong relies on imports for over 95% of it food supply. In 2009, the local agricultural industry produced US$72 million worth of products. It is comprised of US$30 million in crop production Page 5 of 30 (mainly vegetables), US$19 million in livestock production, and US$23 million in poultry production. Local production accounted for 2.4 percent of fresh vegetables, 53.7 percent of live poultry and 6.2 percent of live pigs consumed in the territory (Source: Agricultural Fisheries and Conservation Department). Due to its central location, free port status and position as a regional purchasing and distribution center, a significant amount of Hong Kong imports are re-exported. Table 6. Hong Kong: Imports (2006-2010) of Consumer Oriented Agricultural Products (COAP) & Seafood 2010 Re- Share Growth exports/ 10 v Rank Supplier (US$ Million) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010* 2010 09 Gross Imports The World Gross Imports 7,647 9,098 11,544 12,826 14,496 100% 13% Re-exports 1,775 2,435 3,409 3,824 4,030 100% 5% Retained Imports** 5,873 6,663 8,135 9,001 10,466 100% 16% 28% 1 China Gross Imports 1,854 2,007 2,215 2,446 2,594 18% 6% Re-exports 296 309 356 334 337 8% 1% Retained Imports 1,558 1,698 1,859 2,112 2,257 22% 7% 13% 2 United Gross Imports 875 1,042 1,615 1,972 2,415 17% 22% States Re-exports 220 328 609 752 955 24% 27% Retained Imports 655 715 1,006 1,220 1,460 14% 20% 40% 3 Brazil Gross Imports 645 989 1,441 1,575 1,563 11% -1% Re-exports 273 491 630 737 613 15% -17% Retained Imports 372 498 811 838 950 9% 13% 39% 4 Japan Gross Imports 485 573 603 709 870 6% 23% Re-exports 38 36 41 43 45 1% 4% Retained Imports 446 536 562 665 825 8% 24% 5% 5 Australia Gross Imports 485 529 613 682 702 5% 3% Re-exports 41 58 59 91 81 2% -11% Retained Imports 444 470 553 591 621 6% 5% 12% 6 France Gross Imports 147 251 385 446 587 4% 32% Re-exports 39 88 111 115 142 4% 24% Retained Imports 108 164 274 331 445 4% 34% 24% 7 Thailand Gross Imports 338 410 486 590 567 4% -4% Re-exports 161 226 267 350 323 8% -8% Retained Imports 177 184 219 240 244 2% 2% 57% 8 Canada Gross Imports 208 217 342 312 390 3% 25% Re-exports 26 43 133 104 117 3% 12% Retained Imports 182 173 209 207 273 3% 32% 30% 9 Netherlands Gross Imports 166 211 306 323 373 3% 16% Re-exports 34 60 100 95 87 2% -8% Retained Imports 132 151 206 228 286 3% 26% 23% 10 New Gross Imports 191 217 251 257 334 2% 30% Zealand Re-exports 75 28 28 36 42 1% 16% Retained Imports 116 189 223 221 292 3% 32% 13% Total from Gross Imports 5,393 6,447 8,256 9,312 10,395 72% 12% Top 10 Re-exports 1,203 1,668 2,335 2,658 2,742 68% 3% Page 6 of 30 Suppliers Retained Imports 4,190 4,779 5,922 6,654 7,653 73% 15% 26% Total from Gross Imports 2,254 2,651 3,288 3,514 4,101 28% 17% Rest of Re-exports 571 767 1,075 1,166 1,288 32% 10% The World Retained Imports 1,683 1,884 2,213 2,347 2,813 27% 20% 31% (Source: Calculations based on World Trade Atlas data) (* Figures for 2010 were estimated based on figures for the first 7 months & market trend information) (*** Retained Imports = Gross Imports into Hong Kong ? Re-exports out of Hong Kong) The HRI sector is continually seeking quality fish and seafood supplies. U.S. products are highly respected for their quality and safety. Growing concerns over the safety of Chinese fish and seafood from polluted sources increases opportunities for high quality fish and seafood. Thanks to the fast-recovering economy and consumer affluence, retained imports of consumer-oriented agricultural products (COAP) and Seafood products in Hong Kong are expected to grow by 16% in 2010. The U.S. is Hong Kong?s second largest supplier of COAP and Seafood products following China. Retained imports of products from China and the U.S. in 2010 are expected to reach US$2.26 billion and US$1.46 billion, representing market shares of 22% and 14% respectively. Hong Kong?s status as a gateway for trade with China and Macau are increasingly opening up greater avenues for U.S. high value food products. In 2010, Hong Kong is expected to import over US$14.5 billion COAP and Seafood from the world and re-exported 28% of these products. Around 53% of all these re-exports went to China and 10% went to Macau. (Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department) Outlook in 2010/2011 Economic growth in Hong Kong is expected to be around 5% in 2010. However, rents and wages are on the rise in Hong Kong and inflation may limit Hong Kong?s future economic growth. In addition, Mainland China is expected to take austerity measures to cool down its economy in late 2010 and these measures are expected to slow down Hong Kong?s economic growth in 2011. However, post expects that U.S. products will continue to fair better than its competitors due to competitive U.S. prices and consumer confidence in the quality and safety of U.S. products. In addition, the Hong Kong dollar link to the U.S. dollar provides much needed foreign exchange stability among food importers. It is expected that Hong Kong will remain one of the top 5 markets for U.S. consumer ready food products in 2011, as it continues to be a major buying center and transshipment point for China and Southeast Asia. Page 7 of 30 Import Regulations 1. Import Duties & Import Certificates With the exception of spirits, all food and beverage products can be imported to Hong Kong duty free. Technical requirements for imports vary significantly according to the product. Products which require import permits/health certificates include meat, milk and frozen confections. The Hong Kong Government (HKG) also plans to implement a health certification requirement for eggs and seafood products. Currently, the HKG accepts import applications from Hong Kong importers. In other words, local importers and not U.S. exporters are required to apply for import permits. U.S. exporters need to supply their agents/importers with necessary documentation such as health certificates from the U.S. government. For details on Hong Kong?s general import regulations for food products, please refer to GAIN Report #9018. 2. New Nutritional Labeling Law Hong Kong?s Legislative Council on May 28, 2008 passed a nutrition labeling regulation, which took effect July 1, 2010. Hong Kong?s nutrition labeling regulation requires all prepackaged food sold in Hong Kong have to label the contents energy plus seven nutrients namely; protein, carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugars. Products selling less than 30,000 units a year can apply for small volume exemption provided that the products do not carry any nutritional claims. Traders applying for exemption have to pay HK$345 (US$44) per product variety for the first year and HK$335 (US$43) for annual renewal. Hong Kong?s nutrition labeling regulation is unique; as all imported foods making nutrition claims from all sources will have to be re-labeled for the Hong Kong market. Despite the U.S. requiring the labeling of 15 energy/nutrients, U.S. products still cannot meet the Hong Kong nutrition labeling requirements due to different nutrient definitions, rounding practices, and recommendations for daily consumption. Virtually all U.S. products carrying claims will require labeling changes and/or nutrient testing. Details of the regulation are contained in the Technical Guidance Notes on Nutrition Labeling and Nutrition Claims, which is available at: Further supplementary information will be provided in the form of FAQ on the Hong Kong government?s Center for Food Safety website: Page 8 of 30 For more information on the impact of Hong Kong?s nutrition labeling regulation, please see reports HK8017 & HK7011. (These reports are available at: 3. Preservatives Regulations Hong Kong amended its Preservatives Regulation, which became effective July 1, 2008. A two-year transitional period for compliance ended on June 30, 2010. Compared to the original regulation, the new regulation no longer allows for the use of propyl para- hydroxybenzoate, but additionally allows the use of the following preservatives: Guaiac resin Isopropyl citrates Stannous chloride Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) Thiodipropionic acid Dimethyl dicarbonate Ferrous gluconate Formic acid Hexamethylene tetramine Lysozyme Pimaricin Another change brought about by the amendment to the regulation is the adoption of a food category system based on Codex?s General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) and the incorporation of those preservatives and antioxidants, as well as their permitted levels of use, in GSFA. To help trade better understand the amended regulation, the HKG issued a ?User Guideline?, which provides the definition of each food category of the newly adopted food category system. Also, the Guidelines include some questions and answers pertaining to the amended regulations. The full Guidelines are available at the following website: Hong Kong?s Preservatives Regulation adopts the principle of a positive list. In other words, Hong Kong does not allow any preservatives or antioxidants in foods if they are not expressly permitted by the Preservatives Regulation. The list of permitted preservatives and their maximum permitted levels may be retrieved from the following website: More information on the amended Preservatives Regulation, pleases see gain reports Page 9 of 30 HK#8021 & HK#7018. (These reports are available at: 4. Biotech Food Related Regulations The HKG does not have any specific biotechnology regulations with regard to the labeling of biotech food products. The HKG makes no distinction between conventional and biotech foods. All are subject to the same food safety regulation. The HKG, after evaluating the impact of its voluntary labeling scheme for biotech food products, released its conclusions to the Legislative Council on July 8, 2008, suggesting there is no need for a mandatory labeling law in Hong Kong. The HKG noted difficulty in carryout a law that currently does not have an international standard to back it up. As a result of its evaluation, the HKG plans to continue to promote voluntary labeling of GMO products as a viable alternative for the trade. The HKG released a set of guidelines on voluntary labeling for biotech foods in 2006. The guidelines on labeling for biotech foods are advisory in nature and do not have any legal effect. Adoption is entirely voluntary and is not binding. The guidelines apply to prepackaged food and are based on the following four principles: ? The labeling of biotech food will comply with the existing food legislation. ? The threshold level applied in the guideline for labeling purpose is 5 percent, in respect of individual food ingredient. ? Additional declaration on the food label is recommended when significant modifications of the food, e.g. composition, nutrition value, level of anti- nutritional factors, natural toxicant, presence of allergen, intended use, introduction of an animal gene, etc, have taken place. ? Negative labeling is not recommended. As the guideline is voluntary, U.S. food exports should not be affected if they choose not to have any biotech labeling. However, it should be noted that the HKG does not encourage negative labeling particularly for the use of the following terms: ? GMO free ? Free from GM ingredients, etc For products with such definite negative labeling, the HKG may take the initiative to test Page 10 of 30 the products against GM ingredients and zero tolerance will be adopted for testing purposes. If products are found to have misleading labeling, a retailer may be subject to prosecution under Section 61 ? False Labeling and Advertisement of Food or Drugs of Chapter 132 Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. (Available at If the trade chooses to apply negative labeling, the government advises to use less definite terms such as ?sourced from non-GM sources? (which contains less than 5 percent of GM content) and to have documentation to substantiate such declaration. For more details on the voluntary labeling guidelines and biotechnology in Hong Kong, please refer to Gain Report HK#8019 & HK#6016 respectively. (These reports are available at: Hong Kong passed a Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Ordinance in March 2010. With the expected commencement of the Ordinance in late 2010 or early 2011, there will be documentation requirements for shipments containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs in the Ordinance are referred to as LMOs or living modified organisms. According to the announced information, shipments containing GMOs will need to be accompanied by documentation containing the following information: ? If the identity of the GMO is known, the shipment contains such a GMO; if the identity of the GMO is not known, the shipment may contain such a GMO; ? The GMO is not intended for release into the environment; ? The common name, scientific name and, where available, commercial name of the GMO; ? The transformation event code of the GMO or, where available, its unique identifier code; and, ? The details of the importer or exporter (such as name, address and contact information) for further information. There is no specific requirement regarding the form of documentation accompanying GMO shipments. The use of a commercial invoice or other documents required by existing documentation systems would be sufficient. Table 7. Hong Kong: Summary of the Key Strengths and Challenges for the Market Strengths Weaknesses Page 11 of 30 The Hong Kong market is one of the top markets U.S. food products are not always price in the world for food and beverages, processed, competitive. China is the largest competitor of fresh and frozen gourmet products. U.S. exports U.S. food products. of high value food products and seafood to Hong Kong is expected to reached US$2 billion in 2010, making it the 4th largest market for the U.S. Hong Kong is a major trading hub where buyers Lengthy transportation time associated with make purchasing decisions for hundreds of importing U.S. food products to Hong Kong millions of dollars of consumer oriented products can make them less competitive than products that are transshipped to China and S.E. Asia. available in the region or from China, Australia New Zealand. Their proximity avails for quicker delivery of product (processed and fresh). U.S. food products enjoy an excellent reputation The importance of Hong Kong as a among Hong Kong consumers, as they are transshipment point and buying center for renowned for high quality and food safety China and elsewhere is not widely known to standards, as well as healthy and nutritious. U.S. exporters. The U.S. is the 2nd largest food supplier to Hong Hong Kong labeling and residue standards Kong next to China. differ in some cases with U.S. standards, which can impede trade. Technical barriers to imports of U.S. products are Numerous HK food regulations are not in line generally very low. with Codex, which can complicate import clearances. There is a wide variety of U.S. products available While Hong Kong has one of the busiest to Hong Kong consumers (over 30,000 different container terminals in the world, it also has the items). The link between the Hong Kong Dollar most expensive port handling charges. (HKD) to the U.S. Dollar help insulate the HKD from currency fluctuations. Most trans-shipments to Macau are purchased, Hong Kong?s top supermarkets are a duopoly consolidated and shipped via Hong Kong. that often request slotting fees. In general, HKG in its implementation and application of regulations is transparent and open. Hong Kong exporters choose to work with Hong Kong importers and distributers to get their products to China because of Hong Kong?s dependable legal system, contracts and rule of law. Hong Kong concerns over food safety have made U.S. food products as a top choice for quality and safety. Hong Kong?s modern and efficient port terminal and free port status make it an attractive destination and for re-exports. Hong Kong is a ?quality? driven market so price is not always the most important factor for food and Page 12 of 30 beverage purchases. Hong Kong is a dynamic market with a sophisticated international community where new high quality products are readily accepted. Products containing biotech ingredients are not controversial in Hong Kong in general. Lack of local production means virtually no protectionist pressures for food and agricultural products. Hong Kong is in an economically vibrant region and its economy is expected to continue its growth in 2011. Hong Kong?s duopolistic supermarkets have a wide distribution network. Cold chain and distribution channels for food products are generally efficient and dependable, as is the customs clearance process. SECTION II. ROAD MAP FOR MARKET ENTRY Exporting and Selling Since very few hotels, restaurants or institutions import directly from exporters, most suppliers sell to importers for further distribution to the HRI sector in this market. Establishing a Business in Hong Kong If U.S. restaurant chains or caterers want to establish a stronger foothold in Hong Kong, they are allowed to incorporate freely. However, there are two market entry channels that U.S. companies may consider in their attempt to establish a presence in Hong Kong?s HRI sector. 1. Franchising The concept of franchising has been growing in Hong Kong for the past decade. Nearly 80 % of the franchise operations in Hong Kong are of U.S. origin. Home-grown franchises have also developed, especially in catering. Page 13 of 30 2. Joint Ventures Joint ventures or strategic alliances can be very helpful in entering the market, and are particularly important in competing for major catering projects. In order to attract foreign investment, the HKG set up a special department called ?Invest Hong Kong? to help overseas companies establish a presence in Hong Kong by providing all the support needed to establish and expand their operations ( Entering the Hong Kong market with products suitable for the HRI trade can be handled in a number of ways. Certainly the end customer, the hotel, restaurant, institution or caterer has an influence on the selection of products or ingredients but the choice is all very much guided by a network of reliable and trusted suppliers. 3. Setting up a Representative Office One of the most effective but costly means that U.S. companies can use to sell their products to this market is to set up a representative office in Hong Kong. Information on how to set up a new business in Hong Kong can be found at: 4. Appointing Agents U.S. exporters may consider hiring a local agent. A key consideration is whether the prospective agent has a good marketing record and widespread distribution network. The advantage of having an agent is that it can help with marketing and distribution. Some companies may secure a very competitive price package with TV/magazine/radio for advertisements. In addition, well-established companies have extensive distribution networks not limited to the HRI sector but also to retail outlets. Importers and distributors tend to focus on specific categories of products and end markets. Research should be carried out to ensure the importer/distributor selected is appropriate for your products. Marketing Strategies Identify key players for the products - ATO Hong Kong can provide lists of importers, distributors, commodity cooperators and regional business groups. Test marketing maybe required prior to establishing a presence in the market. Page 14 of 30 Communicate product benefits to end-users - although distributors maintain the relationships with their customers, end users assert influence over the buying decisions. It is important to directly educate all stakeholders as to the features and benefits of your products. Participate in or visit trade shows ? Hong Kong has an excellent reputation of hosting international trade shows. In cooperation with cooperators and regional groups, the shows will demonstrate the versatility and safety of U.S. food products. Some major shows include: Table 8. Hong Kong: Trade Shows Featuring Food Products 3rd Hong Kong Int?l Wine & Spirits Fair Nov 4-6, 2010 HOFEX 2011 May 11-14, 2011 Natural Products Expo Asia Aug 2011 Restaurant and Bar Sep 2011 Asian Seafood Exposition Sep 2011 Asia Fruit Logistica Sep 2011 Stage menu promotions with major restaurant chains - Menu promotion dollars will be maximized if spent on promotion events held with the major restaurant chains. With the restaurant chains? announced intention to have an image overhaul, this provides for an opportunity to introduce new U.S. foods. Invite restaurant owners/chefs to seminars and/or to the U.S. - ATO Hong Kong/ cooperators organize seminars and trade missions to the U.S. with an intention to introduce U.S. products, meet U.S. exporters, and share with them food service operations in the U.S. MAP Program Small to medium sized U.S. food companies wishing to export their products can get funding assistance from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP). The reimbursement rates for branded promotions are equal to the percentage of U.S. origin content of the promoted agricultural commodity or a rate of 50 percent, whichever is the lesser. If you are a producer or exporter and want to participate in the MAP, please contact a trade association that represents your specific product. If no trade association is applicable, please contact one of the four State regional trade groups: Food Export USA - Northeast (FEUSA), Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (FEA), Southern US Trade Association (SUSTA), and Western US Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA). For details of the MAP program and a list of trade associations, please contact our office or visit the website: Page 15 of 30 Market Structure U.S. Exporter Importer / Distributor / Wholesaler Wet Markets Hong Kong HRI Trade The market structure for Hong Kong typically involves a dedicated importer/distributor who deals with the U.S. exporter and maintains relationships with local resellers. Some special items are imported directly by large hotels, restaurant chains and institutions but most tend to outsource the import burden. Hong Kong is a mature trading port and as such has developed an effective network of importers, distributors and wholesalers that support the HRI trade. Most major importers/distributors service multiple reseller sectors including HRI/food service, retail and wet markets. ATO Hong Kong has a resourceful database of Hong Kong importers servicing the HRI trade. For information regarding specific category suppliers, the ATO Hong Kong can provide additional information. Given below is a partial list of catering franchises in Hong Kong. Ajisen-Ramen (catering - Japanese noodles restaurant) Coffee Chateau (catering - retail of coffee and tea) Double Star (catering - coffee shop) Page 16 of 30 Genki Sushi (catering - Japanese restaurant/takeaway Grappa's Ristorante (catering - Italian restaurant) Hardee's (catering - fast food restaurant) Hui Lau Shan (catering - herbal tea house and health food) Hung Fook Tong (catering - herbal tea house) Jollibee (catering ? restaurant) Kentucky Fried Chicken (catering - fast food restaurant) Kung Wo Tong (catering - herbal tea house) Kung Wo Beancurd Products (catering - beancurd drinks and products) Magic House Superstore Ltd (catering - ice cream and snacks) McDonald's (catering - fast food restaurant) Mian Cafe (catering - cafe) Mrs. Fields Cookies (catering ? specialty bakery) Pie & Tart Specialists (catering - pie and tart) Pizza Box (catering - pizza delivery) Pizza Hut Restaurants (catering - restaurants) Saint?s Alp (catering ? Taiwanese tea house) Strawberry Forever (catering - western dessert house) TCBY, The Country's Best Yogurt (catering - frozen yogurt) TGI Friday's (catering - restaurant) Xian Zong Lin (catering - Taiwanese tea house) Yoshinoya (catering - Japanese restaurant) A selection of restaurants: Table 9. Hong Kong: Selected Restaurants Company Name Type of Food No. of Outlets Maxims Chinese Restaurants /Chinese fast food / lunch b 302 oxes McDonalds Fast Food - Bu 154+ rgers (64 McCafe) Café de Coral Chinese fast food / lunch boxes 146 Fairwood Chinese Fast food 94 KFC Fast Food - Chicken 71 Starbucks Coffee & snacks 109 Pizza Hut Pizza, local menu 42 Pacific Coffee Coffee & Snacks 53 Deli France Bakery, Fast Food Sandwiches 40 Steak Expert Steak house 24 Spaghetti House International 24 Epicurean International 24 Igor?s Group International 31 Page 17 of 30 Lan Kwai Fong En al 5 tertainment Internation Oliver?s Super Sandwich Fast Food Sandwiches / Salads 19 Mix California Smoothies & Wraps 9 Pret a Manger Fast Food Sandwiches / Salads 8 Chiram Restaurants Ltd International 6 Eclipse Management International 10 Outback Steakhouse Australian / American style Steak House 7 Red Ant Chinese 8 Elite Concepts International 8 California Pizza Kitchen American style pizza 4 Dan Ryan?s American Style dining 3 Ruby Tuesday?s American Style dining 4 Burger King Fast Food - Burgers 15 Jimmy?s Kitchen International 2 Ruth?s Chris Steakhouse American Style Steak House 2 Bubba Gump American Style dining 1 Harlan?s International 1 Lawry?s The Prime Rib American Steak House 1 Morton?s the Steakhouse American Steak House 1 TGI Fridays American Style dining 1 Tony Roma?s American Style dining 2 SECTION III. COMPETITION Note: Estimated statistics for 2010; Market Share in terms of Import Value Source: World Trade Atlas ? Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department Table 10. Hong Kong: Major Product Categories of Hong Kong?s Imports of COAP and Seafood Products and Competition Product Category Major Strengths of Key Supply Advantages and Supply Countries Disadvantages of Local Sources Suppliers Breakfast Cereals & 1. China ? China is the largest supplier, Local production is Pancake Mixes 54% imports include some insignificant international brands, which have Imports 2. Thailand manufacturing establishments in US$33 million ? 12% China. 11,000 MT 2. U.S. ? In recent years, Thailand has Retained Imports 11% been a popular tourist US$30 million destination for Hong Kong 10,300 MT residents, who are becoming increasingly receptive to Thai Page 18 of 30 tastes and cuisine. This is conducive to the growth of Thai food exports to Hong Kong. Melamine was found in eggs and dairy products from China and that has led consumers to pay more attention to food safety and seek high quality products from other supplying countries. Red Meats, fresh, 1. Brazil ? Products from Brazil and China Local production is largely chilled/frozen 31% are price competitive, but they sold/ marketed as freshly are of different market segments slaughtered meats. Imports 2. U.S. ? from U.S. products. US$2.7 billion 16% 1,300,000 MT U.S. market share dropped from 3. China ? 21% in 2003 to 3% in 2005 as a Retained Imports 9% result of the ban on U.S. bone-in US$1.68 billion beef. Market share then 504,000 MT 4. Germany increased gradually following ? 8% Hong Kong?s opening to U.S. beef since the beginning of 2006. Hong Kong currently allows U.S. boneless beef derived from animals less than 30 months of age. Bone-in beef and offals from the U.S. are not yet allowed entry into Hong Kong. Hong Kong Government adopts zero tolerance on bone fragments. U.S. beef is highly regarded in Hong Kong. It is always the top choice for high-end restaurants and sophisticated consumers. U.S. beef is largely for the high- end market. Page 19 of 30 Red Meats, 1. China ? Chinese supplies dominate the Local production is Prepared/preserved 31% market because there is a big insignificant. demand for price competitive Imports 2. Spain ? prepared/preserved meatballs US$580 million 11% and other products typical in 315,000 MT Chinese dishes in Chinese 3. U.S. ? restaurants and processing in Retained Imports 11% China is cost effective. US$460 million 235,000 MT Poultry Meat 1. Brazil ? Brazil became the leading Local production is sold/ (Fresh, chilled & 39% supplier of poultry for Hong Kong Marketed as freshly frozen) market in 2004, when Hong slaughtered meats. 2. U.S. ? Kong banned entry of U.S. Imports 34% poultry products (between HRI sector tends to use US$1.7 billion February 11, 2004 and April 30, chilled and frozen chicken 1,090,000 MT 3. China ? 2004) due to outbreaks of Avian products rather than 14% Influenza cases in the U.S. freshly slaughtered Retained Imports Though the ban was then lifted, chickens because the US$930 million Brazil continues to be the largest latter are far more 426,000 MT supplier due to price expensive. competitiveness and established business relationship between Brazilian exporters and Hong Kong importers. The reduced supplies of live chickens to Hong Kong have resulted in increased demand for chilled whole chickens from China. Hong Kong?s certification requirement for U.S. chicken feet, which took effect in May 2005, has reduced U.S. chicken feet supplies to Hong Kong. By the requirement, U.S. chicken feet are required to have ante mortem and post mortem inspection. Dairy Products 1. Netherlands is strong in dairy Local companies supply Netherlands product supplies and it has an fresh milk drinks, which Imports ? 30% established position in Hong are processed in Hong US$640 million Kong. Kong with milk originated 172,000 MT 2. Japan ? from farmlands in the 15% Dairy products from Netherlands southern part of China. Retained Imports and New Zealand primarily US$566 million 3. Ireland ? include concentrated dairy and Local companies can Page 20 of 30 158,000 MT 15% cream. easily fulfill local milk registration requirements. U.S. ? 1% Chinese dairy products to Hong Kong primarily include not- concentrated milk and cream. Dairy products from the U.S. primarily include ice cream. Melamine was found in eggs and dairy products from China and that has led consumers to pay more attention to food safety and seek high quality products from other supplying countries. Eggs 1. China ? Eggs from China are price Local production is 57% competitive. However, since insignificant. Imports 2006, when some Chinese eggs US$130 million 2. U.S. ? were found tainted with Sudan 1.84 billion eggs 18% Red (which is a dye for industrial use), Hong Kong consumers lost Retained Imports 3. Thailand confidence in the safety of all US$128 million ? 9% Chinese eggs. 1.83 billion eggs U.S. dominates the white egg markets. Melamine was found in eggs and dairy products from China and that has led consumers to pay more attention to food safety and seek high quality products from other supplying countries. Fresh Fruit 1. U.S. ? U.S. fresh fruits are highly No local production. 25% regarded as having good quality. Imports US$1.4 billion 2. Thailand Thai Trade commission in Hong 1,400,000 MT ? 22% Kong aggressively sponsors trade promotion activities. Retained Imports 3. Chile ? Thai?s tropical fruits are very US$730 million 19% popular in Hong Kong. 574,000 MT Chile?s biggest fruit item to Hong Kong is grapes. The supply season is different from the United States Fresh Vegetables 1. China ? Products from China are very Local production is about 70% price competitive. Due to 5 % of total demand. Imports expensive operation costs, some Production costs, both in Page 21 of 30 US$207 million 2. U.S. ? farmers in Hong Kong have terms of land and labor, 615,000 MT 9% move their operations to China in Hong Kong are high. and sell their products back to The Hong Kong Retained Imports 3. Australia Hong Kong. Government has US$198 million ? 4% encouraged organic 606,500 MT High-end restaurants and five- farming so as to find the star hotels prefer to use high niche market for local quality U.S. products. A lower vegetables. U.S. dollar value helps U.S. exports to Hong Kong. Processed Fruit & 1. China ? Supplies from China are price Local production is Vegetables 30% competitive. In addition, some insignificant. international brands have Imports 2. U.S. ? operations in China and their US$350 million 31% exports to Hong Kong are 230,000 MT considered as imports from 3. Thailand China. Retained Imports ? 8% US$255million Products from the U.S. are more 180,000 MT for the high-end market. Potato chips and French fries are major U.S. export categories to Hong Kong. Tree Nuts 1. U.S. ? 39% of the tree nuts imported to No local production 69% Hong Kong are pistachios. Imports US$710 million 2. Iran ? The U.S. is very strong in 180,000 MT 21% supplying almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios. Retained Imports 3. Mexico ? US$400 million 4% Some of the imports are re- 77,500 MT exported to Vietnam and China for processing. Fruit & Vegetable 1. U.S. ? U.S. products are highly Local companies are well Juices 32% regarded in the local market. established in the market with well distribution and Imports 2. China ? Products from China include marketing network. US$24 million 15% international brands However, they are rarely 19,000 MT manufactured in China. considered as premium 3. Australia products. Retained Imports ? 9% Australian products are generally US$21 million perceived as natural. 16,900 MT Wine 1. France ? France is the major supplier for Hong Kong does not have 56% wine. French wine is highly any wine production. Imports regarded in Hong Kong though US$734 million 2. U.K. ? expensive. 34 million liters 16% Page 22 of 30 Hong Kong people are becoming Retained Imports 3. Australia more familiar with U.S. wine, in US$590 million ? 7% particular California wine. 24 million liters 4. U.S. ? The Hong Kong Government 6% abolished the tax on wine in February 2008. The new policy has attracted more wine imports into Hong Kong. SECTION IV. BEST CONSUMER ORIENTED PRODUCT PROSPECTS Notes : 1 95% of Hong Kong food supplies are imported. Since Hong Kong?s domestic production is nominal the market size in the following table is equal to retained imports without taking into account local production. U.S. exports to Hong Kong are also based on imports minus exports. 2 Import tariff rates for all food and beverage products in the tables are zero except for spirits with an alcohol content greater than 30%, which is 100%. 3 Products listed below are either enjoying a large market import value or a significant growth rate for the last 5 years (2005-2009). Table 11. Hong Kong: Top 10 Prospects in 2010 Product 2009 2009 2005 ? Key Constraints Over Market Category Retained Retained 2009 Market Development Attractiveness Imports Imports Average For USA (MT) (US$ Annual million) Retained Import Growth Fish & Volume US$2.2 +8.8% Major suppliers of fish U.S. fish and Seafood statistics not billion (value) and seafood products are seafood products Products available Japan (17%), are perceived as Expected China (15%), Australia high quality and to reach (11%), Indonesia (5%), safe. US$2.5 and the US (4%). billion in Many 5-star hotels 2010 in Hong Kong are carrying Alaska seafood products such as king salmon, king crab, snow Page 23 of 30 crab, black cod and halibut. It is anticipated that these seafood products will continue to be popular among HRI sector in Hong Kong. Fresh Fruit 541,822 MT US$613 -0.8% The Hong Kong fresh U.S. fresh fruit are million (volume) fruit market had negative well known for their Expected to volume growth over the large variety, good reach Expected +6.6% past 5 years because of quality and tastes. 574,000 MT to reach (value) bad crops in some in 2010 US$730 categories. U.S. was the largest million in supplier (25%) of 2010 Hong Kong consumers fresh fruit to Hong prefer fresh fruit to Kong, followed by frozen fruit. Competition Thailand (22%). from Thailand and China is keen as these The top U.S. fruit countries supply tropical exports to Hong fresh fruit at competitive Kong (in 2009) were prices. The shorter citrus products travel time for shipments (US$97 million), from these countries to grapes (US$77 Hong Kong also render million), apples their products (US$47 million), ?fresh? to Hong Kong cherries (US$34 consumers. million), plums, sloes & peaches (US$11 million) and strawberries (US$13 million). These U.S. products will continue to be popular among Hong Kong consumers. Poultry 316,491 MT US$609 -2.4% Brazil is the leading U.S. exported Products million (volume) supplier of poultry for US$168 million Hong Kong. Brazil worth of chicken Expected to moved in as the no. 1 products to Hong reach Expected +10% poultry exporter to Hong Kong, accounting for 426,000 MT to reach (value) Kong when U.S. poultry 14% of the market in 2010 US$930 imports were temporarily share. million in banned during February 2010 11 to April 30, 2004 due U.S. products are to Avian Influenza cases highly regarded in in the United States. food quality and Though the ban was later food safety. lifted, Brazil continues to More popular U.S. Page 24 of 30 be the largest supplier chicken products due to its price include chicken wing advantage and its mid joints and exporters? relationships chicken legs because with Hong Kong of their sizes and importers. quality. These two The reduced supplies of products are live chickens from China particularly to Hong Kong have popularly among resulted in increased Hong Kong style demand for chilled whole cafes. chickens from China as an alternative. Hong Kong?s certification requirements for U.S. chicken feet, which took effect in May 2005, reduced U.S. chicken feet supplies to Hong Kong. By the requirement, U.S. chicken feet are required to have ante mortem and post mortem inspection. Pork 157,850 MT US$462 +3% China and Brazil are the U.S. exported million (volume) top suppliers of pork to US$62 million worth Hong Kong because their of pork to Hong Expected to products are very price Kong, accounting for reach Expected +16% competitive. 12% of the market 160,480 MT to reach (value) share. in 2010 US$425 There is a big demand million in for price competitive U.S. products are 2010 prepared/preserved highly regarded for meatballs and other quality and food products typical in safety. Chinese dishes in Chinese restaurants, which are made from pork. China enjoys the advantage of low processing cost. Processed 176,228 MT US$262 +3% The U.S. is the largest U.S. processed fruit Fruit & million (volume) supplier (32%), closely and vegetables are Vegetables Expected followed by China (29%). well known of their to reach Expected +7% superior quality and 180,000 MT to reach (value) Some international tastes. U.S. in 2010 US$255 brands have operations processed fruit and million in in China and their vegetables such as 2010 exports to Hong Kong potatoes, nuts, are considered as sweet corn, Page 25 of 30 imports from China. mushrooms, peaches and pineapples will continue to be in large demand in Hong Kong. Beef, 91,829 MT US$317 +20% Because of BSE cases in U.S. exported Frozen million (volume) the U.S., Hong Kong US$69 million worth currently allows boneless of frozen beef to Expected to Expected +31% beef derived from cattle Hong Kong in 2009, reach to reach (value) under 30 months of age accounting for 17% 119,000 MT US$435 from U.S. E.V (Export market share. in 2010 million in Verification) approved Although U.S. beef 2010 plants. was banned in Hong Kong in 2004 and Bone-in beef and variety 2005, Hong Kong beef from the U.S. are consumers still have not yet allowed in. high regards for U.S. beef in terms of Currently only 25 plants quality and safety. have been EV approved and are eligible to export beef products to Hong Kong. Short U.S. beef supplies make U.S. beef very expensive. Brazil beef took the opportunity to gain market share. Brazil beef imports grew from US$49 million in 2004 to US$211 million in 2009. Wine 25.4 million US$399 +20% Competition is keen in U.S. exported liters million (volume) Hong Kong. Major US$40 million of competitors come from wine to Hong Kong Expected to +59% France and Australia. in 2009, accounting reach 24 Expected (value) French wine is for 8% of the million to reach traditionally more market share. liters in US$590 popular in Hong Kong. 2010 million in The HKG abolished 2010 the import tax on wine and beer in February 2008. The HRI sector in Macau is growing, making it an excellent opportunity for U.S. Page 26 of 30 wine traders to expand their exports. Hong Kong consumers are more and more receptive to wine. The total elimination of the excise tax on wine would probably help nurture wine drinking culture in Hong Kong. Tree Nuts 85,779 MT US$397 +19% 38% of the tree nuts No local production million (volume) imported to Hong Kong are pistachios. Expected to Expected +20% reach to reach (value) The U.S. is very strong in 77,500 MT US$400 supplying almonds, in 2010 million in hazelnuts and pistachios. 2010 Some of the imports are re-exported to Vietnam and China for processing. Fruit & 18,683 MT US$25 +0.4% The U.S. is still the Given the high Vegetable million (volume) market leader, exported quality of U.S. fruit Juices US$9.6 million worth of & vegetable juices, Expected to Expected -1% fresh fruit juices to Hong U.S. fruit and reach to reach (value) Kong, accounting for a vegetable juices 16,900 MT US$21 market share of 34%. such as orange in 2010 million in juices, apple juices, 2010 grape juices, grapefruit juices, tomato juices and pineapple juices are expected to continue to be very popular in 2010. Organic Statistics not Statistics Statistics Organic F&B products are As Hong Kong Food and available not not generally 20-40% higher consumers are Beverage available available in prices compared to becoming more (The size of non-organic products. health-conscious, the Hong the demand for Kong organic There are many organic organic products will food and standards in the market continue to grow in beverage and the poor quality of a 2010. market is country?s organic estimated at products may negatively USDA Organic US$500 affect the image of enjoys an excellent Page 27 of 30 million, with organic products from all reputation among an annual supplying countries. consumers in Hong growth of Kong. Consumers 10-15%) generally have more confidence on USDA Organic standards than other countries?. Grain products, soybeans, cereals, oats, noodles?etc are in good demand. Other products such as organic meat (beef and pork), condiments, poultry, eggs etc are starting to have more interest in the market. There is also a strong demand for organic vegetables and fruits, organic coffee and tea products. SECTION V. KEY CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION Post Contact Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Home Page: Agricultural Trade Office American Consulate General 18th Floor, St. John?s Building 33 Garden Road, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2841-2350 Fax: (852) 2845-0943 E-Mail: Web site: Department to Implement Food Safety Control Policy Food & Environmental Hygiene Department 43/F., Queensway Govt Offices Page 28 of 30 66 Queensway, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2868-0000 Fax: (852) 2834-8467 Web site: Department to Control the Importation of Plants & Live Animals Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department 5-8/F., Cheung Sha Wan Govt Offices 303, Cheung Sha Wan Rd Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2708-8885 Fax: (852) 2311-3731 Web site: Department to Issue License for Imported Reserved Commodities Trade & Industry Department 18/F., Trade Department Tower 700 Nathan Road Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2392-2922 Fax: (852) 2789-2491 Web site: Department to Register Health Foods Containing Medicine Ingredients Department of Health Pharmaceuticals Registration Import & Export Control Section 18th Floor, Wu Chung House 213 Queen?s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2961-8754 Fax: (852) 2834-5117 Web site: Department to Issue License for Imported Dutiable Commodities Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department Office of Dutiable Commodities Administration 6-9th floors, Harbor Building 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2815-7711 Fax: (852) 2581-0218 Web site: Department for Trade Mark Registration Intellectual Property Department Trade Marks Registry Page 29 of 30 24th and 25th Floors, Wu Chung House 213 Queen?s Road East Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2803-5860 Fax: (852) 2838-6082 Web site: Semi-Government Organization Providing Travel Information Hong Kong Tourist Board 9th - 11th floors, Citicorp Center, 18 Whitfield Road, North Point, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2807-6543 Fax: (852) 2806-0303 Home Page: Semi-Government Organization Providing Hong Kong Trade Information Hong Kong Trade Development Council 38th Floor, Office Tower, Convention Plaza 1 Harbor Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2584-4188 Fax: (852) 2824-0249 Home Page: Page 30 of 30
Posted: 29 November 2010, last updated 19 February 2011