New sausage styles for Chinese eaters
Drawing on the expertise of its Smithfield business in the United States, WH-Group chinese domestic unit Shuanghui Development is launching products that meet regional flavours and satisfy the demand for snacking and convenience, while also boosting its range of premium fresh chilled meats. The company is also seeking lucrative supply contracts with hotel and fast food chains like McDonald's and is even tweaking staple products like bacon, executives said.
WH-Group want to bring in more Western products, and develop more industrialised Chinese products,Chairman and Chief Executive Wan Long told reporters last week at the company headquarters in Luohe, central China. Among the 100 new products WH introduced this year are the spicy meat snack "Chuan Touli," inspired by the chilli-infused cuisine of the southern Chinese province of Sichuan, and a sausage containing the southern speciality sticky rice.
Shuanghui is China's top pork processor, slaughtering around 15 million pigs a year and commanding a 29 percent share of the processed meat sold in supermarkets, according to Euromonitor, far ahead of the rest. But, China's slowing economy and more health-conscious consumers have limited Shuanghui's sales growth. The country's fresh and processed retail meat market generates an estimated 944.7 billion yuan (143.14 billion USD) in sales each year. Sales of Shuanghui's packaged meats in the first three quarters of 2017 were down 2.2 percent to 2.49 billion USD versus the same period last year. WH is also adapting to the complexity of selling meat in China, where tastes differ by region and income level. The overhaul comes four years after WH bought Smithfield, the biggest U.S. pork producer, for 4.7 billion USD, the largest Chinese purchase of a U.S. company at that time. Heat-treated meat products that do not need to be refrigerated, like the individually wrapped snack sausages consumed as fast food across China make up the largest chunk of the country's processed meat sector.