Hong Kong – Roger Zhang, SMH International, China and Hong Kong In-Market Representative
Q1: Do you see any emerging trends for 2022 in Hong Kong for seafood (specifically in the HRI sector – e.g., consumer seafood consumption, how the sector will get consumers excited about new menu items and offerings, etc.)?
Hong Kong is known for its dining scene, full of diverse, quality foods, and residents will be eager to dine out now that policies in Hong Kong and the Mainland are being loosened and conditions are more favorable. At this time, the HRI sector is poised for a stronger recovery than the retail sector. Over the past few months, there has been strict oversight of COVID and frozen products, including seafood and meat. With restrictions beginning to relax, hotels will begin to use more frozen products versus their restaurant counterparts. The return to the Mainland, coupled with government stimulus plans, should help boost consumption and create an environment that will slowly welcome newer species/foods as more economic stability is achieved.
As the HRI sector rebounds, there will be greater seafood consumption. During Q4 2021, restaurant receipts totaled over HKD $25 million and fell to just over HKD $15 million in Q1 2022, pointing to plenty of market recovery potential. At the same time, 94 new restaurant licenses were added for 2021, adding more vitality to the sector.
Q2: What are your top three recommendations for Northeast US suppliers looking to grow in the Hong Kong market?
American lobster is a welcome product in the Hong Kong market and has strong demand, but it does carry a higher price. As conditions improve, and residents spend more time outside, there will be greater demand and Northeast US seafood suppliers should be active in the market now to entice more consumers and businesses. My recommendations are:
Singapore – Thomas Wee, Lieu Marketing, Southeast Asia In-Market Representative
Q1: Do you see any emerging trends for 2022 in the Singapore market for seafood (specifically in the HRI sector – e.g., consumer seafood consumption, how the sector will get consumers excited about new menu items and offerings, etc.)?
With the lifting of pandemic restrictions and travel restarting, the HRI sector in the SE Asia region is rebounding fast and furious. Consumers are dining out with a vengeance, and restaurants are keen to tap into this demand with new menus. Preference for seafood in SE Asia has always been for fresh and live seafood. However, with the shortage of skilled and unskilled labor in the industry, restaurants are now open to using more frozen and chilled seafood that is filleted and semi-prepared. This will help them ease their labor crunch while offering good quality menu items to their customers.
Q2: What are your top three recommendations for Northeast US suppliers looking to grow in the Singapore market?
Australia – John Arnold, CX Food, In-Market Representative
Q1: Do you see any emerging trends for 2022 in the Australian market for seafood (specifically in the HRI sector – e.g., consumer seafood consumption, how the sector will get consumers excited about new menu items and offerings, etc.)?
Health, wellness, and the environment continue to be key purchasing factors for Australian consumers. Portion sizes are increasingly important as consumers want quality over quantity, and they expect packaging to be informative and environmentally responsible. The value of Australian consumer oriented and fish, and seafood imports totaled US$13.6 billion in 2021. The U.S. accounted for US$1.3 billion or 10 percent of Australia’s total food related imports. Despite the effects of COVID-19, Australia’s economy has been recovering relatively quickly, and GDP growth had already returned to pre-COVID levels. The market remains an excellent opportunity for U.S. exporters.
Seafood consumption in Australia has boomed since the pandemic. This in part has been attributed to increased availability of domestic product that was kept onshore due to international freight and logistics issues. The trend is continuing and with domestic and international market conditions improving there is potential opportunity for imported seafood products.
In our food service market, fish burgers and lobster rolls are popular menu items, and sushi, sashimi and poke bowls are now mainstream. Salt and pepper calamari and traditional fish and chips are popular nationwide. In the home, seafood pasta and risotto dishes are popular meals to cook, as are Asian-style soups and curries using marinara-style seafood mixes.
Q2: What are your top three recommendations for Northeast US suppliers looking to grow in the Australian market?
About Food Export USA–Northeast With its extensive programs and educational offerings, Food Export USA–Northeast (Food Export–Northeast) is recognized as the preeminent expert and cost-effective resource for Northeast seafood and agricultural suppliers looking to sell their products overseas. Founded in 1973, Food Export–Northeast is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with its 10 member states’ agricultural promotion agencies from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, to facilitate trade between suppliers and worldwide importers and to promote the export of food, agricultural and seafood products from those states. Since its founding, the organization has helped Northeast seafood suppliers gain access to a broad range of export markets, supported overseas in-market educational and promotional programs, and offers emerging suppliers access to funds to help grow their export business. The organization is funded through the Market Access Program (MAP), administered by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Learn more about us and what we do for the Northeast seafood industry here. Contact us.
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