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Determined Organic Food Marketers Face Uphill Battle Overcoming Chinese Skepticism

March 18, 2010: 10:55 PM EST
Though taking different approaches to the problem, home-grown Chinese organic food entrepreneurs and big grocery chains are battling the same tough obstacle in the huge Chinese food market: skepticism about the price and authenticity of organics. France's Carrefour strategy is to spend money educating shoppers on health benefits, while Beijing Organic and Beyond Corp. is earning trust “one customer at a time” with quality products. But it’s a tough sell. Prospective customers haven’t forgotten recent news of milk tainted with melamine or toxic cowpeas. Organic food labels are often confusing to consumers (“non-polluting food,” “green food,” etc.). And the premium prices are frequently prohibitive: middle-income Chinese shoppers intrigued by the health benefits of organics still balk at prices three to five times higher than non-organic choices.
Niu Shuping and Tom Miles, "Organic food sales a tough slog in China", Reuters, March 18, 2010, © Thomson Reuters
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