Irish beef for sale on China’s largest online supermarkets

Chinese consumers can now order Irish beef online on what is said to be two of China’s largest online platforms.

Both Alibaba’s Tmall Supermarket and Yiguo Fresh are now offering Irish beef among its product ranges, Bord Bia has stated.

The first ever customer, “Miss Xu” from Shanghai selected an oyster-blade cut and received a letter from Ireland’s Ambassador to China with her delivery.

Miss Xu from Shanghai pictured here receiving her online delivery

To mark the start of online sales of Irish beef in China, Bord Bia, in partnership with Win-Chain – Alibaba Group’s global sourcing company – hosted a launch event in association with a Shanghai-based celebrity chef.

The chef live streamed a series of cooking demonstrations showing different ways to prepare the Irish beef on offer. More than 40,000 Chinese consumers tuned in to watch the cookery demonstrations, which will form part of a week-long online Irish beef promotion.

Meat sales on e-commerce platforms in China were estimated at €3.75 billion in 2017, representing approximately 15% of gross merchandise value in the fresh category. Growth is fast, with sales on the largest platforms tripling each year since 2015.

E-commerce typically attracts wealthier, younger consumers, and their preferences are reflected in the fact that 75% of meat sold online is beef, the majority of which is imported.

Conor O’Sullivan, Bord Bia’s trade marketing specialist in China explained: “Investment in the fresh e-commerce sector has really started to take off in the last year or so, and it is being led by China’s internet giants.

“They started off focusing on imported fruit, but in recent times platforms are expanding their offerings to cover meat, dairy and seafood.

The development of online sales is a key part of Bord Bia’s strategy for Irish beef in China.

He added: “The first shipment was air freighted and volumes are limited, so only consumers in Shanghai – a city of 24 million people – are able to purchase right now.

“Once shipments by sea begin to arrive later this year, we expect that Irish beef will be available online for consumers all over China to enjoy,” he said.