American lobster industry targeting the Chinese New Year business opportunities to understand the preferences of customers throughout China


Source: Xinhua News Agency Portland, The United States, February 4, Xinhua News Agency reporter Pan Lijun zhang Mocheng Wang Ying sorting, weighing, packing…It’s winter midnight at the Lobster Company, a lobster exporter in Maine, and workers in the wholesale shop are busy preparing Chinese customers for the Lunar New Year: packing lobsters overnight and loading them into trucks in the early hours of the morning so they can board cargo flights to China.”We have one order to Shanghai today and one to Guangzhou tomorrow.””Stephanie Nadeau, head of the Lobster Company, told Xinhua., she says, the Spring Festival has always been China’s demand for the lobster season, the company is generally going to stock up in advance, to meet the strong demand of the Chinese market, “always surprises me is that after the Spring Festival, the Chinese market high demand will continue for a period of time, and the American holiday economy there is usually no lasting follow-up effect”.Having worked in The Chinese market for many years, Nadeau is familiar with the tastes of customers across the country.”Customers in Beijing and Guangzhou usually prefer bigger lobsters, while those in Shanghai prefer medium ones.”Lobster Company, based in the southeastern town of Arundel, Maine, has been exporting to China since 2009, making it one of the first U.S. live lobster wholesalers to enter the market.Ms. Nadeau said that when she first went to a seafood show in Beijing in 1997, Chinese customers were surprised to see American lobsters, but not yet eager to buy them.In 2009, her husband went to China again to promote lobsters, and received two “very good customers”, who have maintained a good relationship to this day.’There’s huge potential in the Chinese consumer market,’ Mr. Nadeau said. ‘Demand for American lobster has grown dramatically over the last decade.’At one point, exports to China accounted for 60 per cent of the company’s overall business, and to meet Chinese orders “we had to be open 24 hours a day with three shifts”.”But we’re still doing a lot of business in China,” she said.Last year, the Lobster Company sold more than 1,300 tons of lobster to China.According to trade data, the export of American lobster to China showed a momentum of rebound in 2020, despite the overall decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.From January to November 2021, American lobster exports to China exceeded 6,000 tons, up about 6 percent year on year.Nadeau said orders from China remain strong this year, not only for the Lunar New Year dividend, but also for the Winter Olympics.Lobster is a pillar industry in Maine, which accounts for about 80% to 85% of all lobster sales in the United States, and China is one of its major overseas markets.Bill Coppersmith, a Maine fisherman with 42 years of lobster fishing experience, still goes out twice a week in the winter.”It’s great that China is interested in our lobsters,” he said, adding that he hopes more Maine lobsters will be sold to China. “The more we export, the more money our fishermen make.”Virginia Olson, communications director for the Maine Lobster League, a cooperative in Maine, told reporters that the cooperative attaches great importance to the Chinese market, especially the Chinese New Year, and has been busy stocking up for the Chinese New Year since Christmas.Cooperatives are self-serving shrimp farmers’ organizations that collectively sell lobsters caught by fishing boats to big dealers.”We are eager to take advantage of the Chinese New Year holiday to ship our lobsters to China, and we value the feedback we receive from our Chinese customers,” Olsen said. “We look forward to working more closely with our Chinese partners.””A lot of my fishing gear is made in China. I’m glad we can provide products that Chinese people like. It’s a positive interaction and a win-win situation.”Coppersmith said.(after)

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