Sector Trend Analysis - Crustaceans Trends in China

November 2017

  • United States dollar (US$)

Executive summary

  • China was ranked the third-largest importer of crustaceans in the world, worth US$2.1 billion, which accounted for 8% of the world's imports after the United States (32%) and Japan (12%) in 2016.
  • China's top import category of crustaceans was shrimp and prawns, which accounted for 37% of its imports, followed by lobster with 32% market share.
  • Canada made up 20% of China's crustacean imports from the world, worth US$430 million in 2016. Crab imports made up 37% of China's crustacean imports from Canada.
  • Many Chinese consumers consider fish and seafood to be a better source of nutrients than meat because of their high quality protein, vitamins (A & B), and lower fat and calorie content. As a result of this trend, the retail sales of seafood such as crustaceans are expected to see a growth rate of 2.7% from 2017 to 2021.
  • From 2007 to 2016 there were 750 crustacean-containing products launched in China. The top crustacean ingredient used in the product launches were shrimp and prawns.

Contents

Trade overview

China is the third-largest crustacean importer in the world after the United States and Japan. In 2016, China's crustacean imports amounted to US$2.1 billion, with 20% of imports coming from Canada, 13% from the United States, and 12% from New Zealand. Overall, China made up 8% of the world's imports and witnessed the highest compound annual growth rate of 17% (2012 to 2016) out of the top ten crustacean markets in the world.

China continues to have a trade surplus in crustaceans of US$1.4 billion in 2016. However, this surplus has declined in value by 43%, from a surplus of US$2.5 billion in 2012. Most of China's crustacean exports occurred in the United States and Asia Pacific region. The US made up 17% of China's exports in 2016, followed by Hong Kong (15%), Taiwan (15%), and Japan (13%). Frozen shrimp and prawns accounted for 30% of China's crustacean exports, followed by prepared and preserved shrimp and prawns with 26% market share, and prepared/preserved crabs with 19% market share. Throughout the five-year review period, rock lobster and other sea crawfish saw the fastest growth with a compound annual growth rate of 81% from 2012 to 2016. However, in 2013 and 2014, there was no reported export data.

World imports of crustaceans grew at a compound annual growth rate of 2.8% (2012 to 2016), worth US$28.2 billion in 2016. This was relevant for most of the top importers, where China and South Korea saw the highest compound annual growth rate of 17% and 9.9%; however, Japan and Hong Kong saw a declining compound annual growth rate of 5.6% and 4.8%.

Top ten crustacean markets in the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
World total 25,235.67 27,197.95 30,970.21 27,048.06 28,193.31 2.8%
United States 7,252.51 8,200.84 9,984.31 8,744.51 8,985.43 5.5%
Japan 4,177.78 3,834.61 3,678.63 3,087.04 3,320.48 −5.6%
China 1,133.96 1,437.52 1,671.38 1,861.44 2,117.89 16.9%
Spain 1,251.1 1,341.5 1,524.77 1,409.44 1,467.53 4.1%
France 1,258.74 1,342.05 1,441.91 1,233.07 1,302.79 0.9%
United Kingdom 879.38 945.09 1,123.62 1,042.96 1,001.31 3.3%
South Korea 672.38 683.2 914.14 927.15 982.52 9.9%
Canada 848.15 898.18 1,097.57 943.47 956.28 3.0%
Italy 744.69 808.01 940.18 803.62 875.24 4.1%
Hong Kong 879.07 858.55 795.55 685.99 721.63 −4.8%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR-compound annual growth rate

Note: Data is based on crustacean imports retrieved on September 11, 2017.

Canada's performance

Canada is the third-largest supplier of crustaceans in the world with export sales amounting to US$2.8 billion in 2016, at a compound annual growth rate of 6% (2012 to 2016). Canada continues to be a net exporter of crustacean products with a surplus of US$1.9 billion in crustacean trade.

In 2016, Canada's top export markets were the United States with export sales worth US$1.8 billion, China with sales worth US$420 million, and Japan with sales worth US$116 million. The top crustacean products exported to the world were frozen crab worth US$719 million, frozen lobster worth US$658 million, and live, fresh, chilled, dried salted lobster worth US$631 million. Together, these products made up 71% of Canada's crustacean exports.

Canada is the largest supplier of crustacean products to China, with China's imports from Canada amounting to US$429.5 million in 2016. From 2012 to 2016, China's crustacean imports from Canada grew at a compound annual growth rate of 15%.

China's imports from its top ten suppliers in 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total imports 1,133.96 1,437.52 1,671.38 1,861.44 2,117.89 16.9%
1 Canada 246.37 296.09 343.34 403.40 429.52 14.9% 20%
2 United States 190.13 230.55 249.55 229.10 284.42 10.6% 13%
3 New Zealand 145.98 208.99 233.26 229.82 246.96 14.0% 12%
4 Argentina 16.30 37.45 52.42 61.03 194.59 85.9% 9%
5 Thailand 93.00 101.69 95.76 131.04 141.24 11.0% 7%
6 Ecuador 39.28 55.53 141.94 185.79 96.65 25.2% 5%
7 Indonesia 78.23 94.68 105.61 122.76 87.84 2.9% 4%
8 India 29.84 57.01 48.45 78.08 65.37 21.7% 3%
9 Russia 18.61 16.66 20.42 38.36 61.73 35.0% 3%
10 Bangladesh 31.62 40.70 41.50 44.05 53.62 14.1% 3%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Note: Canada's crustacean exports retrieved on September 11, 2017.

Canada's top ten crustacean products exported to the world in 2016, US$ millions
HS Code Description 2016 Market
share
Crustacean products 2,844.09
030614 Frozen crab 719.01 25.3%
030612 Frozen lobster 658.01 23.1%
030622 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted lobster 631.11 22.2%
160530 Prepared/preserved lobster 334.80 11.8%
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 283.06 10.0%
030624 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted crab 107.07 3.8%
160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns 52.27 1.8%
160510 Prepared/preserved crab 31.61 1.1%
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 14.50 0.5%
160529 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns (in airtight containers) 5.21 0.2%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

Note: Canada's crustacean exports retrieved on September 11, 2017.

Consumer trends

According to Euromonitor, with the rise in health awareness, fish and seafood sales are surpassing meat in terms of volume growth in 2016. Many Chinese consumers consider fish and seafood to be a better source of nutrients than meat because of the high-quality protein, vitamins A and B, less fat and fewer calories.

In addition, with the increase in disposable income, premium fish and seafood products are becoming more popular among Chinese consumers. Fish and seafood products with labels that claim the products are organic, caught in the wild, or imported in recent years have grown in popularity. This is mainly because consumers believe that these products are healthier and more nutritious (Euromonitor, 2017). It is expected that the consumption of fish and seafood will increase along with the rise in nutrition education.

Factors such as extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increasing marine pollution could hinder the product and quality of fish and seafood in the future resulting in an indirect impact on consumption among Chinese consumers. In addition, the rising demand for convenience owing to a busy lifestyle is expected to shift the sales volume sales of fresh fish and seafood to processed products over the forecast period.

Total volume of crustacean consumption in China, from 2012 to 2016
Value type 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
kg per capita 2.8 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.2
kg per household 8.6 8.8 9.0 9.2 9.4
Source: Euromonitor, 2017.

Domestic sales

Total sales volume of fish and seafood saw a 17% increase from 2012, rising to 40.2 million tonnes in 2016. This was consistent in the crustacean category, which saw a compound annual growth rate of 3.9% from 2012 to 2016.

In the forecast period, crustaceans are expected to see a growth rate of 2.7% from 2017 to 2021. According to Euromonitor, this is because of the strong healthy image of fish and seafood products. However, competition from packaged fish and seafood is likely to intensify, and as a result, exert downward pressure on sales volume over the forecast period for fresh fish and seafood products (Euromonitor, 2017).

Historical total volume sales in tonnes (‘000) of fresh fish and seafoods in China from 2012 to 2016
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Fish and seafood 34,304.60 35,637.10 37,031.20 38,648.50 40,244.80 4.1%
Crustacean 3,717.20 3,865.90 4,012.80 4,177.30 4,336.10 3.9% 11%
Fish 21,474.70 22,312.30 23,204.70 24,225.70 25,243.20 4.1% 63%
Molluscs and cephalopods 9,112.70 9,458.90 9,813.60 10,245.40 10,665.50 4.0% 27%

Source: Euromonitor, 2017.

*CAGR – Compound annual growth rate

Forecast total volume sales in tonnes (‘000) of fresh fish and seafoods in China from 2017 to 2021
Category 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR*
2017-21
Market
share
Fish and seafood 41,792.70 43,248.50 44,625.50 45,957.10 47,265.50 3.1%
Crustacean 4,483.50 4,622.50 4,751.90 4,875.40 4,992.50 2.7% 11%
Fish 26,227.70 27,145.70 28,014.30 28,854.80 29,691.60 3.1% 63%
Molluscs and cephalopods 11,081.50 11,480.40 11,859.20 12,226.90 12,581.50 3.2% 27%

Source: Euromonitor, 2017.

*CAGR – Compound annual growth rate

Trade analysis by category

China's imports of crustacean products from the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total 1,133.96 1,437.52 1,671.38 1,861.44 2,117.89 16.9%
Shrimp and prawns 307.49 440.72 555.14 754.79 777.11 26.1% 37%
Lobster 329.27 466.44 580.17 559.27 671.04 19.5% 32%
Crab 460.39 493.19 496.44 500.5 614.35 7.5% 29%
Other crustaceans 36.81 37.17 39.63 46.87 55.4 10.8% 3%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR- Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

China's imports of crustacean products from Canada from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total 246.37 296.09 343.34 403.4 429.52 14.9%
Crab 152.03 144.4 164.66 165.93 158.13 1.0% 37%
Lobster 45.86 62.69 99.51 117.95 145.73 33.5% 34%
Shrimp and prawns 48.47 88.95 79.16 119.26 125.66 26.9% 29%
Other crustaceans 0.00 00.05 0.0 00.26 0.00 −65.4% 0%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR- Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

Shrimp and prawns

China's imports of shrimp and prawn products from the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total shrimp and prawns 307.49 440.72 555.14 754.79 777.11 26.1%
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 153.43 198.96 299. 440.69 443.77 30.4% 57%
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 78.77 144.15 148. 193.29 209.72 27.7% 27%
030627 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted shrimp and prawns 69.24 90.51 104.49 115.58 115.78 13.7% 15%
160529 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns (in Airtight containers) 04.42 06.66 02.96 04.11 06.25 9.1% 1%
160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns 00.59 00.13 00.37 00.64 01.15 18.1% 0%
030626 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted cold-water shrimp and prawns 01.04 00.31 00.32 00.49 00.44 −19.5% 0%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C – Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

China's imports of shrimp and prawn products from Canada from 2012 to 2016, in US$ thousands
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total shrimp and prawns 48.47 88.95 79.16 119.26 125.66 27.9%
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 43.72 80.77 74.17 109.79 121.09 29.0% 96%
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 4.75 8.17 4.97 9.36 4.5 −1.4% 4%
030626 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted cold-water shrimp and prawns 0.0 0.0 0.02 0.09 0.04 N/C 0%
160529 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns (in airtight containers) 0.01 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.03 51.0% 0%
160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 N/C N/C
030627 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted shrimp and prawns 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.03 0.0 N/C N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C – Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

Lobster

China's imports of lobster products from the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total lobster 329.27 466.44 580.17 559.27 671.04 19.5%
030621 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted rock lobster and other sea crawfish 263.9 381.44 403.31 341.64 383.98 9.8% 57%
030622 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted lobsters 45.24 68.32 159.94 186.98 245.17 52.6% 37%
030611 Frozen rock lobster and other sea crawfish 3.1 3.11 3.28 14.48 20.86 61.0% 3%
030612 Frozen lobsters 14.65 11.7 9.73 12.58 17.03 3.8% 3%
030615 Frozen Norway lobsters 2.06 1.81 3.5 3.31 3.99 17.9% 1%
160530 Prepared/preserved lobster 0.28 0.06 0.41 0.23 0.02 −47.7% 0%
030625 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted Norway lobsters 0.03 0.0 0.0 0.06 0.0 N/C N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C– Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

China's imports of lobster products from Canada from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total lobster 45.86 62.69 99.51 117.95 145.73 33.5%
030622 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted lobsters 16.28 34.69 83. 102.17 127.81 67.4% 88%
030612 Frozen lobsters 03.91 04.47 08.57 11.86 16.37 43.1% 11%
030621 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted rock lobster and other sea crawfish 23.43 21.16 07.52 03.27 00.97 −54.9% 1%
030611 Frozen rock lobster and other sea crawfish 02.24 02.37 00.43 00.65 00.56 −29.2% 0%
160530 Prepared/preserved lobster 00.01 00.00  0.0  0.0 00.01 16.2% 0%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C– Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

Crab

China's imports of crab products from the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total crabs 460.39 493.19 496.44 500.5 614.35 7.5%
030624 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted crab 252.55 331.73 334.61 326.91 392.33 11.6% 64%
030614 Frozen crab 206.63 158.85 160.59 171.11 215.2 1.0% 35%
160510 Prepared/preserved crab 1.21 2.61 1.25 2.48 6.82 54.2% 1%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

China's imports of crab products from Canada from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total crabs 152.03 144.4 164.66 165.93 158.13 1.0%
030614 Frozen crab 109.47 81.77 92.7 90.06 86.44 −5.7% 55%
030624 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted crab 42.05 62.6 71.96 75.86 71.39 14.2% 45%
160510 Prepared/preserved crab 0.51 0.03 0.0 0.0 0.3 −12.3% 0%

Source for: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

Other crustaceans

China's imports of other crustaceans from the world from 2012 to 2016, in US$ millions
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total other crustaceans 36.81 37.17 39.63 46.87 55.4 10.8%
030629 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted crustaceans (other) 23.92 33.07 35.89 35.52 38.66 12.8% 70%
030619 Frozen crustaceans (other) 12.85 2.53 3.48 10.4 15.35 4.5% 40%
160540 Prepared/preserved crustaceans (other) 0.04 1.57 0.25 0.95 1.39 136.9% 9%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C – Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

China's imports of other crustaceans from Canada from 2012 to 2016, in US$ thousands
HS Code Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR*
2012-16
Market
share
Total other crustaceans 3,994.0 52,399.0 - 260,522.0 57.0 −65%
160540 Prepared/preserved crustaceans (other) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 57.0 N/C 100%
030629 Live, fresh, chilled, dried, salted crustaceans (other) 0.0 0.0 0.0 255,243.0 0.0 N/C 0%
030619 Frozen crustaceans (other) 3,994.0 52,399.0 0.0 5,279.0 0.0 N/C 0%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

N/C – Not calculable

*CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: China's import data retrieved on September 12, 2017.

Value-added crustacean products

From 2007 to 2016 there were 750 crustacean-containing products launched, 427 of which were launched in the last few years of the review period (2014 to 2016). Over 48% of the products launched in China were snacks, 18% were fish, meat, and egg products, and 14% were in the meals and meal centers category (e.g. prepared meals, sandwiches and wraps). The top crustacean ingredients used in the product launches were shrimp and prawns.

Product launches containing crustacean products from 2007 to 2016
Description of this image follows.
Description of the above image
Year Product launches
2007 41
2008 39
2009 34
2010 50
2011 45
2012 56
2013 58
2014 124
2015 160
2016 143

Source: Mintel, 2017.

Top ten launch categories of products containing
crustaceans, from 2007 to 2016
Category Number of products % of total launches
Snacks 363 48.4%
Processed fish, meat and egg products 135 18.0%
Meals and meal centers 109 14.5%
Sauces and seasonings 49 6.5%
Soup 48 6.4%
Bakery 14 1.9%
Pet food 7 0.9%
Side dishes 6 0.8%
Baby food 6 0.8%
Fruit and vegetables 3 0.4%
Source: Mintel, 2017.
Top ten crustacean ingredients used in product launches in China
and their top five categories, from 2007 to 2016
Crustacean ingredient Snacks Processed fish, meat
and egg products
Meals and
meal centers
Sauces and
seasonings
Soup
Shrimp powder 127 0 58 5 22
Surimi 104 74 14 0 0
Prawn 86 20 16 11 3
Shrimp paste 9 4 13 29 1
Shrimp extract (food) 14 2 21 0 2
Shrimp skin 6 1 5 1 17
Shrimp flavour 16 0 4 0 1
Shrimp seasoning 12 0 3 1 0
Shrimp shell 2 1 1 1 6
Whiteleg shrimp 3 7 0 0 0
Source: Mintel, 2017.

Distribution channels

According to Euromonitor, open market is the preferred retail channel for fresh fish and seafood in China. Modern retail channels, such as supermarkets and hypermarkets mainly sell frozen and chilled fish and seafood. In recent years, more and more Chinese consumers are purchasing large volumes of fish and seafood products online. In 2014, Canada sold 90,000 live lobsters in a one-day promotion with Tmall, and 140,000 lobsters on JD.com in 2017 (Trade Commissioner Services, 2017). This is in part due to rising consumer demands for shopping convenience and storage convenience of fish and seafood products (Euromonitor, 2017).

Top five store types for launched products containing crustaceans, from 2007 to 2016
Description of this image follows.
Description of the above image
  • Supermarket: 54%
  • Mass Merchandise/Hypermarket: 35%
  • Department Store: 5%
  • Internet/Mail Order: 3%
  • Club Store: 3%

Source: Mintel, 2017

For more information

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ben.berry@agr.gc.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis - Crustaceans Trends in China
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Ranna Bernard, Market Analyst

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