Commodity Innovation Series - Snapshot of Opportunities in China's Dried Peas Sector

August 2017

  • Canadian dollar (C$)

China is Canada second-largest pulse export market after India

  • Pulses are a primary source of protein and are widely used in daily cooking.
  • Pulse ingredients especially pea protein and pea starch are increasingly used in packaged foods and animal feed.

Canada is the #1 supplier of dried peas to China

  • Canada accounted for 89% market share of China's dried peas imports, worth C$427 million .
  • China's import of dried peas from Canada had an average annual growth of 12% from 2012 to 2016.

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2017

Dried peas in bulk

Volume sales (000' Tonnes)
Year Sales
Source: Euromonitor International, 2017
2011 367.5
2012 352.1
2013 454.1
2014 411.1
2025 433.0
2016 436.9
2017 439.6
2018 441.8
2019 443.7
2020 445.0
2021 445.9

Total volume sales are stable

  • Dried peas were widely sold unpackaged in China
  • Traditional retailers accounted for 42.6% of the total volume sales, while foodservices accounted for 30.2% and institutional 27.1%.

Dried pea sales are expected to grow by 2.1% from 2016 to 2021

  • Overall pulses are expected to perform well with volume sales forecasted to grow at an average rate of 2.5% from 2016 to 2021.

Canada accounted for 91% of China's total volume imports

  • China imported 912,928 tonnes of dried peas from Canada.

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017

Dried peas as an ingredient

New product launches containing dried peas in the Asia Pacific region
Country Number of products launched
Source: Mintel, 2017
India 692
China 578
Australia 302
Japan 248
Thailand 132

China ranked second the number of new product launches containing dried peas in the Asia Pacific region

  • China accounted for 21% of the Asia Pacific dried peas product launches.
  • From 2012 to 2016, 578 products using dried peas as ingredient were launched in China.
  • Launched the most pulse products in 12 different product lines.
  • Top product launch categories were in snacks, sauces & seasoning, meals & meal centres.
China's top companies and their brands by dried peas new products launches
Company (brand) Number of products launched
Source: Mintel, 2017
Koushuiwa Foods (Kou Shui Wa) 15
Wal-Mart (Great Value) 9
Heinz (Heinz) 9
Ganyuan Food (Kam Yuen) 8
Dingyi Foods (Shuita) 7

Health and wellness claims are growing for new products containing dried peas

Top claims:

  1. No additives/preservatives
  2. Time/speed
  3. Microwavable
  4. Halal
  5. Economy

Top 5 growing claims:

  1. Social media
  2. Low/no/reduced Fat
  3. Convenient packaging
  4. Low/no/reduced calorie
  5. Premium

Declining claims:

  1. Convenient packaging
  2. Pet – adult
  3. No animal ingredients
  4. Ease of use
  5. Babies & toddlers (0-4)

Flexible packages are the leading packaging type for products containing dried peas as an ingredient

Top packaging types:

  1. Flexible
  2. Flexible sachet
  3. Flexible stand-up pouch

Top packaging materials:

  1. Plastic unspecified
  2. Metallised film
  3. Multi laminate

Top packaging combinations:

  1. Flexible, plastic unspecified
  2. Flexible, metallised film
  3. Flexible sachet, plastic unspecified

China is rated excellent in innovative products

  • Asia-Pacific is the leader for dried peas innovation in new product launches, re-launches, and in product line diversity

Top innovative pulse markets

Top pulse markets: Description of this image follows.
Product innovation rating scale
Innovation Criteria India China Japan Thailand Vietnam South Korea Malaysia Philippines Singapore
Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)
Source: Global New Products Database (GNPD), 2017
Relaunch 8 5 7 10 7 2 6 6 2
New Product 13 16 13 12 14 19 16 16 20
Product Line Diveristy 12 12 8 8 7 10 5 5 5
Health & Wellness Claims 17 15 12 11 9 11 11 8 9

Factors for consideration:

  • Bulk trade is the norm
  • Food safety regulations
  • Mature dried peas market
  • Chinese consumers are willing to pay higher prices for premium products
  • Chinese customers welcome Canadian products in general

Recommendations for entry:

  • Understand the industry and players
  • Personal relationships (guanxi in Chinese) in business are critical
  • Participate in Trade Shows
  • Find a trading company
  • E-commerce could be a viable entry strategy

How we can help

We offer multiple programs and services to help you achieve your international business goals, such as the Agri-Food Trade Service, AgriMarketing Program, and Canada Brand. International Trade Commissioners are also an excellent point of contact for export advice and can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions, and local business contacts.

Have we piqued your interest?

For more information on opportunities in Japan or to join our distribution list, contact Single Window at

Find out about our programs, services and tools to support your exporting efforts. Agri-Food Trade Services for Exporters

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