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Sector Trend Analysis – Spirits, wine and liqueurs in China

May 2019

Executive summary

China is experiencing considerable growth in its middle class, especially young urbanites. The emerging middle classes in second-tier cities is gaining importance and the market has been stimulated by an increasingly diversified wine consumer base, as younger, more experimental and open-minded consumers begin to drink wine. New opportunities are opening up in a market that was previously dominated only by red wine.

Chinese consumers and especially millennials in first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou), are increasingly shopping online for spirits or wine. Young Chinese consumers are increasingly buying imported spirits from all over the world on quality cross-border e-commerce website and on phone applications.

There are significant market opportunities for international brands to challenge the local spirit. The rise of the middle class in China and rising incomes have allowed many consumers to buy foreign-made and foreign-branded alcoholic beverages.

Chinese consumer trends

Demographics consumption patterns

A new, more globally-minded generation born from 1981 is exercising a strong influence on the market. Chinese's millennials are increasingly choosing premium products and services and are more likely to buy craft beer and imported brands. They are willing to choose more expensive options for higher quality and are demanding unique and individual experience.

Chinese millennials within first-tier citiesFootnote 1 are not drinking baijiuFootnote 2 as often as their parents are also moving away from the high alcohol drinking habits of the previous generations. Instead of traditional Chinese alcohol with high alcohol content such as Baijiu and Mijiu, the younger generations are starting to prefer consuming alcohol with lower content such as beer, wine or premium spirits in smaller quantities. On the other hand, consumption of baijiu increases with age, as a rising social status obliges people to attend more dinners and banquets to maintain their network of connections.

Status

Money and social status are important in China. If you are able to buy imported wines and spirits, it shows to your peers that you have wealth and have attained a "certain social class". In addition, the act of offering a "gift" is an integral part of Chinese culture. This applies to all levels of society, from business meetings to social gatherings and family dinners. Being able to give premium products including foreign wines or spirits, demonstrates taste, wealth and sophistication.

Social networks and E-commerce

Chinese millennials are highly dependent on their smartphone and are active on social media platforms such as WeChat and WeiboFootnote 3. Being active on social media can make visibility easier and be a great marketing tool for creating more brand awareness for imported wines or spirits.

Chinese consumers and especially millennials in first-tier cities, buy almost everything online, including foreign beer due to the convenience of the well-developed delivery system in first-tier cities. Wines and spirits can be sold online through an online Chinese supermarket. The most used and trusted e-commerce platforms included Tmall, and JD.com. International players can take advantage of the rapid expansion of e-commerce and help to gain China's spirit market shares with more imported products.

Counterfeit alcohol

The presence of counterfeit alcohol in the Chinese market has created consumer trust issues and it often leads consumers to be reluctant when buying a pricy product. Imported alcoholic beverages are considered safer than local alcohol. Counterfeiters target inexperienced consumers with little knowledge of how a given foreign brand (wine/spirit) should taste. Exporters can legitimize their brand within the Chinese market by different means including: tasting events at local restaurants, bars or specialized retailers, being active on Chinese social networks and participating in the local food shows.

Chinese spirit market

Spirits

The purchasing power of the average Chinese consumer has increased, so has the demand for more expensive alcohol. The premiumisation trend and increased consumption continue to drive growth in the Chinese market. First and second-tier cities are growing markets in terms of growth in the drinks, mixology, and spirits sectors.

Within first-tier cities, the market is maturing and new products including rum, tequila, bitters, vodka and the whole range of white and brown spirits are now seeing huge growth numbers.

Whiskies, gins and vodkas are the categories that will grow the most between 2018 and 2022.

Due to its luxury French image and fashion, cognac and brandy sales are expected to forecast a 8.9% growth from 2018-2022.

Historical and forecast Chinese retail value sales of spirits by category, US$ millions – fixed 2018 exchange rates
Category 2013 2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2013-2017 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Specialty spirits Other specialty spirits 193,095.2 245,508.6 254,630.5 298,972.1 6.2 4.1
Rice-based spirits 18,408.0 22,802.0 23,536.6 27,515.6 5.5 4.0
Sake 16.2 42.8 49.4 74.8 27.5 11.0
Specialty spirits total 211,519.3 268,353.4 278,216.5 326,562.5 6.1 4.1
Brandy Armagnac 14.1 23.3 25.1 34.3 13.3 8.1
Cognac 1,812.9 3,143.7 3,400.0 4,855.3 14.8 9.3
Fruit brandy 1,053.7 1,801.2 1,953.0 2,735.1 14.3 8.8
Other grape brandy 851.1 1,368.6 1,454.1 1,970.6 12.6 7.9
Brandy total 3,731.8 6,336.8 6,832.3 9,595.3 14.2 8.9
Whiskey American whiskey 106.1 171.1 184.6 253.0 12.7 8.2
Blended malt scotch whisky 525.7 965.8 1,042.0 1,508.8 16.4 9.7
Canadian whiskey 18.1 43.7 47.9 73.4 24.6 11.2
Irish whiskey 1.1 2.4 2.7 3.9 23.1 10.2
Other whisk(e)y 119.2 155.5 161.1 193.7 6.9 4.7
Whiskey total 770.2 1,338.5 1,438.2 2,032.8 14.8 9.0
Vodka 226.4 463.2 512.7 758.6 19.6 10.3
Gin and genever 110.2 223.2 249.1 375.5 19.3 10.8
Liqueurs Cream liqueurs 11.9 22.4 24.7 36.1 17.1 10.0
Fruit liqueurs 19.9 36.2 39.7 56.5 16.1 9.2
Other liqueurs 65.4 119.1 130.9 189.4 16.2 9.7
Liqueurs total 97.2 177.7 195.3 281.9 16.3 9.6
Flavoured alcoholic beverages Alcoholic soft drinks 6.8 12.3 13.2 19.3 16.0 10.0
Pre-mixed spirits 77.1 134.6 143. 209.0 14.9 9.9
Wine coolers 6.9 12.1 12.9 18.8 15.1 9.9
Flavoured alcoholic beverages total 90.8 158.9 169.0 247.0 15.0 9.9
Rum Dark rum 8.2 10.8 11.2 13.5 7.2 4.8
Light rum 30.3 38.8 40.5 48.5 6.4 4.6
Rum total 38.4 49.6 51.8 62.1 6.6 4.6
Tequila and mezcal 16.7 34.3 38.5 55.9 19.7 9.8

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Off-trade and on-trade reviewFootnote 4

Chinese millennials are driving up the cocktail bar culture across China, bringing new opportunities for international spirit sector over the forecast period.

Cocktail bars are springing up all over first-tier cities, while the number of cocktail bars in second-tier cities is growing quickly. One of the reasons for the growing popularity of cocktails in China is the shift in consumption patterns; Chinese millennial's are more adventurous and knowledgeable of the available products and combination than before.

Sales of rum, tequila, whisky, gin, vodka and other white spirits are expected to increase over the forecast period (2018-2022) because of the growing popularity of bars and cocktail culture across first-tier cities.

Historical and forecast Chinese retail value sales on-trade/off-trade by category, US$ millions – fixed 2018 exchange rates
Category On-trade/off trade 2013 2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2013-2017 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Specialty spirits Off-trade 121,552.4 154,744.9 160,767.9 191,001.4 6.2 4.4
On-trade 89,966.9 113,608.5 117,448.6 135,561.1 6.0 3.7
Brandy Off-trade 2,090.0 3,527.4 3,793.5 5,411.3 14.0 9.3
On-trade 1,641.8 2,809.4 3,038.7 4,184.0 14.4 8.3
Whiskey Off-trade 382.1 665.3 715.6 1,022.8 14.9 9.3
On-trade 388.1 673.3 722.6 1,010.0 14.8 8.7
Vodka Off-trade 125.0 258.9 287.7 429.2 20.0 10.5
On-trade 101.5 204.4 225.0 329.4 19.1 10.0
Gin and genever Off-trade 10.7 22.1 24.6 37.9 19.9 11.4
On-trade 99.5 201.1 224.5 337.6 19.2 10.7
Liqueurs Off-trade 50.7 94.3 103.8 149.7 16.8 9.6
On-trade 46.6 83.4 91.5 132.3 15.7 9.6
Flavoured alcoholic beverages Off-trade 33.0 58.4 62.3 91.0 15.4 9.9
On-trade 57.8 100.5 106.7 156.0 14.8 10.0
Rum Off-trade 22.0 28.8 30.2 36.9 7.0 5.1
On-trade 16.5 20.8 21.5 25.2 6.1 4.0
Tequila and mezcal Off-trade 1.8 3.8 4.3 6.4 20.6 10.5
On-trade 14.9 30.5 34.2 49.5 19.6 9.7

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Companies

Pernod Ricard Group is the largest supplier of premium whisky in China and it registered over 32% sales growth in the first half of 2018. Diageo Plc has opened its own whiskey boutiques in Guangzhou, Xiamen, Shantou, and Shenzhen.

Main brands of spirits sold in China, volume sales ('000 liters), by selected category and segment, 2013 to 2017 (Part I)
Category Segment Brand 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Brandy Armgnac De La Maziere 100.4 151.7 10.9
Others 34.3 44.6 6.8
Private label 14.4 23.4 12.8
Cognac Camus 1,204.0 1,681.9 8.7
Courvoisier 1,974.3 3,588.1 16.1
Hennessy 3,396.4 5,106.7 10.7
Hine 447.9 673.5 10.7
Martell 2,505.5 4,859.9 18.0
Others 1,596.7 253.9 −36.9
Private label 111.7 169.4 11.0
Rémy Martin 3,125.9 4,490.0 9.5
Flavoured alcoholic beverages Pre-mixed spirits Bacardi Breezer 3,218.0 5,311.9 13.3
Jack Daniel's Lemonade Whiskey 390.4 670.7 14.5
Others 1,915.3 3,417.1 15.6
Private label 616.3 581.1 −1.5
Rio 1,197.3 2,078.4 14.8
Gin and genever Beefeater 88.2 127.3 9.6
Blue Riband 179.4 319.2 15.5
Bombay Sapphire 65.0 87.8 7.8
Citadelle Gin 10.6 21.5 19.3
Gilbey's 141.9 247.2 14.9
Gordon's 51.0 69.6 8.1
Greenall's 15.7 30.5 18.0
Hayman's 9.1 18.9 19.9
Hendrick's 12.1 24.0 18.8
Lloyd 11.3 22.8 19.1
Lubuski 63.2 116.4 16.5
Others 1,034.5 1,866.1 15.9
Private label 137.6 249.6 16.1
Ransom 9.9 20.2 19.6
Sipsmith 8.4 17.6 20.3
Tanqueray 13.5 26.6 18.5

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Main brands of spirits sold in China, volume sales ('000 liters), by selected category and segment, 2013 to 2017 (Part II)
Category Segment Brand 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Liqueurs Cream liqueurs Baileys 185.4 242.5 6.9
Bols 117.2 192.2 13.2
Others 102.2 209.7 19.7
Private label 56.0 99.3 15.4
Fruit liqueurs Bols 237.9 387.8 13.0
Campari 339.1 565.6 13.6
Others 17.8 26.7 10.6
Private label 9.3 16.4 15.2
Other liqueurs Baileys 432.6 563.2 6.8
Kahlua 81.4 106.4 6.9
Others 1,418.6 2,457.4 14.7
Private label 401.7 708.2 15.2
Whiskey American whiskey Jack Daniel's 722.8 1,789.6 25.4
Others 911.4 407.6 −18.2
Private label 70.2 136.4 18.1
Canadian whiskey Others 174.9 376.6 21.1
Private label 1.4 2.8 18.0
Windsor 42.7 76.9 15.9
Irish whiskey Jameson 11.2 17.9 12.3
Others 10.8 24.2 22.4
Other whisk(e)y Others 2,956.0 3,545.7 4.7
Private label 30.3 39.7 7.0
Scotch whiskey Ballantine's 2,422.5 4,571.2 17.2
Chivas Regal 2,681.8 4,951.4 16.6
Dewar's 1,815.4 2,448.7 7.8
Dimple 593.9 1,008.9 14.2
J&B 773.1 1,356.6 15.1
Johnnie Walker - Red 2,457.7 2,997.0 5.1
Others 48.5 22.4 −17.6
The Famous Grouse 847.4 1,467.4 14.7
Vodka Unflavored vodka Absolut 592.0 1,129.0 17.5
Belvedere 748.7 1,403.5 17.0
Eristoff 240.3 328.3 8.1
Grey Goose 202.6 274.4 7.9
Kafka 504.3 934.5 16.7
Others 3,614.0 6,830.3 17.2
Private label 664.4 1,227.4 16.6
Russian Standard 549.6 1,006.1 16.3

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Distribution channel

Chinese consumers are more active on digital and e-commerce platforms than their counterparts in other Asian countries. Chinese alcohol consumers have started to order liquor online, and this trend will only increase over the forecast period (2018-2022). Leading foreign sellers, including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Remy Martin, and Moet Hennessy have joined Tmall (operated by Alibaba Group).

Channel distributions for beer in China,% breakdown from 2013 to 2017
Outlet type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Store-based retailing 98.9 98.4 97.6 96.0 93.0
Food/drink/tobacco specialists 16.8 16.9 17.1 17.3 17.5
Hypermarkets 18.0 18.2 18.5 18.7 18.8
Small grocery retailers 8.1 7.8 7.5 7.6 7.8
Convenience stores 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5
Independent small grocery 7.6 7.4 7.1 7.2 7.3
Supermarkets 55.2 54.7 53.8 51.7 48.3
Other grocery retailers 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6
Internet retailing 1.1 1.6 2.4 4.0 7.0
Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

Spirits and liqueur imports in China

The Chinese demand for imported spirits is booming and it will continue. The ten largest cities are situated on or near the East coast. Shanghai is the biggest with 22.7 million people, followed by Beijing with 20.4 million. Consumers in first tier cities like these have the country's highest disposable incomes and tend to seek out high quality, premium, and imported products. The provinces of Fujian, Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang have important ports and are the major entry points to Chinese markets.

Imported spirits are perceived as high quality and enjoy an advantageous perception among Chinese consumers. France is Europe's leading spirits exporter to China in volume and value, but many other European countries have significant market shares of the total imported beer market in China.

China has retaliated to the US imposition of tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports into America, announcing a counter tariff on a raft of products supplied by the US into China, including a 25% hike on American whiskey. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, American spirits exported to China grew by almost 1,200% between 2001 to 2017. These measures will likely impact further growth.

Top ten Chinese province markets for imported liqueurs, spirits and other spirituous beverages, value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
China (total) 1,100,454,777 1,012,024,619 1,088,239,632 1,178,036,491 1,489,105,960 7.9
Shanghai 718,279,981 520,965,256 477,905,886 531,768,607 796,089,642 2.6
Guangdong 304,060,729 374,844,741 464,056,097 464,417,228 509,332,834 13.8
Fujian 36,955,657 28,209,355 33,222,147 48,688,763 54,102,657 10.0
Beijing 27,351,660 44,427,181 56,771,940 55,254,837 50,878,537 16.8
Liaoning 1,967,955 16,818,474 22,234,607 25,528,924 24,003,958 86.9
Tianjin 2,262,454 7,553,790 11,115,788 21,422,976 21,679,501 75.9
Shandong 3,160,752 10,645,125 14,207,723 14,505,044 15,603,556 49.1
Xinjiang 61,466 219,723 1,136,791 6,605,604 6,272,436 217.8
Zhejiang 983,572 1,252,876 3,273,893 4,375,680 3,762,918 39.9
Heilongjiang 725,388 1,570,809 356,417 969,322 1,651,466 22.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

Harmonized System (HS) code: 2208

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers in China for liqueurs, spirits and other spirituous beverages, value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 1,100,454,778 1,012,024,620 1,088,239,632 1,178,036,491 1,489,105,959 7.9
France 866,209,027 767,546,976 802,961,112 863,713,153 1,129,948,113 6.9
United Kingdom 106,931,136 113,155,762 140,353,717 136,708,716 165,871,424 11.6
Hong Kong 26,589,975 32,033,048 39,000,699 63,263,833 54,836,502 19.8
Taiwan 29,049,422 16,160,844 19,631,314 28,674,549 35,712,877 5.3
United States 15,611,024 15,450,347 18,768,124 17,432,863 21,239,742 8.0
Japan 9,069,470 9,128,023 10,477,336 12,303,712 15,523,735 14.4
South Korea 11,670,368 11,703,026 12,536,085 16,953,731 12,433,568 1.6
Mexico 5,272,500 7,216,483 7,367,689 6,291,313 8,789,982 13.6
Sweden 5,200,121 5,184,798 5,453,803 5,162,461 6,466,587 5.6
Germany 2,082,937 3,796,579 5,151,433 2,788,171 6,441,843 32.6
Canada (17th) 74,534 405,217 546,641 1,190,419 1,380,464 107.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 2208

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers in China of spirits obtained by distilling grape wine or grape, value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 865,666,142 765,526,285 801,941,970 860,994,003 1,126,442,022 6.8
France 860,225,477 759,014,157 794,866,684 856,243,574 1,118,031,412 6.8
United Kingdom 428,357 60,336 29,782 2,173,125 50.1
Spain 1,209,866 1,099,346 735,528 795,518 969,640 −5.4
United States 465,911 647,534 502,538 469,813 832,790 15.6
Germany 215,724 1,795,631 2,903,923 704,217 792,973 38.5
Georgia 388,826 132,974 19,088 220,667 749,326 17.8
Italy 397,586 718,576 685,999 200,214 491,038 5.4
Armenia 672,837 752,802 538,476 305,866 453,366 −9.4
Chile 107,262 119,390 372,625 220,664 339,667 33.4
Russian Federation 3,822 5,330 93,411 124,098 237,767 180.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220820

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top 10 foreign importers in China of whiskies , value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 116,795,960 118,811,175 151,829,133 149,539,229 175,794,475 10.8
United Kingdom 103,035,749 106,169,451 133,234,679 130,188,502 155,037,242 10.8
United States 8,113,338 7,126,988 11,264,532 10,537,264 11,546,071 9.2
Japan 2,385,207 2,496,345 3,460,775 4,325,261 4,497,965 17.2
Taiwan 339,813 413,721 708,062 1,274,428 1,202,325 37.1
Ireland 189,645 457,442 702,489 494,746 1,056,550 53.6
France 1,017,217 423,779 376,849 714,549 610,643 −12.0
South Korea 1,067,341 639,960 920,804 1,197,244 428,913 −20.4
Singapore 173 245,505 N/C
Canada (9th) 37,366 106,675 219,669 382,525 225,008 56.6
India 241,749 478,042 36,494 139,927 N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220830

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

N/C: Not calculable

Top 10 foreign suppliers in China of liqueurs and cordials, value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 15,966,243 22,144,387 19,577,610 21,761,995 32,268,033 19.2
France 3,040,952 5,320,416 3,930,666 3,929,697 7,123,247 23.7
Ireland 4,321,132 5,646,849 3,252,720 4,223,274 4,847,676 2.9
Germany 1,529,067 1,254,942 920,708 1,423,154 4,777,469 33.0
Japan 1,400,933 942,457 1,062,645 1,854,917 4,167,084 31.3
Netherlands 2,032,569 3,569,804 3,675,331 2,565,933 3,303,103 12.9
South Korea 262,368 107,290 982,144 2,294,659 1,664,309 58.7
Italy 1,000,708 1,196,540 1,088,353 876,028 1,184,914 4.3
Mexico 400,592 1,638,593 1,217,211 857,139 1,003,744 25.8
United States 644,145 704,815 825,588 692,156 997,932 11.6
Canada (10th) 1,207 10,057 15,110 598,094 867,250 N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220870

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

N/C: Not calculable

Top 10 foreign suppliers in China of gin, value in Canadian dollars, from 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 2,627,592 3,720,038 4,203,000 5,566,014 5,672,284 21.2
United Kingdom 2,206,537 3,226,598 3,472,347 4,698,951 4,188,086 17.4
France 51,180 82,570 163,277 242,816 435,006 70.7
South Africa 70 125,201 312,700 N/C
Spain 5,991 23,852 47,615 64,301 141,103 120.3
Netherlands 25,652 28,995 39,539 36,199 137,390 52.1
Germany 109,530 117,591 103,117 112,233 108,827 −0.2
Poland 23,466 71,908 69,767 82,049 98,595 43.2
United States 177,200 138,122 199,815 94,413 97,946 −13.8
Lithuania 468 33,786 N/C
Canada (10th) 228 8,663 17,408 19,140 N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220830

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

N/C: Not calculable

Product launch analysis – spirits and liqueurs

In the last five years, 882 spirits and liqueurs were launched China. Out of these, 216 were actually new products on the shelves of Chinese grocery stores. Featured products are increasingly being relaunched with new packaging to target Chinese millennials.

Number of launches in China by launch type, from 2013 to 2017Footnote 5
Description of this image follows.
Description of above image
Launch type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
New product 17 38 69 63 29 216
New variety/range extension 10 38 43 52 54 197
New packaging 1 0 14 15 38 68
Relaunch 0 0 0 0 2 2
New formulation 0 0 0 1 0 1
Total sample 28 76 126 131 123 484

Source: Mintel, 2018

Number of new launches in China by sub-category, from 2013 to 2017
Description of this image follows.
Description of above image
Sub-category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
Flavoured alcoholic beverages[1] 14 50 82 59 34 239
Other local spirits 13 26 43 67 77 226
Other spirits[2] 19 11 11 19 38 98
Total sample 46 87 136 145 149 563

1: Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages (FABs) Referred to as "alcopops", "liquors/spirits mix beverages", and packaged pre-mixed alcoholic drinks. Includes wine coolers, pre-packaged spirit and mixer drinks like gin and tonic, tequila and juice, rum and cola, etc.

2: Other includes: Liqueur, whisky, vodka, brandy, white rum and tequila.

Source: Mintel, 2018

New launches by their formats (Unit pack size – millilitres/grams (ml/g))
Description of this image follows.
Description of above image
Unit pack size (ml/g) Number of products
500 ml 175
275 ml 127
330 ml 42
300 ml 16
310 ml 13
450 ml 12
Other 36
Total sample 421

Product launch examples – spirits and liqueurs

Xiao Qu Refreshing Aged Chinese Spirit 10
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Jiang Jin Wine Factory
Brand Jijiang
Sub-category Other spirits
Country of manufacture China
Store type Convenience store
Date published October 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in local currency CNY99.00
Price in US dollars 14.30

Jijiang Xiao Qu Qing Xiang Xing Lao Jiu 10 (Xiao Qu Refreshing Aged Chinese Spirit 10) is made according to a traditional technique. The product retails in a 500ml pack.

Zui Xi Qing Chinese Spirit
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Lu Zhou Gong Holdings
Brand Lu Zhou Jiao Jiu
Sub-category Other spirits
Country of manufacture China
Store type Merchandise/Hypermarket
Date published October 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in local currency CNY69.80
Price in US dollars 10.16

Lu Zhou Jiao Jiu Zui Xi Qing Bai Jiu (Zui Xi Qing Chinese Spirit) is now available. The product retails in a 500ml pack.

Lemon Flavoured Rum Cocktail
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Bacchus Winery
Brand Rio
Sub-category Flavoured alcoholic beverages
Country of manufacture China
Store type Supermarket
Date published September 2018
Launch type New packaging
Price in local currency CNY12.50
Price in US dollars: 1.82
XO Brandy
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Bei Wei Xian Wine
Brand Rapelvalley
Sub-category Brandy
Country of manufacture China
Store type Supermarket
Date published August 2018
Launch type New product
Price in local currency CNY46.00
Price in US dollars 6.73

Rapelvalley XO Bai Lan Di (XO Brandy) is now available. The product retails in a 500ml pack.

Aromatic Chinese Spirit
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Diao Yu Tai Winery
Brand Lao Ni Jiao
Sub-category Other spirits
Country of manufacture China
Store type Supermarket
Date published August 2018
Launch type New product
Price in local currency CNY26.50
Price in US dollars 3.92

Lao Ni Jiao Te Xiang Xing Bai Jiu (Aromatic Chinese Spirit) is now available. The ISO 9001 and QS certified product retails in a 500ml pack bearing a QR code.

Organic Garlic Vodka
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Koch
Brand Koch
Category Alcoholic beverages
Sub-category Vodka
Country China
Date published June 2018
Product source Trade show
Launch type New product

Koch Organic Garlic Vodka is a silver filtered Estonian spirit made using organic grain and spring water. This product retails in a 50cl bottle bearing the EU Green Leaf logo. It was on display at the SIAL 2018 tradeshow, in Shanghai, China.

Chinese wine market

Wine

China is the top global consumer of wine in the world and it continued to increase. The expanding consumer base for wine drove growth in 2017 and it will drive the growth beyond the forecast period (2018-2022). The wine market is increasing its grasp on second and third-tier cities. In contrast, the market in first-tier cities develops around its premium segment.

Historical and forecast Chinese market, retail value sales of wine by main categories, US$ millions – fixed 2018 exchange rates
Category 2013 2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2013-2017 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Wine (total) 35,232.9 64,235.9 73,449.6 123,549.0 16.2 13.9
Sparkling wine Cava 18.0 37.8 41.1 60.7 20.3 10.2
Champagne 638.2 606.7 646.0 770.3 −1.3 4.5
Other sparkling wine 1,825.0 2,446.2 2,631.7 3,455.6 7.6 7.0
Prosecco 8.8 4.0 3.2 1.0 −18.0 −24.7
Wine Red wine 28,233.6 55,865.0 64,617.9 112,712.1 18.6 14.9
Rose wine 1,357.4 1,463.8 1,534.5 1,833.1 1.9 4.5
White wine 3,151.9 3,812.6 3,975.3 4,716.2 4.9 4.4

Source: GlobalData Intelligence

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Sparkling wine and particularly champagne have not yet firmly established their presence in the Chinese market outside first-tier cities. As Chinese millennials are increasingly prosperous and willing to spend their wealth on imported products, it seems a matter of time before this market takes off outside first-tier cities.

Still red wine remains the dominant category and will be boosted by a growing consumer base from lower-tier cites. In first-tier cities, white wines and rosé are increasingly attracting more and more Chinese consumers. There is developing demand for white wine, particularly aromatic whites such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Moscato.

Some brands have created drinks specifically for the Chinese market. This is the case of Möet & Chandon who released two wines (a white and a rosé) called "Chandon Me" only for Chinese consumers. They are considered sweet with floral aromas, hints of fruit, and a smell of honey. It was a big success for the brand. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to adapt to the Chinese to conquer their market.

China's economic boom led to a bubble in the luxury wine, notably for Bordeaux in first-tier cities. Based on retail sales value, Bordeaux remains the most popular foreign wine consumed by Chinese. However, consumers are slowly shifting their interest on other wine producer regions such as France, Italy, and Spain.

Sweet wine

Chinese wine has traditionally been very sweet. Well balanced, smooth, fruity and medium acidic wine complement many Chinese dishes, and that's typically the consumer spot to aim for; although many Chinese enjoy sweet dessert wines. Young professionals in major cities (Hong Kong and Shanghai) are showing interest in superior quality sweet wines from around the world and represent a potential market for Canadian ice wines.Footnote 6

Off-trade and on-trade review

Average unit prices of wine within the retail sector (off-trade) increased by 5,5% in 2017, mainly due to an increase in the number of wines available in supermarkets and online. Off-trade average unit prices of still light grape increased again in 2017, primarily due to growing sales of premium products and increases in shipping costs. Lifted by a developing wave of middle-class wealth, Chinese consumers are increasingly trading up to more expensive options. This trend is trickling down to lower-tier cities, according to the general wealth of the associated region.

Historical and forecast Chinese on and off trade value sales of wine, by category, US$ millions – fixed 2018 exchange rates
Category On-trade/off trade 2013 2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2013-2017 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Cava Off-trade 5.3 11.1 12.1 17.9 20.1 10.4
On-trade 12.7 26.7 29.1 42.8 20.4 10.1
Champagne Off-trade 157.6 144.1 151.6 167.2 −2.2 2.5
On-trade 480.6 462.6 494.5 603.1 −1.0 5.1
Other sparkling wine Off-trade 583.3 763.7 815.0 1,032.0 7.0 6.1
On-trade 1,241.7 1,682.5 1,816.7 2,423.6 7.9 7.5
Prosecco Off-trade 2.7 1.2 1.0 .2 −18.4 −32.0
On-trade 6.1 2.8 2.3 .8 −17.7 −22.1
Red wine Off-trade 7,954.5 17,372.2 20,689.1 38,896.8 21.6 17.1
On-trade 20,279.1 38,492.9 43,928.8 73,815.3 17.4 13.9
Rose wine Off-trade 396.9 485.0 522.3 672.4 5.1 6.5
On-trade 960.5 978.7 1,012.2 1,160.7 0.5 3.5
White wine Off-trade 886.5 1,172.3 1,263.8 1,630.7 7.2% 6.6
On-trade 2,265.4 2,640.3 2,711.4 3,085.5 3.9% 3.3

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Main brands of wines and sparkling wines sold in China, volume sales ('000 liters), by category, 2013 to 2017
Category Brand 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Cava Others 157.9 317.3 19.1
Private Label 75.3 79.3 1.3
Champagne Dom Perignon 99.5 118.7 4.5
GH Martel 15.0 18.2 5.0
Moët & Chandon 119.5 149.5 5.8
Others 693.6 366.3 −14.8
Private Label 277.5 328.7 4.3
Veuve - Clicquot Ponsardin 19.9 23.7 4.5
Other sparkling wine Champagne Jacquart 179.9 233.3 6.7
Changyu 5,496.5 6,933.0 6.0
Dragon Seal 321.7 421.1 7.0
Dynasty 3,763.7 4,773.0 6.1
Freixenet 75.3 92.7 5.3
Gancia Asti 211.3 256.8 5.0
Great Wall - Sparkling 1,751.4 2,239.3 6.3
Huadong Winery 61.6 77.5 5.9
Laurent Perrier 30.2 38.0 6.0
Others 77.2 304.9 41.0
Piper-Heidsieck 58.7 76.6 6.9
Tonghua 73.2 93.4 6.3
Weilong 1,699.3 2,231.0 7.0
Prosecco Others 103.1 44.6 −18.9
Red wine Carlo Rossi 22,452.6 40,931.8 16.2
Changyu 254,513.7 451,095.0 15.4
Dragon Seal 14,736.3 25,867.7 15.1
Dynasty 40,016.5 62,707.5 11.9
Felix Solis 3,081.6 7,227.1 23.8
Grand Dragon 2,603.1 4,366.0 13.8
Great Wall 70,655.5 88,309.3 5.7
Obikwa Merlot 30,362.1 66,092.4 21.5
Others 456,863.6 735,727.3 12.7
Private Label 4,015.5 6,168.3 11.3
Roche Mazet 11,053.5 21,379.4 17.9
Shangri-La 76,206.9 127,354.2 13.7
Suntime 29,109.9 53,755.6 16.6
Tonghua 188,925.4 335,534.6 15.4
Tongtian 40,176.8 56,111.0 8.7
Vieux Papes 16,355.1 31,294.0 17.6
Weilong 46,263.6 60,523.2 6.9
Yunnan Red 12,981.9 29,967.2 23.3
Rose wine Felix Solis 2,568.0 5,668.7 21.9
Others 5,979.7 271.2 −53.9
Private Label 4,015.5 5,807.5 9.7
Roche Mazet 1,950.6 3,551.8 16.2
White wine Dynasty 7,061.7 10,875.3 11.4
Felix Solis 2,054.4 4,734.6 23.2
Others 11,764.1 1,309.6 −42.2
Pengzhu 3,829.3 6,108.1 12.4
Private Label 4,015.5 6,062.3 10.8
Weilong 5,140.4 6,608.0 6.5

Source: GlobalData Intelligence, 2019

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Distribution channels

One of the main distributor channels for foreign wine market is online. Chinese millennials are likely to conduct thorough research online on winery specialized websites/apps before purchasing a given imported wine. Specialized wine reviews and description platforms such as Pinshanghongjiu and Jiubaowang are gaining importance in China as most Chinese consumers prefer to choose a brand they know, they've tried before or has been recommended by friends or family.

Increasingly, importers and distributors are using delivery apps such as Dianping and ELeMe to sell their wine. Typically, consumers using these channels require delivery within a very short time frame, ranging from one hour to one day.Specialized retailers increasingly organized private events such as hosting wine tasting events to educate new consumers in second-tier cities.

Channel distributions for wine inChina,% Breakdown from 2013 to 2017
Outlet Type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Store-based retailing 93.5 89.4 85.0 82.5 81.2
Food/drink/tobacco specialists 17.1 17.2 16.9 16.6 16.4
Hypermarkets 26.5 25.1 23.4 22.9 22.8
Small grocery retailers 15.2 14.1 12.5 11.5 10.8
Convenience stores 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.9 1.0
Independent small groceries 14.4 13.2 11.6 10.5 9.8
Supermarkets 32.0 30.3 29.7 29.2 29.2
Other grocery retailers 2.7 2.7 2.5 2.3 2.1
Internet retailing 6.5 10.6 15.0 17.5 18.8
Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

Wine imports in China

As Chinese, especially millennial are increasingly exposed to western culture, they are increasingly willing to try more grape wine varieties, new brands and new wine producing countries. Australia, South America and North America, are increasing their market shares in China, via both online and offline distributions.

France market shares in China have declined from 2013 to 2017, but French red wine remains the dominant choice for imported wine consumers. Opportunities for the rest of the wine world will evolve as the domestic market grows.

Currently, the imported wine market in China is highly fragmented, with many small importers locally focused within one city.

New Zealand, Chile and Australia have lower shipping costs than many European countries because they are benefiting from a free trade agreement exempting tariffs on imported grape wine.

Top ten Chinese province markets of imported wine of fresh grapes, value in Canadian dollars, 2013 to 2017
Province 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
China (total) 1,599,583,999 1,674,642,349 2,616,820,385 3,142,126,074 3,620,711,793 22.7
Guangdong 324,281,310 453,305,690 1,061,585,862 1,253,058,250 1,203,895,120 38.8
Shanghai 557,959,181 558,104,553 678,012,825 783,295,207 1,019,217,773 16.3
Shandong 134,410,793 108,171,628 169,091,324 226,202,417 290,335,028 21.2
Zhejiang 102,804,116 93,871,188 121,450,299 177,110,334 247,093,098 24.5
Beijing 129,778,795 127,015,412 157,534,291 202,433,964 190,033,990 10.0
Tianjin 61,128,957 49,120,996 82,390,153 109,773,470 187,164,469 32.3
Fujian 87,935,428 93,602,825 118,264,200 148,062,948 185,741,783 20.6
Jiangsu 57,651,746 64,927,570 84,368,404 73,384,791 109,780,367 17.5
Liaoning 30,642,018 37,033,895 34,163,587 36,759,869 46,083,346 10.7
Sichuan 15,458,867 14,767,283 13,671,589 23,406,842 26,392,391 14.3

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 2204

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers to China of imported wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines; grape must, partly fermented and of an actual alcoholic strength of > 0,5% volume, value in Canadian dollars, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 1,599,584,001 1,674,642,356 2,616,820,380 3,142,126,068 3,620,711,793 22.7
France 728,672,767 728,870,132 1,160,893,934 1,325,886,628 1,428,401,241 18.3
Australia 243,002,205 283,027,714 581,767,324 760,193,680 940,518,804 40.3
Chile 171,657,505 184,366,585 300,224,887 355,264,297 426,231,612 25.5
Spain 110,017,905 122,127,973 166,325,156 211,281,094 251,193,977 22.9
Italy 108,311,866 115,102,199 128,594,321 176,039,639 209,402,590 17.9
United States 81,627,309 80,349,670 73,086,571 79,441,664 105,847,452 6.7
South Africa 24,958,390 26,113,167 51,473,835 51,066,076 38,336,581 11.3
New Zealand 20,663,773 26,849,309 24,018,747 28,036,580 37,769,065 16.3
Portugal 19,416,937 16,143,170 21,580,552 26,400,907 30,589,225 12.0
Argentina 23,803,018 19,898,321 26,218,502 31,201,383 28,826,621 4.9
Canada (13th) 14,714,583 11,702,522 13,531,122 13,048,377 18,954,235 6.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 2204

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers to China of wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines, in containers of > 2 litres, (excluding sparkling wine), value in Canadian dollars, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 1,422,128,869 1,506,835,880 2,411,060,191 2,917,903,708 3,306,448,851 23.5
France 676,746,204 676,642,241 1,115,466,338 1,283,471,811 1,360,538,793 19.1
Australia 232,503,931 273,114,574 563,860,874 722,146,465 882,358,386 39.6
Chile 103,049,213 137,472,558 218,537,460 277,875,459 345,875,949 35.4
Spain 94,023,570 106,074,156 144,136,950 188,857,858 194,701,586 20.0
Italy 92,582,787 89,696,691 105,599,392 151,519,096 179,272,069 18.0
United States 75,863,454 71,889,561 65,671,156 69,748,055 97,762,105 6.5
New Zealand 20,392,087 26,656,246 23,874,600 27,872,227 37,523,000 16.5
South Africa 22,834,774 23,896,139 49,124,952 46,305,865 31,724,041 8.6
Portugal 18,322,052 15,684,922 20,474,477 25,223,327 28,845,775 12.0
Argentina 23,068,888 19,525,080 25,483,496 30,757,201 28,594,127 5.5
Canada (13th) 14,181,267 11,345,607 13,147,947 12,900,504 18,259,792 6.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220421

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers to China of wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines, in containers of ≤ 2 litres, (excluding sparkling wine), value in Canadian dollars, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 110,626,858 77,110,345 127,294,456 149,416,046 205,328,581 16.7
Chile 68,376,160 46,483,486 81,373,426 75,870,287 78,233,244 3.4
Australia 7,234,314 5,668,143 12,290,260 33,746,490 53,326,149 64.8
Spain 12,984,207 8,721,166 13,831,375 14,107,826 47,166,943 38.1
France 10,444,804 3,846,761 7,643,347 8,424,918 14,123,525 7.8
South Africa 1,707,600 1,809,721 1,897,410 4,344,511 6,023,884 37.0
United States 5,227,339 7,598,490 6,996,824 9,252,533 2,792,952 −14.5
Italy 1,018,852 904,311 1,144,657 2,260,162 1,562,452 11.3
Portugal 982,698 415,597 1,008,555 727,567 960,327 −0.6
Canada (9th) 404,416 328,491 340,091 115,805 505,467 5.7
Germany 216,648 146,804 335,195 125,669 323,016 10.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220429

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten foreign suppliers to China of sparkling wine of fresh grapes, value in Canadian dollars, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 66,793,535 90,686,319 78,357,669 74,802,290 97,829,535 10.0
France 41,481,758 48,381,130 37,784,249 33,989,432 51,805,176 6.7
Italy 14,710,227 24,495,742 21,836,525 22,260,380 27,280,064 17.7
Spain 3,010,128 7,332,651 8,356,831 8,315,410 8,616,511 30.1
Australia 3,263,960 4,244,996 5,535,578 4,300,726 4,337,756 7.4
Germany 1,550,110 2,513,166 2,057,358 1,702,122 1,840,095 4.4
Chile 232,132 410,540 314,001 1,518,551 1,468,617 58.6
Portugal 112,186 42,651 97,520 450,013 392,665 36.8
South Africa 416,015 407,306 451,473 414,580 329,069 −5.7
United States 535,832 861,620 418,591 441,076 304,873 −13.1
New Zealand 250,548 192,090 117,604 164,354 239,735 −1.1
Canada 94,852 28,424 43,084 29,632 79,358 −4.4

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

HS code: 220410

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Product launch analysis – wine

In the last five years, 263 wines were launched China. Out of these, 216 were new products on the shelves of Chinese grocery stores. When it comes to packaging, Chinese consumers prefer expensive looking designs. It gives them a sense of class and luxury, especially if they are willing to spend a premium on an imported product.

New launches by their formats (Unit pack size – ml/g)Footnote 7
Description of this image follows.
Description of above image
Unit pack Size (ml/g) Number of products
500 ml 57
480 ml 8
1,000 ml 6
275ml 5
750 ml 4
2,500 ml 4
Other 11
Total 95

Source: Mintel 2018

Product launch examples – wine

Ten Year Shao Xing Wine
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Nv Er Hong Winery
Brand Nv Er Hong
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture China
Store Type Mass merchandise/Hypermarket
Date published December 2017
Launch type New variety/range extension
Price in local currency CNY65.01
Price in US dollars 9.87

Nv Er Hong Shi Nian Chen Niang Shao Xing Jiu (Ten Year Shao Xing Wine) is now available. This product retails in a 500ml pack.

Original Brewed Shaoxing Hua Diao Wine
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Guyuelongshan Shaoxing Wine
Brand Gu Yue Long Shan / Guyuelongshan
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture China
Store Type Mass merchandise/hypermarket
Date published February 2018
Launch type New packaging
Price in local currency CNY98.00
Price in US dollars 15.56

Gu Yue Long Shan / Guyuelongshan Yuan Niang Shaoxing Hua Diao Jiu (Original Brewed Shaoxing Hua Diao Wine) has been repackaged. This product retails in a 500ml bottle bearing a QR code.

Rose Wine
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Hong Dong Wine
Brand Yuexi
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture China
Store Type Supermarket
Date published July 2018
Launch type New product
Price in local currency CNY55.00
Price in US dollars 8.28

Yuexi Mei Gui Hua Jiu (Rose Wine) is made with hand selected roses. This product retails in a 485ml pack bearing a WeChat code.

Five-Year Aged Gold Hua Dia Shaoxing Wine
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Guyuelongshan Shaoxing Wine
Brand Gu Yue Long Shan / Guyuelongshan
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture China
Store Name Walmart
Store Type Mass merchandise/Hypermarket
Date published November 2017
Launch type New Variety/range extension
Price in local currency CNY19.20
Price in US dollars 2.89

Gu Yue Long Shan / Guyuelongshan Jin Wu Nian Shao Xing Hua Diao Jiu (Five-Year Aged Gold Hua Dia Shaoxing Wine) is described as a treasury rice wine. The product retails in a 500ml pack.

Organic Mead 40
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Blütenland Bienenhöfe
Brand Organic Times I'm Sweet
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture Germany
Date published June 2018
Product source Trade Show
Launch type New product
Price in local currency CNY90.00
Price in US dollars 14.12

Organic Times I'm Sweet Organic Mead 40 is now available. The product retails in a 40ml reusable pack and was on display at the SIAL 2018 tradeshow, in Shanghai, China.

Blueberry Wine
Source: Mintel, 2018
Company Linyuanchun Eco Technology
Brand Lan Ke
Sub-category Fortified and other wines
Country of manufacture China
Store Type Supermarket
Date published February 2017
Launch type New product
Price in local currency CNY11.90
Price in US dollars 1.73

Lan Ke Lan Mei Yuan Zhi Jiu (Blueberry Wine) is made using quality blueberry from Paektu Mountain, and is processed according to traditional juice pressing and low temperature aroma retaining techniques. This product is said to be rich with fruit aroma, and retails in a 740ml bottle.

Conclusion

China is a key region for Canadian spirit and wine producers to consider. Foreign brands are particularly popular among Chinese consumers. When considering such a large market, it is important for companies to make targeted market entry plans. It is recommended that companies work closely with a local partner to determine the exact export and retail requirements for the market. Companies interested in pursuing these markets should consider gaining first hand experience through trade shows and conferences. Canada does not have the capacity to supply China's large and growing market. However, Canada has the ability to be a strong partner for high-end niche products such as icewines, premium wines and high-end spirits.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

For additional information on Food and Hospitality in China (FHC), 2019, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis – Spirits, wine and liqueurs in China
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: François Thériault, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2019).

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