However, when the history, heritage, origin, use of modern technology, UK brand popularity and food safety standards of UK producers were introduced to Chinese consumers, these brands were very well received, DDMA China Market Research has claimed.
Overall, 90% of respondents stated that they were ‘somewhat familiar’ to ‘very familiar’ with the UK as a food producing country.
Similarly, 81% of respondents stated that they would ‘consider’ or ‘definitely consider’ buying UK food produce or food brands.
This placed the UK sixth out of 20 food producing countries, ahead of the likes of France, Norway and Republic of Ireland, but behind Japan, Germany, Australia, the US and New Zealand.
Eighth out of 20
The UK was ranked eighth out of 20 food producing countries in a number of areas, including having a ‘clean and natural environment’, ‘being trustworthy’ and having ‘strict and well-enforced safety standards’.
The report found that while the UK is a popular tourist destination, there is uncertainty as to what the core industries of the UK and also what the difference is between England, Scotland, Wales and the UK overall.
This uncertainty flows into the perception of the quality of food from the UK, it claimed.
DDMA China suggested UK food producers needed to work a bit harder than their peers from other, more popular food-producing countries.
This would involve more emphasis on introducing the origin, history and heritage, standards, quality of their brand, it said.
Also noteworthy is how Chinese consumers considered EU food safety standards to be some of the highest and strictest in the world. The report argued that a Brexit could undermine these perceived safety standards.
Away from food, the report found Chinese consumers tended to have a good general knowledge of UK popular culture, such as the Union Jack, Big Ben, the Premier League, the Royal family and the Beatles.
Meanwhile, business secretary Sajid Javid last week oversaw the signing of commercial UK-China contracts in Birmingham with the Chinese minister of commerce Gao Hucheng.
The deal is part of the UK-China 12th Joint Economic and Trade Commission to boost cooperation and understanding between the two countries.
The UK has attracted up to a third of all Chinese investment into Europe over the past two years, the government claimed.