Tomato processing industry in China
Currently, there are four main tomato production bases worldwide, U.S. California Valley, the Mediterranean Coast, China’s Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The tomato production altogether account for 85.0% of the world’s total.
China is the second largest national producer of tomatoes in the world and is the top exporter of tomatoes. Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang are China’s primary tomato-producing regions. A barrier for tomato processing industry in China is the disequilibrium of tomato production and consumption. Affected by eating habits, Chinese tomato products are primarily export- oriented, largely subject to the global market. The main categories are tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato ketchup and diced tomatoes. There are approximately 166 tomato processing factories in China’s Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.
Tomato processing industry in China has been growing since 2000 and 2009 saw the production hit the historical high.
In 2011, global tomato production and consumption were 37 million tons and 35 million tons respectively. By the end of 2011, the global tomato has still been a cumulated stock of 20 million tons to meet tomato consumption of 7 months. This high stock renders the global tomato product industry (including China) hard to get rid of loss-making situation.
Affected by severe drought in major tomato production base, the global tomato output in 2012 dived to 34.721 million tons, hitting the rock bottom since 2007. In China, the output of processing tomato stood up 9.6% of the total in global terms.
In 2012, the severe drought in major production regions caused the low operation of domestic tomato enterprises, with the export volume of tomato products declining by 4.2% over 2011. By contrast, the products like ketchup and tomato sauce in small package saw rapid growth in export volume, and the export structure appears to be more reasonable.
In 2012, the average export price of tomato products made in China began to pick up. In Jan.-May, 2013, the average export price exceeded USD900/ton, starting running at a profit. However, it is the truth indeed that the overall profit of China tomato processing industry is relatively low.
In the long term, tomato products belong to fast moving consumer goods, and it with strong rigid demand, coupled with the adjustment of countries’ planting policies, the future market supply and demand will tend towards equilibrium. Currently the tomato processing industry in China is in a stage of brewing changes and adjustment.