Atria was the first Finnish company to secure a licence for the export of pork products to China in 2017. Exports have got off to a very encouraging start, and, for three years now, Finnish pork has been available in Chinese restaurants. Atria is now taking a new significant step in China's retail market. By early May, Finnish pork will be available on the shelves of Chinese retail stores, too, marked with the Atria brand.
Atria has thus far exported pork to Chinese restaurants, but starting next April-May, several different Atria pork products, marked with the Atria brand, will go on sale also in retail stores. The Atria brand guarantees that the product is made from 100% Finnish meat.
Products from different parts of the pig, such as pork tenderloin and sirloin, topside and knuckle, ribs and neck, will be sold to Chinese retailers. The products are free of antibiotic residues and can be traced to the farm of origin. − The first batch of frozen products have been dispatched from Atria's Nurmo production plant at the end of January, says Markku Hirvijärvi, Director responsible for exports to China.
The pork products are vacuum packed in Atria brand packaging. The packaging includes e.g. information on the farm of origin in Finland. These pork products will be available on store shelves by early May. The first batches of the products are on sale in the cities of Chongqing and Changsha. This area is home to about 40 million consumers.
− Atria's new territorial conquest is significant as we have had to come up with new product concepts to meet Chinese retailers' and consumers' demand, says Markku Hirvijärvi. Work has been done together with Atria's partner TianShi, who is responsible for sales and distribution in the region.
Atria offers clean and safe pork products to quality-conscious consumers in the Chinese market. In Finland, pigs are mainly fed domestic animal feed – most of the crops needed by the animals is grown by the animal breeder on his or her own farm. Nordicness conjures positive images in the minds of the Chinese, such as cleanliness, naturalness, and high quality.
Due to the improved standard of living in China, the demand for pork has grown significantly for several years. Pork is by far the most popular type of meat in China. Half of the world's pork is eaten in China, about 55 million tons per year. Pork is probably also the most essential ingredient in Chinese cooking and an important part of Chinese culture.
Atria's expectations are particularly high this year, as the Year of the Pig is beginning in China. In Chinese culture, the symbolism surrounding pigs is highly respectful and promises an excellent year in terms of pork consumption.