Pickles soar onto global stage at food expo

BY 亚太日报Nov 16,2020 at 15:50

Food lovers will share in sampling delicacies from around the world at the 12th China International Pickled Food Expo and the third World Sichuan Cuisine Conference, held in Meishan, Sichuan province, from Monday to Sunday.

The weeklong event, which focuses on a healthy lifestyle, sharing and the pure pleasure of eating, is expected to attract more than 1,500 domestic and international participants to share their insights on the development of the pickled food industry.

As China's largest exhibition dedicated solely to pickled food, exhibitions showcasing Meishan specialties, international delicacies, food roadshows and demonstrations are spread over 30,000 square meters.

This year, the expo is estimated to has attracted 300 exhibitors, with more than 50 from overseas including France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Launched in 2018, the WSCC has received praise for its national and international promotion of Sichuan cuisine.

Each year the WSCC has a specific focus, with this year's being poverty alleviation through industrial development. The conference is aiming to promote businesses related to Sichuan cuisine to boost economic development.

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The conference also plays an important role in promoting Sichuan cuisine internationally by looking into new areas of potential growth, the organizers said.

During the week, activities centering on pickled food and Sichuan cuisine will be held, ranging from symposiums and summits to an innovative packaging design competition. A hotpot competition is also being held to see how people can make the most delicious version of the iconic Sichuan dish.

Sour success

Sichuan cuisine is not only known for its spicy taste, pickles are an essential condiment accompanying food prepared in that style.

In Meishan, pickling has taken place for over 1,500 years. Most households in the city own pickling jars and they begin the pickling process in the autumn, sousing seasonal vegetables.

This sweet, sour, spicy, crispy, crunchy side dish has been served at people's tables in Meishan from generation to generation.Pickles were also a favorite of food lover Su Dongpo, a poet in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), as a condiment for developing his famous recipes of Dongpo Pork and Dongpo Fish. Nowadays, locals have named the sousing of vegetables in the city as "Dongpo Pickle" in memory of Su.

The Meishan pickle industry has seen rapid growth in recent years.

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Ji Xiang Ju, a Meishan-based food company producing pickles and condiments, is just one example of the city's pickle industry leading the way in terms of innovation and development.

As a pickle research center for vegetable engineering technology in Sichuan province, the company has 12 advanced automated pickle processing and production lines, four seasoning production lines, nearly 100 different kinds of products, and an annual fresh vegetable processing capacity of 150,000 metric tons.

In 2019, the company achieved an output value of 1 billion yuan ($150.97 million), employing more than 1,500 people.

During the first three quarters of 2020, its output value had reached 607 million yuan, according to the company.

In 2009, Dongpo Pickle was listed as a geographical indication protected product, with a brand value evaluated at 11.39 billion yuan, according to local officials.

In 2019, the sales revenue of pickles in Meishan exceeded 20 billion yuan, accounting for one-third of the country's market share and more than 50 percent of Sichuan province, local officials said.

In recent years, Meishan has applied to become a national foreign trade transformation and upgrading base, putting forward its local brands such as Ji Xiang Ju, Chuannan and Liji as candidates to become foreign trade companies.

Covering the entire industrial and supply chains for pickle manufacturing, Meishan aspires to become the world's largest pickle production base.

Industrial system

Dedicated to inheritance as well as innovation in its food culture, Meishan has formed an industrial system incorporating catering, grain and oil production, condiments, confectionery, dairy products, livestock products and tea.

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Sichuan Yumei Food is an export-oriented company engaged in integrating research and development, production, processing, sales and service of algae and fungi-based products and fresh vegetables.

The company has sold its products to more than 30 countries and regions including the United States, Canada, France, Japan and South Korea.

In 2015, Yumei Food established a branch in Los Angeles, which has played a major part in expanding its overseas businesses.

In 2019, the company achieved an export volume of more than $4 million.

According to Meishan officials, the city's food production and processing industry achieved a sales revenue of 93.78 billion yuan in 2019 and is expected to surpass 100 billion yuan this year.

In addition to industrial development, the city has explored business operation patterns including encouraging cooperation between more companies and farmers, as part of efforts to alleviate poverty.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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