Why lettuce consumption is taking off in China

Consumption patterns and choices of Chinese citizens are changing and demand for Western styled products is rising. This is also the case for the fruit and vegetable industry. Typical Chinese cuisine uses shortly steamed or fried vegetables. Raw vegetables used to be a rarity on the menu. The introduction of Western fast food chains since the 1980's launched the start of more internationally fused cooking habits. Lettuce is one of the vegetable crops that are doing well under this new trend. Traditionally served and eaten steamed, raw consumption is taking off in China's big cities.

Lettuce plot at the farm of Hefei Wangjia

Lettuce is grown almost all over China near the big cities. The main producing regions are Hainan and Yunnan Province in the South of the country. In a large country like China, lettuce is grown and harvested throughout the year. In Spring and Winter, lettuce is entering the market from the South of China. In Summer and Autumn the North supplies the country. Lettuce is also grown in greenhouses all year around in the North of China.

There are local varieties of lettuces planted in different parts of China, as well as varieties introduced from abroad. Main varieties are Iceberg, Chinese leaf, Romain, Red leaf, Red oak, Indian and Egyptian lettuce. Organic lettuce is also becoming more popular in recent years.

Hefei Wangjia exports lettuce to South Korea and Taiwan which the company grows in its land in Anhui, Shandong Province. The company witnessed a 5% increase in demand compared to 2014. However, this year's harvest has been slightly disappointing: “the 2015 lettuce season has not turned out positive. Bad weather, drought and flooding have affected production all over china. Diseases such as downy mildew and leaf miner have become more common,” says Bright Liu, the general manager of Hefei Wangjia. He is positive about demand: “Chinese consumers prefer to buy whole lettuce crops. Ready-to-eat or fresh cut salads make up for a small market share. They are mainly produced for the restaurant business. As a whole this segment is growing too.”

The company also exports garlic, ginger and chestnut to the EU.

For more information:

Bright Liu
Hefei Wangjia Import & Export
+86 13339299966+86 13339299966
E-mail: brightliu@china.com
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