SHANGHAI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, also known as "reunion dinner" and believed to be the most important meal of the year for Chinese, is ringing in the global food markets.
In the Maritime province of Nova Scotia, Canada, a fishing boat filled with lobsters was ready to depart on early Wednesday morning.
The batch of Boston lobsters will make a long journey to over 200 stores of Hema Fresh, a Chinese fresh items supermarket, to be served on banquet tables on New Year's Eve on Jan. 24.
According to Hema, more than 100 kinds of high-end fresh food from more than 40 countries and regions are being transported to China.
"China's milk orders for the Spring Festival holiday have exploded. We have to increase the production capacity of factories to deal with the orders," said sources with Namyang Dairy Products, a South Korean company.
With the deepening trade globalization and China's consumption upgrade, imported food is no longer only available to Chinese consumers in large cities.
"Imported food such as Chilean cherries, king crabs and Boston lobsters are not only popular in China's first-tier cities, but also penetrating the markets in the second and third-tier cities during the Spring Festival holiday," said Sheng Cong, general manager of purchasing and marketing of Hema.
In Xi'an, capital city of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the sales of Chilean cherries have quadrupled in 2019 from the previous year, according to Hema.
"In China, imported fruits used to be purchased as gifts, but now more and more people buy them for daily consumption. The consumption upgrade is really noticeable," Sheng said.
According to a report released at last year's import expo in Shanghai, China's imported food grew 19.33 percent in 2018 to 73.6 billion U.S. dollars.
China has 185 sources of imported food, and the import volume of seafood, meat and dairy products has exceeded 10 billion dollars, according to the report.
"The food industry has become China's largest manufacturing sector. Driven by globalization, the global food supply chain is undergoing deep integration," said Liu Ping, president of Bright Food Group of China.