Unsold food from Chinese supermarkets reenters market through online vendors

Up to 70 percent of unsold food in Chinese supermarkets reenters the market through online food vendors, industry insiders reportedly revealed during a food forum in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. This shocking revelation comes at a time when more people are opting for online purchases. As per Chinese food regulations, supermarkets need to remove unsold food more than halfway to its expiration date from its shelves. But when it comes to online food ecommerce website the authorities are not stringent in implementing the law. This allows the unsold, yet usable food to reenter the market.

Wu Pei, vice secretary general of Guangxi Food Safety Association accused online stores for hyper marketing its discounts while hiding the expiration date. She also warned customers to check the use-by-date before buying from online stores as by the time when the food reaches their homes it would have already expired. Zhang Xiaobo, an agent for New Zealand milk and Australian beef in Pearl River Delta estimated that around 70 percent of unsold supermarket food is being traded through e commerce websites, thanks to the lack of market regulation.

Zhao Xirong, vice secretary general of the Guangxi E-commerce Industry Association, said online sales of food reached 32.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in 2013, annual growth of 47.9 percent, and by 2016 hit 70 billion yuan. Many overseas products that have not received import sanction has found e commerce websites to sneak into the country.