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Shi Jing, Zhang Chunyan
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

Asia

China's export of mooncakes on the rise

China Daily/ANN | Shi Jing, Zhang Chunyan | Friday, Sep 5, 2014

SHANGHAI/LONDON - A brighter light is shining on Chinese mooncake manufacturers as they seem to be finding their way back into US and European markets following a number of bans five years ago.

The United States has banned Chinese mooncakes that contain yolk since 2009.

The European Union and Japan followed suit, raising the threshold on additives and aflatoxin in mooncakes. Australia banned imports of mooncakes with meat stuffing.

Yet after an initial dent in sales, manufacturers have improved exports this autumn with products that meet the standards of recipient countries.

The entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities and trade associations in Guangdong province have been providing guidance to producers since the imports ban was imposed.

The efforts seem to have borne fruit.

The pickup in exports is particularly evident in Guangdong, well-known for its Cantonese-style mooncake made with lotus seed paste and yolk.

This year, it exported 1,300 metric tons of mooncakes worth $10 million by August, a slight increase from last year, according to the Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Many of the mooncake consumers overseas are Chinese.

In Loon Fung Supermarket in London, marketing executive Tiffany Zhong was pleased with the company's steady increase in mooncake sales.

"We have been importing mooncakes from China for 40 years. As we have ordered large amounts, we can offer lower prices," she said.

"If the sales continue to go well, we will order more from China next year."

Zhong said the UK's stricter regulations on mooncakes with meat ingredients have not had a major impact on Loon Fung because the company has always ordered from reputable suppliers that are fully licensed and documented.

Evan Wang, director of online retailer UKCNSHOP, said its yolk mooncakes are supplied locally and there has been no obvious impact on its sales from the stricter regulations. He said the company's sales climbed by 100 per cent this year, compared with 40 per cent last year.

Xiao Yun, in her 30s, has lived in London for more than 20 years, and said her parents and relatives used to mail her mooncakes.

But she has asked them not to anymore because the mooncakes will be returned or destroyed if they fail to meet the quarantine standards.

But she can still enjoy the delicacy. "I buy the mooncakes from London Chinatown to celebrate the festival."

Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Monday this year.

Wang Mingjie in London contributed to this story.

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