Where to buy cheese in Beijing?

Chinese consumer eating cheese

Cheese is not part of China’s traditional cuisine: Chinese consumers widely consider cheese as too smelly. Nowadays, if cheese is still a niche market in China, its consumption keeps increasing:  According to Mintel, “China’s cheese market has enjoyed a rapid growth from a very small base over the previous five years”.  Potential market is huge as cheese still needs to penetrate markets in second and tier cities. 

  • Cheese consumption by children, as it is seen as good for health and in particular for growth of children, thanks to its calcium content, but also marketed as good for the teeth. Brands are targeting young consumers (both consumers in their 20s and children) and cultivate their cheese consumption habits.
  • Cheese consumtion by Chinese adults: cheese for snacking is an opportunity.

 

processed-cheese-consumption-chinaHaving said that, most of the cheese in China is processed cheese (cheese from the mixing, melting and emulsifying of dairy products with addition of food additives and fats) – for example: cream cheese, sandwich cheese, pizza cheese… 

The processed cheese consumption main segment is not retail but food service: cheese consumption has been increasing not only thanks to the expansion of international QSR such as McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, but also local chains serving international meals, as well as coffee chains, bakery chains, …

CheeseAssortment1It is still hard and expensive to find unprocessed cheese in China – for example: mozzarella, camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Blue cheese, Gouda, Edam, Cheddar, Gruyere, Emmental, Parmesan… and the quality is not always there.

Indeed, China has quite restrictive food safety rules and most of cheese can’t be imported to China without being denatured!

 

It shouldnt’ be too difficult for you to find processed cheese in Beijing groceries and even supermarket, both locally produced or imported. As regarding unprocessed cheese, it is harder to find in Beijing, even the offer is wider and wider over the years! 

  • Online shopping: jd.com, benlai.com, taobao… 
  • Chinese and international supermarkets as well as convenience stores: Carrefour 家乐福 (jiā lè fú), Wu-Mart, Auchan 欧尚, Wal-mart 沃尔玛购物广场 (wò ér mǎ gòu wù guǎng chǎng), Sam’s, Metro 麦德龙 (mài dé long)…
  • High-end supermarkets & grocery stores: Cityshop, BHG supermarket, Jenny Lou, April Gourmet, … 
  • Bakeries: Pekotan for example offers cheeses to enjoy with their bread.
  • Markets: you can purchase cheese in most Beijing farmers’ markets as well as in Sanyuanli (Le Fromager de Pekin has recently opened a store there)

 

 

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I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!