How China Will Transform The Global Ketchup Market

Beverage Crops March 23, 2015
Author: Alexander Romanenko
Chief Executive Officer

Production of tomato ketchup and paste in the last few years has shown mixed dynamics. The increase in 2008 was followed by a slight decline in 2009 and strong growth again in 2010-2011. In 2013, however, global production in physical terms decreased by 2.7%, falling to 3.4 million tonnes, which was nevertheless above the lowest level of production recorded in 2007 (3.02 million tonnes). 

Amidst sluggish demand worldwide, global growth in tomato ketchup and paste production is expected to slow to 2% (currently +3.4%). In the past, tomato ketchup and paste consumption was fueled by rising purchasing power among the urban population in Asia, but this engine is now under pressure from the current economic slowdown. 

However, Asia’s market is likely to continue expanding in the long-term, driven by increasing demand from a growing middle class. Per-capita consumption of tomato products is still relatively low in Asian developing countries, creating prosperous market opportunities for domestic and international companies. 

According to OECD, the global middle class will swell from 1.8 billion people in 2009 to 4.9 billion by 2030, with China home to the largest share. Already, demand for tomato and tomato products has increased in this country, making China the leading tomato consuming market in the world. However, there is a difference in consumer preferences between developed and developing countries. In China, tomato products hold as much as 5% of total tomato consumption, whereas they account for one-third of U.S. consumption. There remains substantial room for a surge in tomato paste consumption, as globalization trends are changing Chinese consumer habits towards European and North American style. 

The output of the five major producers of tomato ketchup and paste, namely China, Italy, the USA, Turkey and Iran, represented more than 70% of global production. In Italy, a country with a long tradition in producing tomato ketchup and paste, the production levels increased by a negligible 0.5% annually from 2007-2013. Other leading countries showed steady growth. Especially high were the growth levels in the USA (+14.9%), China and Turkey (+3.1% each). 

In 2013, the United Kingdom (14.0%), France (11.5%), Canada (10.4%), Germany (8.3%) and the USA (3.1%) were the main destinations of tomato ketchup and paste imports, together making up 47.3% of global imports. While the share of France increased, the share of the USA illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other main importers remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period. 

In 2013, the USA and the Netherlands were the main global suppliers of tomato ketchup and paste, with a 38.8% combined share of global exports. However, the fastest growing exporters from 2007-2013 were the United Kingdom (+18.1% per year) and Poland (+14.6% per year). It should be mentioned that China and Iran, despite being two of the five largest global producers of tomato ketchup and paste, did not export much of their production, meaning that it was either domestically consumed, or put in storage. 

Italy also dominated in the global tomato ketchup and paste trade. In 2013, Italy exported 37% of its total tomato ketchup and paste output. Of this amount, 14.8% was supplied to Germany. 

China was the leader in tomato paste and ketchup production, but only 2.5% of its total output was exported. The main importer of Chinese tomato ketchup was the Philippines (12.6%). 

Source: World: Tomato Ketchup And Paste - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2020