October 25, 2016

JD Fresh has signed an agreement with Ocean Family, and the government of Zhoushan city, to promote online sales of high quality, traceable seafood.  Zhoushan is one of the main distant water seafood landing ports in China.

The cooperation agreement is with the local government of Zhoushan city, Zhejiang.  Ocean Family is the certified supplier for JD according to the agreement. This company was chosen for its traceability system, high standards and good-quality products.

Many problems exist in China’s frozen seafood market. Great profit has brought some sellers to do illegal business.

Selling normally frozen seafood as fresh, for example,  is one common problem, said Zeng, the founder of Ocean Family. Their normally frozen products are kept at the temperature of -18℃, while the temperature of fresh seafood  is lowered to 0℃ shortly after the seafood is killed. And the meat is maintained at 0℃ during storage and transportation. It is difficult for consumers to tell the differences between these two meat. But the normally frozen one is worse in view of qualities and sanitation after being defrosted, added Zeng.

There is a rapid increase in Chinese people’s demand for frozen seafood with changes to their consumption habits. The demand remains high in the coastal areas, and it is rising in the inland areas. This is thanks to the rapid development of China’s cold chain and diversified sales channels of these products, especially e-commerce platforms. China’s frozen seafood supply has doubled within the past ten years. However, there are great controversies concerning  the lack of industry standards for frozen seafood.

Eating seafood is common for coastal consumers. But it is expensive for those inland people. Frozen seafood is a good option for this group of people. However, there are such problems as a mix of good and bad products, unclear price labeling, short weight and fake products. So sometimes consumers couldn’t get good frozen seafood even at high prices.

The frozen supply chain is complex, and there is cheating. For example, there are great differences in the fishing and processing methods of frozen shrimp. And as to transportation, some suppliers use a cold chain in the whole process, while some just refreeze the seafood which has defrosted during transportation and selling between different traders. It is not a secret among insiders that some so-called fresh seafood are actually the normally frozen ones. A few sellers even sell the seafood frozen for long time as seafood lately caught.

Foreign companies do better than China’s domestic ones regarding transparency of their quality control. So many Chinese consumers prefer to purchase those imported seafood. It is reported by some foreign media that China has become the most active foreign market of Japan’s Maruha Nichiro. The company has exported about 90% of its lobster products to China, a larger buyer than Japan and Europe. And Canada’s Clearwater Seafoods has also seen seeing surprising sales increases with its great efforts to develop China’s market.

It is ironic that China’s frozen seafood companies fail in setting standards, while overseas companies are thriving in this market. To solve this problem, JD Fresh Business Unit has begun its seafood sourcing project.  It has decided to cooperate with Zhoushan government for direct seafood supply to ensure high qualities of its products. The company has also worked with its partners in the standardization of processing procedures. And the final products are transported to the door of consumers through the JD cold chain. JD also owns refrigerated warehouses which have various temperature-controlled areas. The company hopes to closely cooperate with Zhoushan government and deliver local high-quality seafood to consumers with the JD cold chain, said Wang, the president for JD Fresh Business Unit.

Zhoushan seafood is not only renown in Zhejiang but also all over China. But a few illegal sellers have done great damage to the reputation of these seafood, especially largehead hairtail, with their fake products. This cooperation provides JD with high-quality seafood and also increases the competitiveness of local seafood.

Ocean Family is Zhoushan’s leading company, and has been recommended as JD’s seafood supplier by local government. This company is equipped with strong sea-fishing capacity and advanced freezing technologies. These ensure the freshness, safety and good qualities of their seafood. And it also has a designated boat to catch seafood for JD to guarantee sufficient supply.     And JD also promises to deliver seafood to consumers within 48 hours,  and the Zhoushan government supervises JD. This is a great step in the market development of Zhoushan seafood.

Producers, logistic companies and governments are all responsible for the lack of standards in frozen seafood industry. JD has developed a new business model through its cooperation with Zhoushan government and Ocean Family. It not only improves consumers’ shopping experience but also expands target markets of Zhoushan seafood. It even makes a breakthrough in the industry with the synergy of these three parties.

Higher-quality products can bring better opportunities. The fresh food industry used to make money by hiding information from the public. But Internet and e-commerce have brought great changes to this business model and JD promotes this reform of open and transparent supply chains for frozen seafood consumers.