Chinese market has growing appetite for Frosista Caviar

Sichuan Runzhao Sturgeon Import and Export General Manager Fu Wenyang showing off some of the company's product.

China’s demand for caviar is increasing thanks to a combination of factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fu Wenyang, the general manager of Sichuan Runzhao Sturgeon Import and Export, the maker of Frosista Caviar, told SeafoodSource during Seafood Expo Global – which ran from 25 to 27 April in Barcelona, Spain – that the company’s main market is still the U.S., followed by Germany. But in the last few years, the Chinese market has begun coming into its own.

“The domestic market, for us, the Chinese market, is growing very fast,” Wenyang said.

Before a sturgeon-fishing ban was implemented in China in 1983, the country used to consume caviar in much higher amounts. Wenyang said he estimates the market consumed around 2,000 metric tons of caviar per year.

“Now, from my view, China consumes about 450 to 500 [metric] tons per year,” he said.

That number, however, is growing rapidly. The Covid-19 pandemic and China’s zero-Covid policy, which the country lifted in December 2022, drastically limited the caviar options available to Chinese consumers. 

“I believe the caviar business was growing fast in the Covid period,” Wenyang said. “In China, because it was difficult to import many goods, there were less available, so people tried to find some good things in China. They found caviar.”

Unlike other seafood products that consumers primarily eat in restaurant settings, caviar was an easy option to eat at home, Wenyang said.

“In Covid, people didn’t stop eating caviar; They still ate it in parties at home and things like that,” he said. 

Now, with Covid-19 restrictions lifted, Wenyang said he thinks the market will grow even more. 

“In my opinion, people are trying to get back what they lost from Covid, so they have more time with friends, have parties, and spend more money for these things,” he said. “Now, Covid is over, and I believe the market will be even better.”

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource


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