Guangdong Harmony Food capitalizing on hotpot craze with its snakehead products

Guangdong Harmony Food Co Sales Director Fiona Wong holding one of the company's new retail snakehead products

Yangjiang City, Guangdong, China-based Guangdong Harmony Food is riding the wave of popularity that hotpot restaurants have had in China and Southeast Asia with its new line of snakehead products.

At Seafood Expo Asia, running from 11 to 13 September in Singapore, Guangdong Harmony Food Sales Director Fiona Wong told SeafoodSource her company was formed just over a year ago to jump on the opportunity presented by the hotpot trend.

“[Our] product is very popular in China because it’s a ready-to-cook product that is also suitable for catering and restaurants,” Wong said.

Snakehead is a freshwater species, and China farmed more than 300,000 metric tons of it in 2022, according to the World Aquaculture Society. Guangdong Harmony produces roughly 3,000 metric tons a year and has control over its whole supply chain from hatchery to primary processing, Wong said.

Guangdong Harmony Food produces several snakehead products, including starched snakehead fish slices, that work well in hotpot, as the fish is packaged pre-sliced and can be used with minimal additional work required by foodservice companies or chefs, Wong said.

Chinese restaurant chains like Haidilao have grown and seen a resurgence following the lifting of dining restrictions instituted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Haidilao International Holdings, the parent company of the popular hotpot chain, enjoyed a return to profitability in 2022 as more of its customers returned to dining out.

Wong said hotspot restaurants are now growing in popularity across Southeast Asia and increasingly in the U.S. as well. That has introduced people to the type of seafood supply chains that Guangdong Harmony can capitalize on, she said. Additionally, Guangdong Harmony Food recently released a new retail snakehead product for retail, Wong said.

“The retail channel is good for the branding, while the catering and restaurants are much more about volume,” she said.

Guangdong Harmony Food is also branching into sales and marketing of Chinese pangasius.

“Starting five years ago, China has wanted to raise pangasius in the south of China,” Wong said. “The volume is not as big as Vietnam, but it’s just beginning.”

Wong said the species offers a more economical option for the Chinese market, and Guangdong Harmoney has a sister company, Zhanjiang City Meiquan Aquatic Food, growing its presence in the space. 

So far, Wong said, customers have enjoyed the products, and snakehead’s popularity is growing bigger each year. The company's presence at Seafood Expo Asia is part of its goal to grow its influence beyond China, she said.

“I think that the Chinese way of cooking can go overseas and can have a bigger influence worldwide,” she said.  

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource


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