Organic Food in Shanghai

Just a few years ago, few expats talked about Organic food in Shanghai.

With the large number of food safety scandals in China in the last few years, however, not only expats, but more and more local Chinese people have become interested in Organic food.

We have a list or organic food in Shanghai suppliers expats can contact at the end of this article.

In May of each year Biofach, the world's leading organiser of organic food and agriculture trade fairs, hosts an organic exhibition in Shanghai. Organic distributors, websites, farms and manufacturers from all over China as well as overseas exhibit their products. 

Apart from this annual organic exhibition, organic food in Shanghai can be found at large supermarkets including Carrefour, several Farmer's Markets held in Shanghai including the bi-weekly Saturday Jiashan market, as well as through organic food delivery services. 

One pop-up organic food market in Xujiahui district was followed by a Salon where the audience asked the organic farmers many questions about their business.

Shanghai Mahota Organic Store

The Mahota is a leading organic food store in Shanghai, very popular with the Shanghai expat community

Consumer Trust is Not Strong

The biggest hurdle and challenge these farmers face in marketing organic food in Shanghai is consumer trust. Shanghai expats and locals both question whether or not their organic certificates were obtained through legitimate and rigorous testing, or through good relations alone.

Consumers are also suspicious of the air, water and soil quality of these farms so close to downtown Shanghai.

Most of the farmers admitted Shanghai farmland still had soil and water quality issues, but that after much investment they could certainly guarantee their soil was of higher quality than non-organic farms, and that testing had shown their water quality was not as bad as people suspected.

After many years of being cultivated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, organic farms are required to 'clean' the soil for three years before they can obtain organic certification in China. One farm representative stated that they had invested several million US$ dollars in their farm over the last five years to obtain certification.

In order to build up consumer trust, many of these businesses open up their Shanghai farms for individual or group visits as well as hold activities for the public. Some Shanghai organic farms target the Shanghai expat community and welcome them to attend these activities.

Weekend travel packages including accommodation on site or nearby, barbeques, and training sessions are available at some organic farms located on Shanghai's Chongming Island.

Although local Shanghai organic produce is two to four times more expensive than non-organic groceries, as long as these businesses can maintain consumer trust their market should continue to grow.

Shanghai Organic Farm Store

Shanghai organic farm stores like this one are growing in popularity, as more people worry about contaminants in their food

Home Delivery of Organic Food in Shanghai

Many Organic Farms in Shanghai offer a weekly home delivery service based on 3-, 6- or 12-month subscriptions. You can normally choose one or two deliveries per week.

You have a limited choice of two or three types of vegetable baskets, and the contents will change according to the growing season, so you must accept what is delivered.

Some imported organic foods can also be purchased through online stores and delivered to your home in Shanghai.

Useful Resources

BioFach Organic Exhibition Shanghai

Shanghai Organic Food Store

Shanghai's organic food movement is growing rapidly

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