A few years ago not many expats talked about organic food in Shanghai.
With the large number of food safety scandals in China, however, not only expats, but more and more local Chinese people have become interested in organic food.
We have a list of organic food in Shanghai suppliers you can contact at the end of this article.
In May of each year Biofach, the world's leading organizer of organic food and agriculture trade fairs, hosts an organics exhibition in Shanghai.
Organic food and clothing manufacturers, distributors, websites, and farms from all over China as well as overseas exhibit their products at this fair.
In the last few years a plethora of organic produce can be purchased at large supermarkets including Carrefour, Olé and BLT in Shanghai.
Locally produced organic milk and other dairy products, organic vegetables, organic eggs, organic fruits, organic soya-sauce and even organic meat are now available at many large supermarkets in China.
Farmer Markets held in Shanghai including the bi-weekly Saturday Jiashan market, carry many organic products from nearby farms.
Organic food delivery services in Shanghai are a popular way for you to have organic produce delivered on a weekly basis direct to your home from nearby organic farms.
Many 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. In order for imported products to be legally labeled and marketed as organic food in Shanghai foreign producers must go through the Chinese organic certification process, which can be quite expensive and time-consuming.
The Mahota is a leading organic farm in Shanghai and sells its produce to the Shanghai expat community through its city outlet and delivery services
A pop-up organic food market held in Xujiahui district, Shanghai was followed by a Salon where the audience asked the local organic farmers many questions about their business.
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 fertiliser 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 the official organic food certification for China.
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 such as Mahota Farm 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 locally grown organic food in Shanghai is two to four times more expensive than non-organic produce, as long as these businesses can maintain consumer trust their market should continue to grow.