Yihaodian signs Canadian deal on fresh-food quality

By Yu Xi in Shanghai Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-11 23:18:03

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Shanghai-based online supermarket Yihaodian signed an agreement in Shanghai Thursday, in an attempt to ensure the quality of imported food sold via the online market.

Yihaodian opened a special channel selling more than 500 kinds of fresh food such as seafood and meat imported directly from Canada on the same day.

Both AAFC and Yihaodian will be responsible for drawing up accessible rules for retailers from Canada to sell products on the Chinese online platform, according to the agreement. 

"This is the first agreement we have signed with an e-commerce company in China," Guy Saint-Jacques, Canadian ambassador to China, said at a press conference held in Shanghai Thursday.

It has significant meaning because it is a new platform for Canadian retailers to sell products via e-commerce platforms in China, the ambassador noted.

"Yihaodian has strict food quality inspection and traceability system to ensure the food quality. So we can ensure all the products coming into Yihaodian's warehouse are of good quality," Zhu Pengcheng, chief merchandise officer of Yihaodian, said at the press conference.

"With the Canadian government's endorsement, it's a good way to ensure the food quality; in particular there's a high safety requirement for imported fresh food such as seafood and meat," Zhang Xiangli, a senior analyst from iResearch specializing in the research of the e-commerce industry, told the Global Times Thursday.

But for e-commerce companies selling fresh food, they need to be cautious in preparing inventories of fresh food, as fresh food normally has a very short shelf life, Xiang said.

"Once consumers ask for returns, e-commerce companies will suffer losses," Xiang said.

Also, imported fresh food need to be delivered through cold-chain logistics, which increases the cost for e-commerce companies, Wang Xiaoxing, an industry analyst from consultancy Analysys International, told the Global Times Thursday.

Other domestic e-commerce giants like tmall.com and jd.com already sell fresh food.

"Amid fierce competition, e-commerce companies need to take advantage by providing diversified product offerings, better delivery and after-sales services," Wang said. 

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