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NDTO News Article

Press Release: North Dakota Hosts Third Annual Healthy Food Ingredients Event in China

Exports from the state to China up 112 percent due to grains and pulse crops

North Dakota’s high-quality crops are beginning to have a strong reputation with Chinese food manufacturers, thanks in part to the annual ‘North Dakota Better for You Food Ingredients’ conference and exhibition hosted in China by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO).  Twelve NDTO members and partner organizations showcased the state’s agricultural commodities and food products at the third annual event, held on March 31 in Qingdao, Shandong, China. More than 110 of China’s largest food manufacturers and processors attended the event.

‘North Dakota Better for You Food Ingredients’ is designed to further introduce North Dakota’s high-quality food ingredients to the Chinese food manufacturing market.  North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring served as official host of the event, while crop specialists from Northern Crops Institute (NCI) gave presentations to Chinese buyers, research and development (R&D) specialists and food manufacturers.  North Dakota crops represented at this year’s event included barley, dry edible beans, flax, flour, lentils, pasta, peas, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat.

“This conference once again allowed us to showcase North Dakota’s high-quality commodities and illustrate their nutritional value for the Chinese consumer,” said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner. “We are well-positioned to increase export opportunities for our state.”

The 2015 ‘Better for You Food Ingredients’ conference and exhibition was North Dakota’s second official event in its Sister State of Shandong Province.  North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and Shandong Provincial Vice Gov. Xia Geng signed a sister-state agreement on Feb. 21, 2014, to help strengthen economic and social ties in the areas of agriculture, aviation, education, energy and technology between North Dakota and Shandong.  The ‘Better for You Food Ingredients’ conference and exhibition is a demonstration of the commitment to this agreement and is strongly supported by the government of Shandong.

“The Chinese market is home to over 1.3 billion people and a rapidly growing middle class with an appetite for healthier foods making it a very high-demand market for North Dakota food producers and processors,” said Dean Gorder, executive director of NDTO.  “Through the many successful meeting at the conference, as well as meetings held with government leaders of Shandong Province during this mission, it has become clear that North Dakota has grown its presence in the Chinese food market.  Additionally, a 112 percent increase in North Dakota exports in the past year, led by grain and pulse crops, demonstrates the success of these efforts.”

Companies and organizations participating in the trade mission include:

  • EB-5 Regional Center, Grand Forks, ND
  • Northern Crops Institute
  • North Dakota Department of Agriculture
  • North Dakota Trade Office
  • Northern Pulse Growers Association
  • North Dakota Soybean Council
  • SunOpta, Moorhead, MN
  • Soyko, Gary, MN
  • SB&B Foods, Casselton, ND
  • Healthy Oilseeds, Carrington, ND
  • AmeriFlax, Bismarck, ND
  • Richland IFC, Wahpeton, ND
  • Brushvale Seed, Breckenridge, MN
  • Red River Commodities, Fargo, ND

NDTO led its first trade mission to China in 2004, the year the organization was created, with follow-up missions to the country in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  The ‘North Dakota Better for You Food Ingredients’ event was held in Beijing and Guangzhou in 2013 and Qingdao in 2014.

Shandong is a coastal province, located in the East China region.  The most-current GDP for the province alone is $793 billion, recorded in 2012.  China is North Dakota’s fifth largest trading partner with a total of $49.9 million in North Dakota exports to the country last year; this 112 percent increase in exports from North Dakota to China is led by grains.

Organizations assisting in the development and support of this event include the North Dakota Soybean Council, the Northern Pulse Growers Association and the USDA Foreign Ag Service (FAS).