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Manuel

Why is fruit so bland and yet so expensive in China?

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DavyJonesLocker

cheers,yeah my concern was that  myprotein were making protein powder locally now or made specifically for the Chinese market and passed off as a UK product 

 

For example a lot of Scottish whiskey distillerys make whiskey specifically for the Chinese market and while it's not actually "fake", as it's made by the same company, it's not the same blend or receipt as what would be sold in Scotland. 

 

 

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Manuel

Just bought some red beans and realised I already had a packet at home. As I was putting them away, I noticed the price difference: the price has more than doubled!

 

beans.thumb.jpg.72215b5e8d7f93706f5191074a685c82.jpg

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abcdefg

That might be useful information for someone planning to live in China for a while. It would give them a better idea of the cost of living than what they could find in reference sources that are several years old. It would allow them to fine tune their expectations: Let them know how much money to bring from home, or what sort of salary they would need to earn here in order to live well. China is no longer a real cheap place to live like it once was. You and I know that; they might not. Other places in Asia have it beat on that score. 

 

Do you think this sort of price rise should trigger any action on our part? Should I stop eating beans; should we all boycot them? Buy a different variety? Should I buy them someplace else? Should we march in protest in Tiananmen Square? Should I set myself on fire or quietly slit my wrists after writing a letter to the editor.

 

I'm more interested in action than in just whining and moaning and wringing my hands. Just shaking my head sadly, saying "tsk, tsk, what a shame" is not the sort of approach to problem solving that appeals to my makeup.  

 

As to your not being able to find good fruit, I think that is at least in part because you are going about the search in a less than optimal matter. Sure, you might have to pay more than you used to. Not sure that is avoidable. But it is still possible to find good tasting fresh fruit that won't break the bank unless you are on a very tight budget. For starters, buying in season would be imperative. 

 

If I lived in a mega-city without access to the kind of "farmer's market" shopping environment that I enjoy here in Kunming, one thing I would explore is whether or not frozen fruit might be a smart option. In the US it sometimes is. I don't know about England and Europe. The fruit for selling that way is harvested later in its growth cycle, left on the tree or the vine until it's ripe and then processed fast, sometimes while still in the field, and flash frozen at very low temperatures after only a few hours. Winds up actually being better tasting and more nutritious than the junk that is picked green, stays in a refrigerated warehouse a couple of weeks, another distribution hub warehouse for a week or two more, then sits on a supermarket shelf for another week after spending time in trucks along the way. 

 

By the same token, in the US canned tomatoes are nearly always preferable to fresh ones for cooking. The fresh ones are flavorless, while the canned ones are picked ripe, processed fast to preserve their taste. They don't lose quality during storage and travel like fresh tomatoes do. I used to look down my nose at them, but now they are hands down the best. 

 

I don't know whether frozen  or canned fruit has the same benefits here as it does in the US. But if I were in your situation, I would make an effort to find out. Might be one solution to the "no flavor" problem. I agree it's a pity one might have to resort to such tactics; shouldn't be that way in an ideal world. Bummer! 

 

Also, I have no idea of the price of such items here relative to fresh over here. But I would not just sit around crying in my beer; I would make strong efforts to find out how to make the situation better. Do research; hunt for solutions. Try this, try that, try something else. Don't just roll over and whimper.  

 

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Baby Charlie

It is awful because this is China! Most of the fresh food available here would not be sold nor purchased in other well developed nations. I lived in Germany for 16 years and the Germans would never buy what is for sale here! Also, I fine fresh fruit and veggies spoil within 24 hours of buying. The quality in my opinion is just awful!

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DavyJonesLocker

I think everyone has to  accept that everything in big Chinese cities is rapidly growing in price. Even Chinese are unaware of it in some regards. 

 


If one is planing to come to china rent is a big considerion as it can outweight other costs as eatables. 

 

For example I tell people I was paying 8500 per month for an appartment in shuanjing, Beijing . People laughted and said I was being ripped off . I tell them check the current  prices! That same apartment is now 9500. My friends (Chinese) are paying 10k +

 

You will hardly get any sort of liveable place under 5000k now in beijing. I'm 20k from the city center and a cramped 2 bed is 6500 here. Even pinguoyuan right at the very end of the subway line in West Beijing is 6500 too

Also while you can course cheaper stuff such as meat, fruit , veg the time factor needs to be considered. I pay a lot extra for convenience. I generally want to do all my shopping on one decent place rather than jump from store to store, which naturally comes at an extra cost. 

I guess it boils down to your disposable income.  

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DavyJonesLocker
7 minutes ago, Baby Charlie said:

It is awful because this is China! Most of the fresh food available here would not be sold nor purchased in other well developed nations. I lived in Germany for 16 years and the Germans would never buy what is for sale here! Also, I fine fresh fruit and veggies spoil within 24 hours of buying. The quality in my opinion is just awful!

 

 

Like milk and bread etc. It's disturbing how long it can last out of the fridge. However I think we shouldn't criticise too much as remember it's a huge population , big country and limited resources , the population needs to be feed. It's easy to see it from a Western mindset when we in Europe and USA have had hundreds of years to develop the economy, law, political system etc

 

 

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ChTTay

@DavyJonesLocker

 

Shunyi and nearby is way more affordable than this. If you’re going to live far out, you should live up here to save money on rent 😉

 

I find fruit and veg here in Beijing to be largely fine. No issues with flavour and quality is available at a price. I am from the U.K. though where produce tends to look nice and taste of nothing. 

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abcdefg
2 hours ago, Baby Charlie said:

It is awful because this is China! Most of the fresh food available here would not be sold nor purchased in other well developed nations.

 

Charlie, Not wanting to argue with you, just curious. Where in China do you live? I want to be sure not to move there.

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abcdefg
7 hours ago, ChTTay said:

I am from the U.K. though where produce tends to look nice and taste of nothing. 

 

That's the way it is in the US too, at least for the most part. 

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DavyJonesLocker
4 hours ago, ChTTay said:

I am from the U.K. though where produce tends to look nice and taste of nothing. 

 

Yup I can agree with that! 

 

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abcdefg
8 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

...the time factor needs to be considered. I pay a lot extra for convenience. I generally want to do all my shopping on one decent place rather than jump from store to store, which naturally comes at an extra cost. 

 

You're right. The time factor does need to be considered. I completely understand; was in similar circumstances for many years. Being retired now, I have the luxury of more time. It's easy enough for me to wander around in the farmers market more or less making a hobby out of finding the good stuff. 

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murrayjames
On 6/15/2019 at 12:42 AM, Manuel said:

Just bought some red beans and realised I already had a packet at home. As I was putting them away, I noticed the price difference: the price has more than doubled!

 

The time frame is notable too. The price more than doubled in less than two months.

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, murrayjames said:

The time frame is notable too. The price more than doubled in less than two months.

 

Yes, that's curious. Wonder what the back story is. 

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DavyJonesLocker

Remember of course the Chinese inflation rate is the real indicator of how expensive it is to live in China. Mind you its not ideal for foreigners as a standard inflation basket of goods may not be particularly relevant to a foreigner (e.g running a car). While CPU is not particularly high at the moment 2.2%, the highest component of this is food inflation which is at 7.7% (annualised ) this month, of which rise in  pork prices has had a big impact.

 

Furthermore,  in a country as vast as China using one CPI rate can be somewhat a crude measure

 

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abcdefg

Just to add to the confusion, or at least to add to my confusion, here's a half-used bag of the same kind of beans 红豆 or 红小豆 from 29 July 2017. Had forgotten about then up on a high shelf. 

 

They cost 17.0 Yuan per kg. My bag weighed 0.860 kg and cost 15.40 Yuan. 

 

281872963_IMG_8435(2)-900px.thumb.jpg.ee478f0c800ce984de15a4c2efc690a9.jpg

 

@DavyJonesLocker

Quote

While CPU is not particularly high at the moment 2.2%, the highest component of this is food inflation which is at 7.7% (annualised ) this month, of which rise in  pork prices has had a big impact.

 

I can tell that pork has gone up. Not surprising, since I've read about the swine illness currently sweeping the country. Would not have been surprised to see it rise even higher. I suppose the central government might step in to keep some single item like that from becoming astronomical. 

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DavyJonesLocker
4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

I can tell that pork has gone up. Not surprising, since I've read about the swine illness currently sweeping the country. Would not have been surprised to see it rise even higher. I suppose the central government might step in to keep some single item like that from becoming astronomical. 

 

 

Indeed I have been buying the same brand from the same supermarket here in Beijing for nearly 3 years. It's at least 50% dearer and thats a very conservative guess! 

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murrayjames

Back to fruit for a minute...

 

The apples, bananas, and grapes sold in grocery stores ’round here are large. Very large. Sometimes unnaturally, freakishly, comically large.

 

Sitting before me on the kitchen table are bunches of grapes the size of small plums. I am afraid to eat them. I cannot tell if their mutant size is the work of excellent horticulturalists or excellent chemists.

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imron

I once had a similar experience in China with eggs.  I needed eggs, but the normal egg seller (a stall at the market) was not open (and neither was the market) and so I went to the supermarket to buy them.  Not knowing which brand to go with  I decided to buy the more expensive "green" organic brand in the hope of getting more natural eggs with less food shenanigans going on.

 

When I got home and cracked them open, the eggs were a deep orange colour - vastly different from the eggs I normally got from the market which were more light yellow, and so I was faced with a quandary, what was the authentic colour of an egg yolk?

 

Were the expensive "green", deep orange eggs the correct colour, and the light yellow market eggs the result of poorly raised chickens, or were the deep orange eggs modified somehow to produce a colour that was significantly different from normal so I would have an instant visual reaction that the expensive eggs were "different", and therefore associate that different colour with better because I paid more money from them and they were "green", for the purpose of a) justifying the extra cost associated with them and b) no longer feeling comfortable buying the other cheaper eggs?

 

It led down the rabbit hole of additives to chicken feed to guarantee egg yolk colour (e.g. with food supplements like this) and I was conflicted about buying eggs for some weeks until I went back to Australia for a visit and got to check out the colour of the egg yolks at my parents place, which they bought from a local place that sold eggs that I knew and could verify were free range.  The egg yolks were yellow, and so I never bought the "green" orange-yolked eggs again.

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889

Consumers in different markets have different expectations about yolk colour, and egg farms use special feed and additives to meet those expectations. A "yolk fan" is useful to get the desired shade of yellow.

 

An egg can be wholly and properly certified "organic" if organic additives are used, and marigold flower petals are a common organic additive to yellow yolks.

 

https://www.dsm.com/anh/en/feedtalks/eggyolk-pigmentation-guidelines.html

 

https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2013/09/marigolds-for-orange-egg-yolks-and.html?m=1

1536146011127.jpg

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Wurstmann

Interesting. The ones I buy here are mostly between 1-4 on that scale. In China they were a lot more orange.

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