The Influence of Country of Origin on Chinese Food Consumers


  • Keith Walley Harper Adams University
  • Paul Custance Harper Adams University
  • Tan Feng Beijing University of Agricultutre
  • Xu Yang Beijing University of Agriculture
  • Li Cheng Beijing University of Agriculture
  • Sandra Turner Harper Adams University



Country-of-origin, food marketing, Chinese food market, China, Food consumers


The Chinese food market is very large and represents a significant opportunity for overseas companies. If this opportunity is to be exploited, however, there is still a need to understand the Chinese consumer’s response to production by different countries of origin. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to provide insight into the country of origin effect on the purchase of food products in China. The paper reports the findings of an empirical study conducted in Beijing that was based on a large-scale street survey of consumers. Despite limitations related to representativeness and self-reporting, the study generated a number of useful insights. Specifically, the findings suggest that food originating from overseas is perceived to be of higher quality than food originating from China and that Chinese consumers do not see food originating overseas as all the same but relate quality to the country from which it originates. Food originating from overseas had a perceived advantage in the minds of Chinese consumers, although there is still an inclination to buy Chinese food which may serve as a barrier to entry in this market for overseas companies who do not produce in China itself.

Author Biographies

Keith Walley, Harper Adams University

Dr Keith Walley is International Programmes Coordinator at Harper Adams University. Dr Walley has extensive consultancy experience having worked with numerous organisations operating in the public and private sectors, and has published in a wide range of business and management journals including Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Strategic Marketing and Business Strategy and the Environment. His current research interests include coopetition, acculturation, and consumer behaviour.

Paul Custance, Harper Adams University

Dr Paul Custance is Principal Lecturer in Marketing at Harper Adams University. As lead on reach-out for over twenty years he produced a wide range of reports for government bodies, Regional Development Agencies, multi-national companies and local and regional businesses. He has published papers in Journal of Marketing Management, Business Strategy and the Environment, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Marketing Intelligence & Planning and other journals. His current research interests include branding, food supply chains and care farming.

Tan Feng, Beijing University of Agricultutre

Dr Tan Feng is Associate Professor in Food Science and Food Supply Chain Management at Beijing University of Agriculture. He has more than twenty years experience of working with organisations operating in the Chinese food industry. He has published in a wide range of food management journals in China, including Science and Technology of Food Industry, China Food and Food Science and Technology. His current research interests include food supply chain management, food microorganisms and food biotechnology.

Xu Yang, Beijing University of Agriculture

Xu Yang is Senior Lecturer in Food Supply Chain Management and Retail Management at Beijing University of Agriculture. She has worked with food retailers and other members of the Chinese food supply chain for many years. She has published papers in several journals in China including Science and Technology of Food Industry, China Food and The Proceedings of the China Association for Science and Technology. Her current research interests include food supply chain management, urban agriculture and food retailing.

Li Cheng, Beijing University of Agriculture

Dr Li Cheng is Associate Professor in Food Management in the International College of Beijing University of Agriculture. She has worked for a number of commercial organisations including IPSOS (China) where she was employed as a senior researcher and completed projects for a number of well-known international food companies. Her major research and consultancy interests lie in food safety control throughout the food supply chain, especially in food safety risk evaluation and hazard control, consumer food choices, eating habits and health.

Sandra Turner, Harper Adams University

Sandra Turner is Associate Head of Department, Senior Lecturer and Course Manager for courses run jointly with Beijing University of Agriculture. Her research interests focus on international students and in particular their acculturation, the management of culture shock, and the use of Communication and Information Technology (CIT) in their learning, support, and assessment.



How to Cite

Walley, K., Custance, P., Feng, T., Yang, X., Cheng, L. and Turner, S. (2014) “The Influence of Country of Origin on Chinese Food Consumers”, Transnational Marketing Journal. London, UK, 2(2), pp. 78–98. doi: 10.33182/tmj.v2i2.411.