Coles has doubled down on its Chinese growth strategy lodging a new trademark as part of its expansion plans to lure more affluent Asian buyers to its meat products while focusing on vegan options locally.
The grocery giant filed a trademark for a Coles logo including three Chinese characters, translating to ‘Customer Australia Market’, earlier this month. The trademark’s goods and services categories included vitamins and supplements, coffee, preserves and meat.
The submission marks a firming of Coles’ long-held strategy for Chinese food exports, which it plans to ramp up over the next five years. China has been one of the supermarket’s largest markets for some time, and Chinese demand for high-quality Australian goods has been increasing.
The company told the AFR in November it planned to open an office in Shanghai by March next year, with goals of selling prime cuts of local meat to middle-class Chinese shoppers.
“There is a huge demand with a growing middle class in China; a very fragmented industry; pork consumption is declining and beef consumption is growing; and the demand for premium quality Australian food is there,” Coles export chief Thinus Keeve told the AFR at the time.
A Coles spokesman confirmed the trademark registration was part of the company’s export strategy.
“Coles has been exporting Australian food for 20 years, selling Australian grown meat, wine and other products across the Asian market,” they said
“As part of our Smarter Selling strategy, we aim to grow this significantly over the next five years, with an initial focus on meat exports.”
The supermarket giant does not plan to open any stores in China but said it would consider exporting in other categories such as milk powder and oat products.
This comes as Coles has continued to diversify into the growing vegan market in Australia. In October, the supermarket giant applied for trademarks of the term “100% Plant Based. 100% Delicious”, “Deliciously Vegan” and “100% Vegan. 100% Delicious” that are part of its in-store range.
Coles launched a vegan Christmas roast in early-December and over 2019 steadily introduced product lines from vegan meat and cheese suppliers such as The Alternative Meat Co, which was added to store shelves in May.
Rival Woolworths Group in December submitted trademark applications for “W food you feel good about” and earlier this year filed for the terms “Plantology” and “Plantitude”. The Plantitude range, which is in store, includes vegan desserts like chocolate cake.
Woolworths was unavailable for comment.
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