At the beginning of the 20th century, China began to gradually establish cannery--- In 1908, there was a group of patriotic personages and overseas Chinese from Fujian province holding the sincere belief that “resuscitate the nation by industrialization”, raised funds in Neicuowo, Gulangyu, Xiamen to establish TaoHua cannery, by introducing some American canned processing equipment, produced canned pickled lettuce, canned fermented soya beans, canned pickled cucumbers of local flavor of southern region of Fujian province, canned food of this kind were exported to Hong Kong and southeast Asia, the products were widely welcome in Hong Kong and by overseas Chinese; In 1913, the Military Food Supplies factory at south gate of Changsha, Hunan, once produced canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables, among which the canned turtles were sold to Japan, canned fruits and vegetables were sold to Germany; And so on.
Just as the American Civil War promoted the rapid development of the American canned processing industry, before the New China was founded (The New China, The PRC), canned processing has not formed into an industry in China yet, in 1949 The whole production that China yielded was less than 500 tons. After the founding of new China, especially before the Korean War outbreak, (the war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Chesapeake, also can be translated into the Korean war) during this period, China’s canned industry got rapid development due to the demands of army, Shanghai Yimin Factory (NO.1) became the main canned food manufacturer for military supplies. The Korean War last from October, 1950 to July, 1953, China's canned production increased from 1733 tons in 1950 to 27,854 tons in 1953 , its absolute growth rate of these three years production reached 1507%.
In 1958, China's canned export volume reached 95,257 tons, nearly 100,000 tons. But after that, from 1961 to 1963, China’s canned industry went downhill, its output fell below 100,000 tons, and down to 70000 tons. Through trades by folks, canned food began to be exported to Japan, the United States and Europe. In 1973, China's canned export amount reached $100 million for the first time.
During the planned economy era, China’s canned food industry was just like a giant Group Company. In 1958, there were 22 canned export enterprises originally appointed by Light Industry Ministry, since then, the number of the factories gradually increased year by year.
In 2001, China's canned export volume had a breakthrough for the first time, the total export volume was more than 1 million tons, say 1.19 million tons.
Empty cans manufacturing professionalization played a very positive role in promoting the development of China’s canned industry. In State-owned times, each cannery has an empty cans workshop to provide with empty cans for its own factory, therefore, it was not easy to set up a new cannery at that time. After China’s Reform and Opening-up, with the development of canned food factories, the number of private-owned empty cans factories gradually increased, the cans printing equipment also escalated constantly, especially domestic automation automated resistance welding machine, multiple station modular machine and so on, which brought down the cost of canned food production, and enlarged the enterprises scope. All of these, made sure that the cannery had a steady supply for empty cans.
By 2015, China's current total output of tinplate cans has claimed to be more than 10 million tons.
In 2000, China exported 0.97 million tons of canned food, exports amount as $740 million. Among them, the biggest export varieties of the top five was canned small white mushrooms, (export volume 184,000 tons, export amount $144 million), canned mandarin orange (export volume 175,000 tons, export amount $119 million), canned tomato paste ((export volume 153,000 tons, export amount $68 million), canned boiled bamboo shoots (each tin > = 8 kg) (export volume 92, 000 tons, export amount $97 million), canned asparagus (export volume 83,000 tons, export amount $74 million). These five varieties accounted for 70% of the annual total exports volume, and 68% of total export volume.
In 2001, with China's accession to the WTO, China's canned export volume increased year by year, in 2001 it reached 1 million tons, in 2005 it reached 2 million tons, in 2011 it reached 3 million tons, after year 2012, it fluctuated around 2.9 million tons. Its export amount was more than $5 billion in 2014, reaching a new height.
From entering the new century to 2012, canned industry in China has experienced the gold growth period for 12 years, even there was a global financial crisis in 2008, these four years from 2008 to 2012, China’s canned food export still increased year by year.
In 2015, China exported 2.91 million tons of canned food, export amount as $4.98 billion. Of which there were 7 Tax No. with export volume more than 100,000 tons, these tax NO. export quantity were as follows: canned tomato sauce (> 5 kg) (export volume 564,000 tons, export amount $490 million), canned tomato paste（≤5kg） (export volume 423,000 tons; export amount $423), canned mandarin orange (export volume 318,000 tons; export amount $326 million), the small white mushrooms canned (export volume 185,000 tons; export amount $254 million), canned peach (export volume 155,000 tons; export amount $189 million), other canned vegetables (this is a singled out tax item no. by the customs, export volume 129,000 tons; export amount $257 million), canned bamboo shoots (export volume125,000 tons; export amount $205 million).
Compared with the international market, China's domestic canned food market development was relatively slow. But in some areas, some varieties of canned products mainly relied on domestic market gained rapid development. Canned dace with black beans processing industry of Guangdong region, canned fruit processing industry in Pingyi, Shandong, canned sweet corn processing industry in Changli, Qinhuangdao, are all developed by relying on the domestic market sales. In addition, many canned processing enterprises relied on export trade started to develop the domestic market, after entering the new century, both emphasized domestic and overseas markets, also achieved good results. Some good brands, such as Cologne in xiamen, Merlin in Shanghai , Yingjinqian in Guangzhou, Yinlu in Xiamen, Guoxiu in Hunan, Yuehua in Canton, Zishan in Fujian, Lixing in Fujian, Gangchang in Fujian, Kangfa in Linyi, Shandong, Fengdao in Zhejiang, Xiduoduo in Quanzhou,Fujian, Suzhou Science& Technology, Qinghuangdao Seafood and so on, had taken up certain share in the domestic market. Canned mixed congee, canned pork luncheon meat, canned braised pork, canned fruit cocktail, canned dace with black beans, canned pork pate, canned flavored ketchup, canned bamboo shoots, canned sweet corn, etc, became the main force of China's domestic canned food market.
There was Military canned food demand every year, a lot of canned enterprises obtained orders through bidding. In disaster-stricken areas, canned foods, as relief food, often become indispensable food supplies. In 2002, when Beijing SARS broke out, canned foods were sold out all of a sudden, Xiamen Gulong canned food co., LTD., worked overtime to produce canned rice dumpling of Minnan flavor. Those canned rice dumplings were transported to Beijing for the medical workers in the fight against SARS. In 2008, after the outbreak of Wenchuan earthquake, Sichuan, the first batch of relief food, canned meat, produced by Sichuan Meining canned food co., LTD. was dropped by helicopters to the disaster-stricken areas, With the deepening of international cooperation, China’s canned foods were served as United Nations procurement or China’s humanitarian supplies, to be transferred abroad through special channels over the years.
Due to the regulations of National Bureau of Statistics that in statistics, canned almond drink, canned coconut milk, canned peanut milk, and other canned protein drinks all belong to canned food category, therefore, from a production point of view, canned foods production in China grew rapidly. It is reasonable to think that, from the statistics data released by China National Bureau of Statistics, the dramatic growth of domestic canned foods was partly because of the protein beverage and some seasoning foods without preservatives, including canned foods with soft-bag(flexible) packing. In 2015, the total canned foods production volume is 12.126 million tons, based on the equation “ Total output- Export volume+ Import Volume= Apparent consumption amount in the domestic market”, as the import amount is relatively low, so let’s just ignore it, therefore China’s Apparent consumption amount in the domestic market for 2015 is 9.212 million tons, according to the calculation that Mainland of China has a population of 1.36 billion, thus Chinese people canned food consumption is 6.77 kg per capita.