Green Groceries in Guangzhou – In Search of Organic Products

Green Groceries in Guangzhou – In Search of Organic Products
By Beth Green ,

If we are what we eat, then most of us could probably sell ourselves as pesticides. Recent years have unraveled food quality scandals in China that have prompted even the least eco-minded of us to check grocery store labels more carefully. Ironically, although China is now one of the largest producers of organic food in the world, actually finding organic food to eat in a Chinese city is not always easy. For people who like more control over what they eat, here's a look at what the major supermarkets in Guangzhou offer in terms of organically grown food and a tips for how to order organic foods online and get them delivered to your home or office in Guangzhou.

First though, a few words about organic certification. To be certified as an 'organic' product, or yǒujī shípǐn (有机食品), a food must be grown on a farm that uses little to no manufactured pesticides or fertilizers for its plants and no growth hormones, food additives or antibiotics for its livestock.

The rules are fairly strict, and if foods comply they can be awarded a round green-and-orange label on the packaging that states the food is “Certified Organic.” China has been awarding this certification since 2005, but in Chinese supermarkets you can also see another logo that has to do with the amount of added chemicals in food—the Green Foods label. The two levels of this certification are awarded to foods which have passed testing, stating they have low enough levels of pesticides, harmful chemicals, etc. Yet another designation you may see while grocery shopping in China is vegetables labeled “non-polluted.” 

However, in this article, unless otherwise stated, all foods mentioned are “Certified Organic,” meaning it should have passed the highest level of control. Now, let's go shopping!

1) Jusco
This Japanese supermarket and department store has the best supply of organic food products of any of the major grocery outlets. They sell fresh produce from the Organic Farm delivery service, including mushrooms, cucumbers and garlic. In the meat section, they have Hormel brand organic pork and locally raised Hilly Black pork with organic certifications prominently displayed.  They are one of the few chains to offer a selection of different brands of organic eggs. On the shelves you can find oatmeal and a large selection of Italian pastas and sauces from the Alce Nero brand, organic honey and organic rice embryo oil.

Jusco (TeeMall branch)View In Map
Add: Tee Mall Basement, 208 Tian He Lu, Tian He District.
地址:     广州天河区天河路208号天河城广场负一层
Tel: 020 8559 2238
Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00

2) Corner's Deli
This Guangzhou specialty food store has dozens of organic foods available, including Bellamy's brand organic baby foods; North American imported frozen organic berries, spinach and vegetables; corn cakes; Alce Nero brand oil; Nature and Health brand rice, chickpeas and kidney beans and Beyond Bio brand buckwheat and corn flour. Although not fully organic, they have some 'non-polluted' fresh vegetables. They are also the only store I found with 100% biodegradable dishwasher detergent, though no other biodegradable soaps or washing liquids.

Corner's Deli (CITIC Plaza Flagship branch)View In Map
Add: 10, Unit SC-01,Back Street BM, Citic Plaza 233,Tian He Bei Road, Guangzhou.
地址:     广州市 天河区 天河北路233号中信广场BM层SC-01单位6号铺
Tel: 020 3877 1400
Opening hours: 08:30-21:00

3) Organic Farms Delivery Service
An option worth checking out for people who want to have as much organically grown food in their diets as possible, Organic Farms supply Jusco and other supermarkets with organic produce. They also will deliver orders worth more than 100 RMB directly your chosen address in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing or Shanghai. Orders can be made over the company's website or over the phone. The website has an 'English' option, but at the time of writing that wasn't working, so non-Chinese speakers may need someone to help them translate it. To start delivery, you need to register for a VIP membership number. Deliveries to Guangzhou residents take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8:30am and 6pm. Products range from apples, meat and herbal mouthwash to eggs, milk, coffee and tea.

Guangzhou Delivery Times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 08:30-18:00
Tel: Customer Service Hotline, 008869166; Shenzhen number, 0755 8311 7575

4) Carrefour
The French hypermarket's Kangwang Road branch has the largest bags of organic rice in the city's supermarkets, offering five and two-and-a-half-kilo bags of Organic Food brand long grain rice. Near their dried noodle section they had a small display of Dewei Organic brand dried goods which included peanuts, green beans and glutinous rice. They carry three-litre jugs of organic peanut oil, and small jars of organic honey. In the produce section there were two large bilingual wall displays explaining the organic certification for vegetables but no clearly marked organic vegetables were being sold.

Carrefour (Kangwang Road Branch) View In Map
Add: B2-B1 Xinguang City Plaza, No.656 Center Kangwang Road, Liwan District, Guangzhou
地址:     广州荔湾区康王路656号新光成市广场B2-B1
Tel: 020 8133 7619
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 08:30 – 22:30; Fri-Sat, 08:30 – 23:00  

This Hong Kong-based store has both large supermarkets and smaller “city” branded stores in the Guangzhou area. The small outlets have little to no organic food but the larger ones, for example the Grandview Mall branch, offer some certified organic vegetables, Kerchin brand organic beef, Alce Nero brand Italian pasta and noodles, organic eggs and RuiLiLai brand vacuum-packed dried beans, peas and rices.

PARKnSHOP (Grandview Mall branch)View In Map
Add: Grandview Mall, 228 Tian He Road, Tian He District
地址: 广州市天河区天河路228号
Tel: 020 3833 0019
Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00

6) Friendship Store
This chain of stores featuring imported products has a few organic things, including OVA label organic wine from Australia; organic flaxseed oil; the usual vacuum-packed dried food like barley, mung beans and short brown rice; flavoured noodles from Italy's Alce Nero brand; Loam Sun brand flours etc.

Guangzhou Friendship Store (Grandview Mall branch)View In Map
Add: South Gate of Grandview Mall, No. 228,Tian He Lu Road, Guangzhou, China 
地址: 广州市天河区天河路228号 南门
Tel: 020 3833 1868
Opening hours: 09:45-21:45

7) Trust-Mart
This Taiwanese chain is being taken over by WalMart, which does not operate any stores in the central areas of Guangzhou. However, this means Trust-Mart is carrying some WalMart branded organic dried legumes. They have clearly marked displays of organic pork in the butcher section, and even some organic tea in the higher quality tea section. They also carry clearly marked “pollution free” veggies, like tomatoes, at a premium price.

Trust-Mart (Longkou Branch)View In Map
Add: No. 1 Longkou Xi Lu, Tianhe.  Near the Gangding Metro station.
地址: 广州市天河区龙口西路1
Opening hours: 08:00-22:00

8) Organic Times
This small shop—they call it a showroom – in the office building on top of Ximenkou Metro Station's Exit D has a wide variety of goods, including food, organic pet care products and beauty supplies. South of the border, you may also check out their Hong Kong locations.

Organic TimesView In Map
Add: Unit 11C02-03, 11/F, Tower West, Neo-METROPOLIS 238 Zhong Shan 6 Road Yuexiu District
地址: 广州越秀区中山六238号越秀新都會大廈西座11C02-03室 有机时代
Tel: 020 8104 9698  
Opening hours: 09:00-18:00

9) Tesco
The English retail giant's Ximenkou branch carries a few organic dried goods like sunflower seeds, brown rice, beans and peas.

Tesco (Zhong Liu Branch)View In Map
Add: 285-287 Zhongshan 6 Road, Yuexiu District. (Use Ximenkou Metro Station's Exit B)
地址: 广州市越秀区中山六路285-287号地下1至地上4层 
Tel: 020 2289 7088
Opening hours: 08:00-23:00

As you can see, “Guangzhouers” aiming for an organic diet will find it difficult but not impossible to fill their shopping trolleys. The prices for organic foods are higher than for non-organic foods, but seldom so high as to be cost-prohibitive. Shoppers who don't mind traveling to different outlets to get their goods will have the best luck. However, while it seemed easy to find organic pasta, especially from the Italian Alce Nero brand, eating organically grown rice was harder to find. People who want to eat a diet of Asian food may have a harder time getting all the right ingredients. However, everyone who actively goes out to find organic food should be able to at least make a step towards an organic diet. Bon appétit! 

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Keywords: where to buy organic Guangzhou Organic food Guangzhou organic shopping Guangzhou organic products Guangzhou


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