Insight - Strong partnership ensures beef supply to China during COVID-19

A strong and trusted partnership between a Wuhan-based distributor of Australian beef and their Australian supplier ensured shipments continued during the worst of the pandemic crisis.

ANZJoy International, a major distributor of Australian beef in Wuhan, started their relationship with the Penfold family from Queensland’s Meandarra region over a coffee at Beef Australia in 2018.

Within a year of that initial conversation, the first container of Four Daughters premium grain-fed Angus beef arrived in Shanghai in July 2019, and the company quickly built a solid reputation and strong sales growth.

Then, on 23 January, the Chinese Government locked down Wuhan in response to the Coronavirus. This obviously had a huge impact, with restaurant and hotel closures, broken supply chains and significant port congestion.

ANZJoy decided to absorb potential losses, shifting from food service to supermarkets, retail outlets and ecommerce channels. Around A$600,000 worth of stock was held up in transit in Shanghai.

“When faced with unprecedented adversity, we look to our humanity, we look to collaboration and support. These are the ingredients to a successful partnership and overcoming the difficulties,” said Frank Zhang, General Manager of ANZJoy International.

The Penfold family and ANZJoy decided to stagger shipments to allow time to work with authorities to clear containers, and therefore maintaining supply.

Karen Penfold, owner of Four Daughters, said that Australian supply chains had seen significant pressure due to the recent drought and were disrupted even further due to the pandemic.

“In these times, relationships are tested but working together with ANZJoy has allowed us to establish a high quality branded beef program amongst it all, and now we are facing a global pandemic along with high cattle and feed prices in Australia”.

“We are together working on solutions that may well revolutionise how we do business long after Covid-19 has past. The relationship between our family and supply chain partners has helped ensure consistency and ANJoy will remain the platform for the ongoing success of Four Daughters brand in China,” she said.

ANZJoy also assisted Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) who donated two tons of beef to eight Wuhan hospitals in February.

On 8 April, seventy-six days after the city Wuhan was effectively closed, the restrictions were lifted. The partnership has endured and is set to become even stronger as China recovers and demand increases for high quality protein.

ANZJoy

From left to right, General Manager Frank and Financial Director Lisa of ANZJoy, Austrade Wuhan Post Business Development Manager Marina Zhang and Four Daughters Brand Owner from Penfold Family Karen, Dan and their daughter Bonnie, at the Wuhan Liangzhilong International Foodstuff E-commerce Expo in March 2019, the initial launch of brand “Four Daughters” Australian beef cut in China market.