Chinese consumers continue to value health, authenticity and heritage in food products amid COVID-19, says GlobalData

COVID-19 has largely reshaped the consumer lifestyles along with consumer purchase decisions across China. The demand for local, healthy and authentic food and drinks is seen at its peak in the country. Therefore, it is necessary for brands to make certain adjustments in their portfolio and follow the growing business trends.

Sumit Chopra, Consumer Research Director at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, highlights the key trends that are going to impact the production, marketing and sales of food and beverages in China amid these Covid-19 times.

Authenticity and Heritage

GlobalData’s COVID-19 Week 7 (May 5-10) survey reveals that 83% find local products to be trustworthy. The results imply that Chinese preference for local products over imported ones is due to the short supply chain. The erosion of consumer trust and concerns over food safety, desire for higher quality consumption experiences, and preference for familiar, recognizable and heritage-oriented products has encouraged brands to promote product authenticity and command a premium in food.

Brands have taken inspiration from traditional, local meals and ingredients to provide a recognizable and familiar offering as well as support authenticity cues with upscale packaging and focus on Chinese heritage to promote premium positioning and price point. Some of the prime examples to look at include Synear Shanghai Fengwei Daxian Huntun, Huaban Shajing Oyster Pastry and Baichen Bird’s Nest Cookies.

Wellbeing

With food playing such a central role in personal health, consumers are increasingly turning to food to enhance wellness and achieve health goals. The strong link between food and wellness creates opportunities for the brands to leverage elements used in traditional Chinese medicine to create functional and fortified formulations in order resonate well with health-conscious consumers.

GlobalData’s COVID-19 Week 7 (May 5-10) survey suggests that 61% of Chinese are always/often influenced by how product impacts their health and wellbeing. Reportedly, more than 40% of Chinese are buying vitamins supplements more than before. Brands need to take a note of how consumers are turning to wellness products and target emotional wellness through ingredients that are naturally rich in specific vitamins and minerals to convey health credentials with familiar and trusted elements.

For instance, Weileni Hougu Bopian made from monkey mushroom, Bella Pupa Silkworm snack made from silkworm powder and Xuelici Dolce Collagen Peptide Marshmallow associated with skincare benefits are some of the classic examples in the wellness space.

Personalization

GlobalData’s COVID-19 Week 7 (May 05-10) survey highlights that 60% Chinese are always/often influenced by how well the product is tailored to their needs and personality. In the current scenario, brands can consider adding additional diet-specific extensions within the core product portfolio that can enhance the range of appeal to evolved consumer needs.

For instance, Suka Nutritional Biscuit positioned as a slimming biscuit, ‘Three Squirrels Daily Nuts’ for mothers to protect the health of both mother and babies, and ‘Torto Quinoa Flakes’ positioned as a snack for all occasions by simply adding hot water, are some of the prime examples to look at.

What’s Next?

COVID-19 is changing everything about food. With hygiene and cleanliness being the primary area of concern, people will be more conscious about the food they eat. A strong shift is indicated towards vegan, organic and functional food and the world will continue to see a transition from industrial animal production for consumption to more sustainable, animal-welfare forms of agriculture. We will see more reliance on technology to connect farmers and suppliers with market and enable quick and accurate responses in case of demand alterations. Sustainability of food system trend will continue and intensify.

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