China more careful in choosing their confectionery consumption
Rising living standards, burgeoning incomes and changing consumer demographics have spurred the demand for quality products across consumer market segments including confectionery products in China.
Globally, the confectionery markets appear to have been most affected by the economic recession as well as a concurrent trend of health consciousness. With alarming statistics of diabetes patients in various Asian countries, consumers are cautious of the ingredients, more specifically of the calories they tend to consume on a daily basis. China is also no exception to this as it comprises of the second highest population of diabetic patients in the world.
“The country is plagued by the phenomenon called ‘little emperor’ where a single child is pampered by parents as well as both set of grand parents with all kinds of confectionery products as well as savory snacks. This has lead to increased incidence of obesity as well as tooth decay among children resulting in a demand for healthy snacking options,” says Varun Kumar, Datamonitor Senior Analyst and co-author of the report, Product Insights: Confectionery in China.
Manufacturers such as Beijing April Gourmet Co. and Shanghai Xinhuazhuang Foods have taken cognizance of this fact and introduced products with claims such as ‘no artificial flavor’ and ‘added calcium’.
Datamonitor’s recent report ‘Product Insights: Confectionery in China’ states that in the global confectionery market, China ranks 6th in terms of total new products launched in 2009. This reflects the remarkable significance of this geography for global confectionery manufacturers. Both domestic and international manufacturers consider the confectionery market in China to be lucrative and potentially high-reward. The mature nature of the confectionery markets in Western countries is encouraging international manufacturers to look at growth markets such as China. Another fact that tends to appeal manufacturers is the burgeoning Chinese middle class which has ensured enough market potential for the confectionery companies.
Chinese customers are becoming more selective and are actively seeking quality products. This trend is expected to drive the number of new product launches from companies which emphasize quality rather than price.
“Compared to other Asia Pacific countries like Australia, Japan and Taiwan, chocolate consumption per capita in China is among the lowest; this low penetration of confectionery products coupled with a rise in per capita income of Chinese consumers provides an opportunity for manufacturers to tap into the high potential of the market”, says Varun Kumar, Datamonitor Senior Analyst and author of the report.
Traditionally, confectionery products, especially sugar confectionery have represented a preferred gift item which is presented at weddings, birthdays and New Year’s celebrations. For instance, hard peanut candy and sesame candy are customarily exchanged between families and guests during weddings as a way to express appreciation for attending the wedding. At traditional Chinese weddings, candies are often wrapped in red and decorated with a golden symbol of ‘double happiness’. “Chocolates are gradually replacing sugar confectionery in this context and, in order to tap into this trend, market participants are launching chocolates packaged in auspicious colors of red and yellow” concludes Kumar.
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