Chinese consumption changes as rising needs of novelty and healthy food
Updated 21:44, 06-Sep-2019
Global Business

Consumer behavior changes are silently drifting in China, the world’s largest food market. The trend is turning to a more creative side like having cream cheese topping on tea. Christina Zhu, the president of Fonterra Great China, noted China’s consumer market is vibrant thanks to consumer’s openness to new ideas.

Fonterra is a world-leading dairy company from New Zealand and also the parent company of Anchor-dairy, provider of China’s popular milk tea brand Heytea. The combination of tea and cream cheese raged around the Chinese market because Chinese people are very experimental and female consumers drive consumption, Zhu said.

“Chinese consumers are most open to new ideas, new flavors, and new looks,” Zhu noted.

The rising of e-commerce also brings more choices to Chinese consumers. Ninety percent of young consumers are shopping online and offline. Zhu said Chinese consumers are probably the most pampered in the world.

“You see the competition here, the Chinese, the American and all international companies, they try so hard to delight Chinese consumers with innovation for looks, but convenience as well,” Zhu noted.

According to Kantar TNS, a market research consulting company, 74 percent of Chinese people are paying increasing attention to high quality food. The top three factors when choosing a diet are “health,” “diversity,” and “balance.” Fonterra’s strategy highly meets up with China’s market, as Zhu said the company is testing market with systematic and institutional innovation.

“Anything in China that you want to sell, it has to taste good. They want health or what they perceive as healthy as well. They obviously want safe products. That’s a given,” she said. “We turn out things all the time, we test on the market immediately and we see which works. We get a better sense of which ones will work better. We put ratios behind it. And make it bigger, and then we commercialize it on a massive scale. And that's how we do it.”

Branding and innovation are what matters the most in China’s market nowadays. China has been affected by the international catering industry and requires a bigger supply to satisfy the pent up demand. Zhu said the company actually has a multi-track growth in China since the performance is related to how well the company innovates and continues.

(CGTN’s Cheng Lei also contributes to this story.)