Booming 'Single Economy' fires up self-heating hot pot meals
By Chen Tong

The so-called 'Singles Economy' is booming in China. The large unmarried population has pushed the sales of many new business ideas in the country, and the pandemic this year fired up demand for self-heating foods.

Eat up, anytime and anywhere – the idea has caught on this year. China's chain hot pot restaurants have come up with self-heating hot pot can conveniently make at home. The mini-meal come full of meat and vegetables and only need some water poured in to get themselves boiling.

Famous hot pot restaurants in China, such as Haidilao, Xiaolongkan, and Xiaofeiyang, have now launched their self-heating mini-meals. Meanwhile, Haidilao completed its production line for the little pots in March, and since then, production has had to be increased from 20,000 a day to 130,000 a day to keep up with demand, said Haidilao in an interview with Beijing Business Today.



"Most consumers are the young who born in after 1995 – the so-called Generation Z (. Self-heating products are quite popular on social media, and you can see a lot of promotions for them in dramas and on live streams, and plenty of consumers are willing to give them a try," said Sun Qi, comprehensive services director of Bianlifeng, a convenience store chain in China.

"And what is interesting is that these consumers don't buy just one bowl – they will buy two or more to compare the tastes of the different brands," said Sun.

A report conducted by consulting firms Kantar Worldpanel and Bain & Company illustrated to what extent the pandemic pushed people to stock up on food, especially packaged food – sales jumped by more than 7 percent in the first nine months of the year.

"The rises of these products are really catering to the growing needs of those consumers because those consumers want to enjoy their lives without going to a restaurant with a large group of people but consume these products any time anywhere," said Jason Yu, managing director of Kantar Worldpanel, a company dealing in consumer knowledge and insights. "With more and more brands coming to the market. There is going to be more competition."

"So innovation is really the key to make sure any brand that is getting to the sector will actually stay ahead of the competition," he added.