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Consumer Eating Habits - China - July 2013

“The rapid and significant changes in the way Chinese consumers buy and eat food are creating new opportunities to develop new and innovative products to suit diversifying lifestyle needs. But Chinese consumers continue to be concerned about food safety, and are increasingly demanding better information about food product health and nutritional benefits.”

– Matthew Crabbe, Director of Research, Asia-Pacific

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How are Chinese shopping habits changing?
  • Can modern supermarkets and traditional wet markets co-exist?
  • How important is healthy eating to Chinese consumers' shopping and dining habits?
  • Are Chinese consumers becoming more adventurous in their eating habits?


Report Introduction:

Rapid economic growth and rising incomes have led to significant changes in consumers’ lifestyles, and the way Chinese people buy and eat food. This has brought with it great potential for food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice providers to develop new and innovative products to meet the greatly diversifying needs and tastes of Chinese consumers, who continue to be receptive to new food products and concepts.

Achieving success selling such new food products and services to Chinese consumers increasingly means reassuring them on the issues of food safety, while providing them with more information about achieving a healthy and balanced diet. Communicating the health and nutritional benefits of food products requires taking a more diverse approach, using both traditional and new media channels, and engaging with consumers directly through in-store promotions and cooking demonstrations.

There are also opportunities to develop a wider variety of food products and services to suit the increasing variation in people’s lifestyles, providing convenience to those with busy working lives, value-added products to those with high expectations, and quality at an affordable price to those on lower incomes, particularly in developing markets in lower tier cities.

 

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Methodology
          • Abbreviations
          • Executive Summary

              • Changes in Chinese diets and food shopping habits
                • Figure 1: Growth of urban and rural per capita volume food consumption by type, 2000-11
              • The consumer
                  • Figure 2: Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                • Key trends
                  • Traditional and modern food retail continue to compete
                    • Figure 3: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, May 2013
                  • Home prepared food increasingly important depending on occasion
                    • Figure 4: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, May 2013
                  • Consumers becoming more inclined to experiment when cooking
                    • Figure 5: Changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                  • Healthy eating driving food choices
                    • Figure 6: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                  • What we think
                  • Changes in Chinese Diets and Food Shopping Habits

                    • Key points
                      • Consumers trying a wealth of new products
                          • Figure 7: Urban and rural per capita volume food consumption by type, 2000-11
                        • Significant changes in diet over the last decade
                          • Figure 8: Growth of urban and rural per capita volume food consumption by type, 2000-11
                        • Rapid growth in retail food spending
                          • Figure 9: Per capita retail spending on food by sector, 2008-13
                        • A steady stream of new products has undermined loyalty…
                          • … but has also opened new opportunities for suppliers
                            • Figure 10: Growth in per capita retail spending on food by sector, 2008-13
                          • Increased wages allow consumers to experiment with more expensive products
                            • Figure 11: Per capita retail food spending as a proportion of average urban wages, 2008-13
                          • Growth in prices and spending by sector
                            • Figure 12: Average price per volume unit of retail food products by sector, 2008-13
                          • The link between food scares and import costs
                            • Figure 13: Growth in average price per volume unit of retail food products by sector, 2008-13
                          • The rise in spending on eating out
                            • Figure 14: Full-service and fast-food restaurant revenues and outlets in China, 2008-13
                          • New Chinese cuisines
                            • Figure 15: Types of domestic Chinese cuisine eaten at a full service restaurant in the past 12 months, August 2012
                          • Foreign food invasion and overseas travel influence
                            • Figure 16: Types of foreign cuisine eaten at a full service restaurant in the past 12 months, August 2012
                          • Foreign travel has exposed the Chinese middle class to new flavours
                            • Fusion food
                            • The Impact of Grocery Retail Chains

                              • Key points
                                • The significance of modern organised grocery retailing
                                  • Expansion has paused as leading firms invest in infrastructure
                                    • Figure 17: Supermarkets’ and hypermarkets’ retail market significance, 2007-12
                                  • Convenience stores competing as foodservice outlets
                                    • 7-Eleven’s City Café sub-brand shows the importance of driving footfall
                                        • Figure 18: Convenience store outlets and retail sales, 2008-12
                                      • The growth of online retail
                                        • Figure 19: China e-commerce market value split by C2C and B2C, 2007-12
                                        • Figure 20: Total B2C online retail market breakdown, by broad product sectors by value, 2010-12
                                      • The proportion of consumers buying food online has doubled in a year
                                        • Figure 21: Percentage of online shoppers who have made purchases, by sector, 2010 and 2011
                                    • Food Safety and Health Concerns

                                      • Key points
                                        • Food safety is a major issue for brands, retailers and consumers
                                          • Online media mean that news of scandals can spread rapidly
                                            • The drive to increase exports will lead to improvements in food safety
                                              • Safety scandals more of a problem in domestic markets
                                                • A resurgence in vegetarian food
                                                  • Figure 22: Types of cuisine eaten at a full service restaurant in the past 12 months, by repertoire of cuisine types, August 2012
                                                  • Figure 23: Attitudes towards full service restaurants, August 2012
                                                • Health is a key driver behind the adoption of vegetarianism
                                                  • Figure 24: Household diet, by demographics, March 2012
                                                • The desire for organic food and the rise of the “urban farmer”
                                                  • Retailers respond to consumer demand for organic and health foods
                                                    • Health and waste concerns over full-service restaurants
                                                    • The Consumer

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Where Chinese consumers buy food most often
                                                          • The continuing appeal of the wet market
                                                            • Grocery chains can capitalise on the appeal of wet markets
                                                                • Figure 25: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, May 2013
                                                              • Changes in meals prepared at home or out of home
                                                                • A move towards preparing breakfast and dinner at home
                                                                    • Figure 26: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, May 2013
                                                                  • Changes in cooking methods
                                                                    • Consumers demonstrate a more cosmopolitan approach to eating
                                                                        • Figure 27: Changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                      • Changes in eating habits
                                                                        • Chinese consumers are looking for healthier eating options
                                                                            • Figure 28: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                          • Attitudes towards purchasing food
                                                                            • 64% worry about the level of food safety
                                                                              • Retailers and manufacturers need to improve communication with customers
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                • Attitudes towards eating food
                                                                                  • Eating is a social event for Chinese consumers
                                                                                    • Food and packaging waste is a concern for two fifths of respondents
                                                                                      • Nutritional information significant for consumer food choice
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                      • Key Issues in the Market – Traditional and Modern Food Retail Continue to Compete

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Wet markets continue to compete with modern grocery retailers
                                                                                            • Price, accountability and freshness: key selling points for wet markets
                                                                                              • Half of respondents eat at a restaurant at least once a week
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Frequency of food buying, by type of outlet, May 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Frequency of food buying, by type of outlet, May 2013
                                                                                              • Convenience paramount for younger, more affluent respondents
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Frequency of foodservice food buying two to three times a week or more, by type of outlet, by Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, May 2013
                                                                                              • Food shopping habits vary by age group
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by gender and age group, May 2013
                                                                                              • Income level more significant for eating out than food shopping
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by monthly household income group, May 2013
                                                                                              • Married-with-kids consumers are more frequent food buyers
                                                                                                • Convenience is tempting consumers away from traditional ways of shopping
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by marital status and children in home, May 2013
                                                                                                • Differing food buying patterns seen in lower tier cities
                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by city tier, May 2013
                                                                                                • What it means
                                                                                                • Key Issues in the Market – Home Prepared Food Increasingly Important Depending on Occasion

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Breakfast and dinner see more home cooking
                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, May 2013
                                                                                                    • Breakfast and dinner see more home cooking
                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Changes in preparing, eating and buying breakfast, by changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Changes in preparing, eating and buying dinner, by attitudes towards cooking, May 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Changes in preparing, eating and buying lunch, by attitudes towards cooking, May 2013
                                                                                                    • Fast food chains need to continue to broaden breakfast menus
                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Food outlets used at least three times a week, by changes in preparing, eating and buying breakfast and dinner, May 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Time of day of eating or having takeaway at fast food restaurants, March 2012
                                                                                                    • Demographic differences in eating out and home cooking
                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by gender and age group, May 2013
                                                                                                    • Affluence allows consumers to take the easy option
                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by monthly household income group, May 2013
                                                                                                    • Married with kids couples home cooking more, eating out less
                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by marital status and children in home, May 2013
                                                                                                    • Differences in cooking and eating out by city tier
                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by city tier, May 2013
                                                                                                    • What it means
                                                                                                    • Key Issues in the Market – Consumers Becoming More Inclined to Experiment When Cooking

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • The majority of consumers enjoy cooking at home
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                                                          • Changes in what consumers enjoy cooking at home
                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                            • Demographic differences in what consumers enjoy cooking at home
                                                                                                              • Combining cooking and socialising
                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by gender and age group, May 2013
                                                                                                                • Higher earners are looking to broaden their culinary knowledge
                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by gender and age group, May 2013
                                                                                                                  • Health benefits are key to consumers who have kids
                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by marital status and children in home, May 2013
                                                                                                                    • Education leads to culinary curiosity
                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by level of education, May 2013
                                                                                                                      • City tier differences in what consumers enjoy cooking at home
                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by city tier, May 2013
                                                                                                                      • What it means
                                                                                                                      • Key Issues in the Market – Healthy Eating Driving Food Choices

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Consumers are choosing healthier eating habits
                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months (first three purchasing concerns), by Consumer attitudes to food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                          • Healthy eaters also tend to be open to new ingredients
                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months (second three purchasing concerns), by Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Health conscious consumers sensitive to product marketing
                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Healthy eating by demographic groups
                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by gender and age group, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Consumers “trade up” to healthier foods
                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by monthly household income group, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Healthy eating by level of education
                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by level of education, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Healthy eating higher among married couples with children
                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by marital status and children in home, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Healthy eating common across city tiers
                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by city tier, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • What it means
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Where Consumers Buy Food

                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Most popular frequency of food buying at supermarkets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Next most popular frequency of food buying at supermarkets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Most popular frequency of food buying at hypermarkets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Next most popular frequency of food buying at hypermarkets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Most popular frequency of food buying at convenience stores, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Next most popular frequency of food buying at convenience stores, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Most popular frequency of food buying from vending machines, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Next most popular frequency of food buying from vending machines, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Most popular frequency of food buying at wet markets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Next most popular frequency of food buying at wet markets, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Most popular frequency of food buying from cafés/tea houses, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Next most popular frequency of food buying from cafés/tea houses, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Most popular frequency of food buying at restaurants, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Next most popular frequency of food buying at restaurants, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Most popular frequency of food buying for home delivery or take-away, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Next most popular frequency of food buying for home delivery or take-away, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Most popular frequency of food buying from online food retailers, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Next most popular frequency of food buying from online food retailers, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in prepared breakfast at home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in eaten breakfast out of home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in bought take-away, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in prepared lunch at home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in eating lunch out of home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in bought take-away lunch, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 90: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in prepared dinner at home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in eaten dinner out of home, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 92: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in bought take-away dinner, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 93: Frequency of food buying by type of outlet, by changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 94: Frequency of food buying by most popular type of outlet, by consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 95: Frequency of food buying by next most popular type of outlet, by consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Changes in Meals Prepared at Home or Out of Home

                                                                                                                                • Figure 96: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 97: Changes in prepared breakfast at home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 98: Changes in eaten breakfast out of home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 99: Changes in bought take-away breakfast, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 100: Changes in prepared lunch at home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 101: Changes in eaten lunch out of home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 102: Changes in bought take-away lunch, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 103: Changes in prepared dinner at home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 104: Changes in eaten dinner out of home, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 105: Changes in bought take-away dinner, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 106: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 107: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by most popular changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 108: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by next most popular changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 109: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by most popular consumer attitudes to food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 110: Changes in preparing, eating and buying meals, by next most popular consumer attitudes to food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Changes in Cooking Methods

                                                                                                                                • Figure 111: Changes in consumer cooking methods, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 112: Most popular changes in consumer cooking methods, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 113: Next most popular changes in consumer cooking methods, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 114: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by most popular changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 115: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by next most popular changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 116: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by most popular consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 117: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by next most popular consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 118: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 119: Changes in consumer cooking methods, by next most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Changes in Eating Habits

                                                                                                                                • Figure 120: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 121: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by most popular consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 122: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by next most popular consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 123: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 124: Changes in consumer eating habits in the past 12 months, by next most popular consumer attitudes to food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Purchasing Food

                                                                                                                                • Figure 125: Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 126: Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, by most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 127: Consumer attitudes towards food purchasing, by next most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Eating Food

                                                                                                                                • Figure 128: Consumer attitudes towards food consumption, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 129: Most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 130: Next most popular consumer attitudes towards food consumption, by demographics, May 2013
                                                                                                                                • Figure 131: Other consumer attitudes towards food consumption, by demographics, May 2013

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                                                                                                                            Consumer Eating Habits - China - July 2013

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