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Ice Cream - China - June 2017

“The challenges from non-retail channels urge ice cream manufacturers to bring more excitement, by emphasising naturalness and authenticity. In the meantime, consumers are still looking for indulgence, which should not be compromised. There is scope for ice cream as a mood food with a premium price, to sooth the stressful lives of the young generation.”
– Cheryl Ni, Research Analyst: Food & Drink

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • Revival of nostalgic brands
  • Fruit-based products as mood food for young males
  • Tap into family occasion with more indulgent and safer products

The ice cream category in China has maintained an upward trend in retail market value, despite the decrease of volume consumption. Consumers opt for products using ingredients of better quality or delivering a more indulgent experience. Due to the changing dynamics of consumption occasion, family packs (both large tubs and assorted multipacks) will see further scope in the future.

The usage of natural ingredients will enhance brands’ image to win picky consumers’ hearts. Brands need to keep an eye on certain demographic groups (eg young males) to understand their particular unmet needs, as they might increase consumption volume and value once the category brings more excitement to them.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
        • Figure 1: Examples of products included in each segment, China, 2017
      • Definition
        • Figure 2: Mintel’s definition of different income groups, China
    • Executive Summary

        • The market
          • Trading up driving further retail value growth in spite of volume decline
            • Figure 3: Retail market value and volume of packaged ice cream, China, 2013-17
            • Figure 4: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail ice cream market, by value, China, 2012-22
          • Family occasions suggesting scope for sharing packs
            • Retail market facing challenge from on-trade channels
              • Key players
                • Regional brands seeking expansion nationwide
                  • Figure 5: Leading companies’ share of retail ice cream market, China, 2015 and 2016
                • Ingredients of high quality with a natural note appealing to consumers
                  • The consumer
                    • Less consumption but more diverse occasions
                      • Figure 6: Ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, China, March 2017
                      • Figure 7: Change of occasion of packaged ice cream consumption, China, 2015-17
                    • Thriving non-retail channels urge upgrade of retail products
                      • Figure 8: Purchasing channels of ice cream in the last 12 months, China, March 2017
                    • Better-for-you options as more popular premium features
                      • Figure 9: Premium features of ice cream, China, March 2017
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Revival of nostalgic brands
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Figure 10: Price of Zhongjie’s regular products and Zhongjie 1946’s products, China, 2013 and 2016
                            • Figure 11: Dongbeidaban’s old-fashioned packaging, China, 2016
                            • Figure 12: Nostalgic ice cream product using glass packaging, China, 2017
                          • Fruit-based products as mood food for young males
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Figure 13: Fruit-flavoured product claiming to use high pressure processed technology, Taiwan, 2016
                              • Tap into family occasion with more indulgent and safer products
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 14: All-natural product targeting family consumption, UK, 2017
                                    • Figure 15: Products with fortified nutrition, targeting kids, Spain, 2016
                                    • Figure 16: Multipack with assorted flavours, US and Japan, 2016-17
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Declining consumption bringing down retail volume
                                    • Retail market facing challenge from on-trade channels
                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                      • Declining volume consumption due to health-consciousness
                                        • Figure 17: Retail market value and volume of packaged ice cream, china, 2013-17
                                      • Premiumisation driving growth of market value
                                        • Figure 18: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail ice cream market, by value, China, 2012-22
                                        • Figure 19: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail ice cream market, by volume, China, 2012-22
                                    • Market Segmentation

                                      • Tub/cup pack and multipack driven by family consumption
                                        • Figure 20: Häagen-Dazs’ commercial picturing a girl enjoying a spoonful of tub pack ice cream, China, 2016
                                        • Figure 21: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail tub/cup segment, by value, China, 2012-22
                                        • Figure 22: Zhongjie 1946’s 18 pieces combo featuring eight flavours, China, 2017
                                        • Figure 23: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail multipacks segment, by value, China, 2012-22
                                        • Figure 24: Multipack of Baxy ice cream tubs with different flavours, China, 2017
                                      • Premiumisation of individually wrapped products
                                        • Figure 25: Volume share of segments, China, 2016
                                        • Figure 26: Individually wrapped premium products in carton box, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan, 2016
                                        • Figure 27: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail individually wrapped segment, by value, China, 2012-22
                                    • Market Factors

                                      • Lack of exciting launches, challenge from chilled dessert
                                        • Figure 28: Country share of ice cream new launches, China, US, Japan, Brazil, UK and India, 2014-16
                                        • Figure 29: Proportion of new launches in chilled dessert and ice cream, China, 2012-17
                                      • Change of lifestyle facilitating the growth of on-trade sales
                                        • Figure 30: Zhongjie 1946’s stores in Shanghai, applying different design styles, China, 2016
                                      • A few countries increasingly exporting ice cream to China
                                        • Figure 31: Import volume of ice cream, by country, 2015 and 2016
                                        • Figure 32: Various types of imported ice cream products from Russia on e-commercial platform, China, 2017
                                        • Figure 33: Mengniu’s Russian-style ice cream, China, 2017
                                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                      • Top players fighting for maintaining edge
                                        • Ingredients of high quality with a natural note appealing to consumers
                                          • Indulgent variants urging more sophisticated approach in R&D
                                          • Market Share

                                            • Top two local players facing great challenge from foreign competitors
                                              • Figure 34: Leading companies’ share of retail ice cream market, China, 2015 and 2016
                                            • Historical brands in the North seeking expansion
                                              • Foreign brands increasing investment in China
                                                • Regional dairy enterprises stepping in
                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                  • More yogurt-flavoured product innovation to borrow yogurt fans
                                                    • Figure 35: Proportion of yogurt-flavoured products in ice cream and some snack categories, China, 2014-16
                                                    • Figure 36: Yogurt ice cream with detailed information on its manufacturing process, China, 2016
                                                    • Figure 37: Mengniu’s yogurt-flavoured ice cream products under the same brand, China, 2014 and 2016
                                                    • Figure 38: McDonald’s promotion on its yogurt-flavoured cone, China, 2016
                                                  • Be specific about milk source to win quality seekers
                                                    • Figure 39: Proportion of milk content usage in new launches of ice cream, China, 2012-16
                                                    • Figure 40: Products with detailed information on the content of raw milk, China, 2016
                                                  • Less artificial colouring but no compromise on rich experience
                                                    • Figure 41: Proportion of food additives and colourings usage in new launches, China, 2012-16
                                                    • Figure 42: Products using beneficial emulsifier or no emulsifier, Japan and Denmark, 2016-17
                                                    • Figure 43: Products using natural colours, China and South Korea, 2016-17
                                                  • Lowering sugar content and using natural sweetener
                                                    • Figure 44: Average sugar content of select categories, China, US, UK, Brazil and Japan, 2014-16
                                                    • Figure 45: Products using natural ingredients as source of sweetness, US and Peru, 2016-17
                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                  • Multi-layered experience delivered through melting texture
                                                    • Figure 46: Texture of ice cream new launches, China and Japan, 2016
                                                    • Figure 47: Products claiming to have melting ingredients inside, Japan and France, 2016
                                                  • Visual appeal – To enhance fruit-flavoured products
                                                    • Figure 48: Proportion of new ice cream launches of select fruit flavours, global vs China, 2014-16
                                                    • Figure 49: Durian ice cream emphasising the usage of Musang King durian, which is known for its high quality, China, 2017
                                                    • Figure 50: Products using fruit image instead of ice cream itself, South Africa, Poland and France, 2016
                                                    • Figure 51: Sherbet in real fruits in Shenzhen, China, 2016
                                                    • Figure 52: Product using transparent packaging, China, US and UK, 2016-17
                                                  • Adult-oriented offering to add sophistication
                                                    • Alcohol flavour
                                                      • Figure 53: Proportion of alcohol-flavoured ice cream among new launches, China, US, UK and Japan, 2014-16
                                                      • Figure 54: Alcohol-flavoured ice cream and popsicles, China and UK, 2016-17
                                                    • Coffee flavour
                                                      • Figure 55: Coffee-flavoured ice cream with attractive features, UK, US and Czech Republic, 2014-17
                                                    • Detox
                                                      • Figure 56: Products with detoxing claims, Brazil and US, 2015-16
                                                    • Customisation as in-store charm
                                                      • Figure 57: Cho Collector’s ice cream menu, China, 2017
                                                      • Figure 58: Bistopping in Seoul, featuring visually appealing cones, South Korea, 2015
                                                      • Figure 59: Uji matcha’s ice cream menu, China, 2016
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Declining consumption urging upgraded offering
                                                      • Lower price sensitivity towards ice cream for rewarding
                                                        • Trading up for better-for-you versions
                                                        • Ice Cream Consumption

                                                          • Drop of usage of almost all types of ice cream
                                                            • Figure 60: Change of ice cream consumption, by consumer classification, China, 2015-17
                                                            • Figure 61: Ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, China, March 2017
                                                          • Females in their thirties and forties losing interest in ice cream
                                                            • Figure 62: Ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, by type, China, March 2017
                                                            • Figure 63: Ice cream consumption ranking in the last 12 months, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                            • Figure 64: Types of ice cream consumed, China, March 2017
                                                          • More ice cream fans in Beijing
                                                            • Upgraded offering needed for those working in foreign enterprises
                                                            • Occasion of Consumption

                                                              • Non-packaged ice cream with social function
                                                                • Figure 65: Occasion of ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, China, March 2017
                                                              • Ice cream becoming more a snack and dessert at home
                                                                • Figure 66: Change of occasion of packaged ice cream consumption, China, 2015-17
                                                                • Figure 67: Ice cream bites, Japan, 2017
                                                              • Packaged ice cream as mood food for young males
                                                                • Figure 68: Ranking of different occasions of packaged ice cream, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                                • Figure 69: Ice Cream Clinic, china, 2017
                                                              • Ice cream in snack format appealing to consumers in tier one cities
                                                              • Purchasing Channel

                                                                • Non-retail channel’s growth explaining the decline of retail consumption
                                                                  • Figure 70: Purchasing channels of ice cream in the last 12 months, China, March 2017
                                                                • Significant growth of online channels
                                                                  • Figure 71: Change of select purchasing channels of ice cream, China, 2012-17
                                                                • Non-soft-serve types in fast food channels to attract young males
                                                                  • Figure 72: Ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                                • Young females favouring dessert shop and convenience store
                                                                  • Figure 73: Select purchasing channels of ice cream, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 74: Family Mart’s soft-serve ice cream, China, 2017
                                                                • Different preference on channels among tier one cities
                                                                  • Figure 75: Select purchasing channels of ice cream, by city, China, March 2017
                                                              • Price Sensitivity

                                                                • Ice cream as mood food deserving higher price
                                                                  • Figure 76: Highest price one would like to pay for ice cream (weighted average), by occasion/need, China, March 2017
                                                                • Females aged 20-24’s polarised attitudes towards different occasions
                                                                  • Figure 77: Proportion of consumers who prefer to pay less than ¥5 in select occasions, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 78: Proportion of consumers who prefer to pay more than ¥20 in select occasions, by gender and age, China, March 2017
                                                                • Consumers in Shanghai paying for rewarding themselves
                                                                  • Figure 79: Highest price one would like to pay for ice cream (weighted average price) in select occasions, by city, China, March 2017
                                                              • Premium Features

                                                                • Better-for-you options as most popular features
                                                                  • Figure 80: Premium features of ice cream, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 81: Gelato brand claiming to use only pure milk and 35% of single cream, containing no trans-fat, with only half of the fat content of regular ice cream, China, 2017
                                                                  • Figure 82: Products with slow-melting claim, Russia and Denmark, 2016-17
                                                                • Enhanced sensorial experience to be embraced by young consumers
                                                                  • Figure 83: Select premium features of ice cream, by age, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 84: Chocolate-filled cone, Japan, 2016
                                                                • Opting for healthy version but no compromise on enjoyment
                                                                  • Figure 85: Select premium features of ice cream, by city, China, March 2017
                                                                • Preference of lovers of different types of ice cream
                                                                  • Figure 86: Cremia ice cream from KFC, claiming to have 12.5% of milk fat, China, 2016
                                                              • Interest in Niche Ice Cream Types

                                                                • Innovative ice cream types having their own fan groups
                                                                  • Figure 87: Interest in niche ice cream types, China, March 2017
                                                                • Scope for sorbet and sherbet among young males
                                                                  • Figure 88: Interest in select niche ice cream types, by gender and age, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 89: Products claiming to have real fruit juice or purée, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Japan, 2016
                                                                • Unique experience attracting consumers in Chengdu
                                                                  • Figure 90: Consumers’ ranking of select niche types of ice cream, by city, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 91: Products in dessert formats (cake, macaron and crepe), Germany, South Korea and Japan, 2016
                                                              • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                • MinTs more attached to ice cream
                                                                  • Figure 92: Ice cream consumption in the last 12 months, by consumer classification, China, March 2017
                                                                • Better in-store ambience appealing to MinTs
                                                                  • Figure 93: Select purchasing channels of ice cream in the last 12 months, by consumer classification, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 94: Select premium features of ice cream, by consumer classification, China, March 2017
                                                                  • Figure 95: Icefood’s poster in front of its store, China, 2017
                                                              • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                  • Figure 96: Value sales of China’s ice cream retail market, 2012-22
                                                                  • Figure 97: Volume sales of China’s ice cream retail market, 2012-22
                                                              • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                  • Figure 98: Value sales of China’s ice cream retail market, by segment, 2012-22
                                                                  • Figure 99: Volume sales of China’s ice cream retail market, by segment, 2012-22
                                                              • Appendix – Methodology, Definition, and Abbreviations

                                                                • Methodology
                                                                  • Fan chart forecast
                                                                    • Abbreviations

                                                                    Companies Covered

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                                                                    Ice Cream - China - June 2017

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