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Baby Nutrition - China - May 2019

Covered in this report

This report analyses parents’ attitudes towards baby nutrition, including how they plan, approach and consume related products, including infant milk formula, baby supplementary food and baby health supplements for babies/infants aged 0-3 years old.

Infant milk formula comprises packaged dry and liquid products designed specifically for babies/infants, including both baby formula (designed for babies up to 1 year old) and growing up milks (designed for babies/infants aged 1+).

Baby supplementary food comprises packaged dry and liquid products designed specifically for babies that can be eaten directly from the package or after being prepared (cooked, microwaved, mixed with water, mixed with meals), including cereals, noodles, purées, snacks, etc.

Baby health supplements refer to any dietary supplements or nutritional supplements such as minerals, vitamins, fish oil, etc intended for babies.

“Although facing a declining birth rate, the total baby nutrition market still maintains steady growth, mostly driven by a strong desire to trade up. Just as parents are sometimes struggling with contradictory opinions on baby feeding, their determination to continue learning and sharing relevant knowledge is also strong. Baby food products claiming fortified nutrition, on-the-go convenience or functional benefits such as serving training purposes are winning much interest. With insufficient nutrition intake concerning most parents, baby health supplements also pose great growth potential.”
– Cici Wu, Research Analyst

This report will cover the following areas:

  • Advocate gut health but avoid homogeneous competition
  • Assuming more active role in relieving parents’ bewilderment
  • More baby food categories can tap into on-the-go occasions

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Definitions
          • Figure 1: Mintel’s definition of different income groups, China
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Baby nutrition market maintains steady growth
              • Figure 2: Best- and worst-case forecast of total value sales of baby nutrition market, China, 2013-23
            • IMF dominates while other categories drive growth
              • Figure 3: Value share of baby nutrition segments, China, 2018
            • Companies and brands
              • Connect with home cooking parents
                • Technology advancements meet demand for better nutrition
                  • Testing kit and customised nutrition plan become reality
                    • The consumer
                      • Most concerned with digestion problems
                        • Figure 4: Concerns about feeding babies, December 2018
                      • Baby health supplements assuming more crucial role
                        • Figure 5: Penetration of baby nutrition products, December 2018
                      • Higher price-sensitivity towards baby supplementary food
                        • Figure 6: Price-sensitivity, by product category, December 2018
                      • Unsure about functions and necessities of baby health supplements
                        • Figure 7: Difficulties in buying baby health supplements, December 2018
                      • Multi-nutrition is of highest demand
                        • Figure 8: Expectation of new product, December 2018
                      • Struggling yet eager to learn
                        • Figure 9: Attitudes towards baby feeding, December 2018
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • Advocate gut health but avoid homogeneous competition
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                                • Figure 10: Example of how baby probiotics products are claiming formula distinctiveness
                                • Figure 11: Examples of baby food claiming digestive health, Global, 2018-19
                              • Assuming more active role in relieving parents’ bewilderment
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 12: Example of packaged baby cereals product labelling its necessity on its packaging, China, 2018
                                    • Figure 13: Examples of parenting programmes sponsored by baby nutrition brands, China
                                    • Figure 14: Danke Parenting’s paid membership programme ‘New Mom Curriculum’
                                  • More baby food categories can tap into on-the-go occasions
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Figure 15: Baby food claiming convenience on the go, Global, 2018
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Category continues marginal growth
                                        • Awaiting guidelines on baby health supplements
                                          • Prevalence of baby supplementary food with fortified nutrition
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Steady growth expected despite declining birth rate
                                              • Figure 16: Best- and worst-case forecast of total value sales of baby nutrition market, China, 2013-23
                                          • Market Factors

                                            • Baby health supplements calling for regulation
                                              • Synergy of mother and baby e-commerce and social community
                                                • Rising importance of digital media in educating young parents
                                                • Market Segmentation

                                                  • Dominance of infant milk formula
                                                    • Figure 17: Value share of baby nutrition segments, China, 2018
                                                  • Baby supplementary food claims more on fortified nutrition
                                                    • Figure 18: Claims of newly launched baby food (without IMF), China, 2016-18
                                                    • Figure 19: Claims of fortified nutrition among new launches of baby food (IMF excluded), Global, 2016-18
                                                  • Baby health supplements have big potential to grow in size
                                                    • Figure 20: Sales value and growth rate of baby nutrition, by segment, China, 2016-18
                                                • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Packaged baby food manufacturers are tapping into home cooking occasions
                                                    • Overseas baby food brands seek better nutrition retention rate through technology upgrade
                                                      • Technology companies try to provide personalised nutrition plan based on easy testing
                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                        • More brands are targeting gut health to take up extra revenue
                                                          • Figure 21: Examples of new providers of baby probiotics, China
                                                          • Figure 22: Percentage of newly launched baby food with prebiotics or probiotics claims, China, 2014-18
                                                          • Figure 23: Examples of baby food containing prebiotics or probiotics, China, 2018-19
                                                        • International brands of baby health supplements utilise e-commerce channel to grow business
                                                          • Figure 24: Top 10 items on e-commerce platforms* (based on value sales), China, 2018
                                                        • Targeting self-cooking moms
                                                          • Figure 25: Example of brand-sponsored baby food cooking programme
                                                        • Launch more organic products to meet demand for premiumisation
                                                          • Figure 26: New launches in baby food category (without IMF) with claim on organic, China, 2015-18
                                                          • Figure 27: Examples of baby food made of organic grains, Global, 2018
                                                      • Who’s Innovating?

                                                        • Freeze-dried and cold-pressed to preserve nutrition
                                                          • Figure 28: New launches of baby food with freeze-dried technology, Global, 2017-18
                                                          • Figure 29: New launches of baby food with cold-pressed technology, Global, 2017
                                                        • Formula ingredients used in other baby food
                                                            • Figure 30: Baby food products with fortified lactalbumin or lactoferrin, China
                                                          • Easy detection opens up opportunities for customised nutrition plan
                                                            • Figure 31: And All DNA test kit
                                                            • Figure 32: Biostime breast milk analysis kit
                                                          • Baby nutrition products with fun elements
                                                            • Figure 33: Examples of baby health supplements with fun elements, Global, 2017
                                                            • Figure 34: Examples of baby pastas with interesting shapes, Global, 2018
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • More concerned with insufficient nutrition intake
                                                            • Doubts in necessities and efficacies of baby health supplements
                                                              • Struggling baby feeders constitutes big proportion
                                                              • Problem with Feeding

                                                                • Digestion problems perplex two thirds of parents
                                                                  • Figure 35: Concerns about feeding babies, December 2018
                                                                • Poor immunity likely to occur at weaning stage
                                                                  • Figure 36: Concerns about feeding babies, by age of youngest child, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 37: ChildLife’s ‘troika’ with simple and clear massaging in its communications
                                                                • Picky eating deserves more attention at an early age
                                                                  • Figure 38: Concerns about feeding babies, by age of the youngest child, December 2018
                                                              • Category Penetration

                                                                • Baby health supplements are becoming essential
                                                                  • Figure 39: Penetration of baby nutrition products, December 2018
                                                                • Baby supplementary food could serve feeding training purpose
                                                                  • Figure 40: Penetration of baby supplementary food categories, by problems parents had with baby feeding, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 41: Examples of baby supplementary food that serve training purpose, Global, 2017-19
                                                                • Starting age as early as 6 months for most categories
                                                                  • Figure 42: Penetration of baby nutrition products, by age of youngest child, December 2018
                                                              • Price Sensitivity

                                                                • More price-sensitive about baby supplementary food
                                                                  • Figure 43: Price-sensitivity, by product category, December 2018
                                                                • Parents of babies aged 13-24 months give precedence to baby health supplements
                                                                  • Figure 44: Consumers who would continue to buy the same amount of their preferred brand when facing price increase, by age of youngest child, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 45: Consumer segmentation, by age of youngest child, December 2018
                                                              • Attitudes towards Baby Health Supplements

                                                                • Baffled by too many brands
                                                                  • Figure 46: Difficulties in buying baby health supplements, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 47: Difficulties in buying baby health supplements, by age, December 2018
                                                                • Unfamiliarity with their function poses bigger problem
                                                                  • Figure 48: Percentage of consumers who would hold off buying health supplements in times of price increase, by attitudes towards health supplements, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 49: Selected attitudes towards baby health supplements, by household income, December 2018
                                                                • Taste acceptable to babies is important
                                                                  • Figure 50: New launches of baby health supplements of different flavours, Global, 2016-18
                                                              • Expectation of New Products

                                                                • Rich nutritional content is of first priority
                                                                  • Figure 51: Expectation of new product, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 52: Examples of fresh fruits used in baby supplementary food, Global, 2019
                                                                • Organic and traceable source attract more parents born in post 1980s
                                                                  • Figure 53: Interest in organic and traceable source, by generation, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 54: Gerber’s pop-up plantation in Beijing
                                                                • Demand for on-the-go convenience
                                                                  • Figure 55: Interest in convenient packaging for out-of-home consumption, by household income and region, December 2018
                                                                • Special product design welcomed by post 1990s parents
                                                                  • Figure 56: Expectation of new product, by generation, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 57: Examples of baby food with special packaging design, Global, 2018-19
                                                              • Attitudes towards Baby Feeding

                                                                • Strong willingness to share and learn
                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes towards baby feeding, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 59: Examples of membership incentives provided by baby nutrition brands
                                                                • Wavering between packaged products and homemade meals
                                                                  • Figure 60: Percentage of parents who neither agree nor disagree with the statement “Packaged baby food and/or drinks are not as healthy as homemade”, by age, December 2018
                                                              • Consumer Segments

                                                                • Three segments of consumers
                                                                  • Figure 61: Consumer segments segmented on attitudes towards baby nutrition, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 62: Attitudes towards baby nutrition, by consumer segments, December 2018
                                                                • Bewildered Strugglers
                                                                    • Figure 63: Interest in functional product claims, by consumer segments, December 2018
                                                                  • Watchful Guardians
                                                                      • Figure 64: Interest in ingredient-related product claims, by consumer segments, December 2018
                                                                    • Laissez Faire Feeders
                                                                        • Figure 65: Category penetration, by consumer segments, December 2018
                                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                      • Fewer Laissez Faire Feeders
                                                                        • Figure 66: Consumer segmentation, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                        • Figure 67: Percentage of neither agree nor disagree with the following statements, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                      • Higher expectation of educational benefits
                                                                        • Figure 68: Expectation of new products, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                      • MinTs still worry about possible side effects of baby health supplements
                                                                        • Figure 69: Attitudes towards baby health supplements, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                        • Figure 70: Total market value of baby nutrition, China, 2013-23
                                                                    • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                        • Figure 71: Retail value sales of baby nutrition segments, China, 2013-23
                                                                    • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                                          • Abbreviations

                                                                          Baby Nutrition - China - May 2019

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