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China Attitudes towards Comfort Foods Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Comfort Foods market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

Thanks to the development of consumerism and science, the connection between consumers and the foods they consume has become more important not only physically but also emotionally. For example, science has discovered that some foods can trigger the release of dopamine, which makes people feel happy.

Thus, finding how Chinese consumers use foods to adjust their mood becomes valuable for manufacturers to understand deeply about the connection between consumers and foods, and their consumption attitudes and behaviour towards certain comfort foods.

Covered in this Report

There is not a fixed definition of comfort foods universally.

This Report answers questions like what consumers use as comfort foods, their preference towards flavour and texture and their general behaviour and attitudes towards comfort foods in their own definition.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Loris Li, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

There is a good opportunity for comfort food in China as Mintel research shows using foods to adjust the mood is a widely recognised practice by Chinese consumers and there is a wide acknowledge of the impact of food on people’s mood. Businesses, especially snack brands, can communicate on the mental benefits to impress consumers and build high brand awareness. Loris Li
Associate Director - Food & Drink

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • The consumer
              • More opportunities among females and lower tier cities
                • Figure 1: Consumers who have used comfort foods, by age and gender, April 2018
                • Figure 2: Consumers who have used comfort foods, by city tier, April 2018
              • Majority go for snacks, with chocolate being the most popular comfort food choice
                • Figure 3: Usage of foods as comfort foods, April 2018
              • Comfort foods are used most when people are depressed, annoyed and lonely
                • A third of consumers, skewed to 40-49s, also eat comfort foods when they are happy
                  • Figure 4: Consumption occasions of comfort foods, April 2018
                • Gender and age drive differences in flavour preference
                  • Figure 5: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, by gender, April 2018
                  • Figure 6: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, by age, April 2018
                • Smooth, crunchy and chewy textures are the most popular
                  • Figure 7: Preference towards texture as comfort foods, April 2018
                • Online contents win the attention when consumers are having comfort foods
                  • Figure 8: Things to do while having comfort foods, April 2018
                • More planned than spontaneous purchase
                  • Figure 9: General attitudes towards comfort foods – storage, April 2018
                • Opportunities for premiumising comfort food sold in retail channels
                  • Figure 10: General attitudes towards comfort foods – price and channel, April 2018
                  • Figure 11: Flavour preference of premium buyers, April 2018,
                  • Figure 12: Texture preference of premium buyers, April 2018
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Gender – Differentiated strategy can work well for brands
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Figure 13: Yogurt made for men and women by Bakoma, Poland
                      • Foodservice can try to attract “spontaneous consumers”
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Advertising with online contents can help reach the target consumers
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                • Market and Innovation – What You Need to Know

                                  • Origins of comfort foods in the West
                                    • There is a gender preference towards comfort foods
                                      • Comfort foods have value for brand building
                                        • Going back to the past is a good theme for marketing campaigns
                                          • Foodservice can comfort consumers through food or service
                                          • Comfort Foods in the West

                                              • Figure 14: Prepared meals and pastry dishes as comfort foods in the West
                                          • Market Drivers

                                            • People need a break under growing living pressure
                                              • The number of singles is increasing across the country
                                                • A marketing opportunity for strengthening brand loyalty
                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                  • Bring consumers back to childhood
                                                    • Appeal to nostalgia mood
                                                      • Figure 15: Moqi peach juice, a post behind with the slogan, China, 2017
                                                    • Foodservice can comfort consumers with food or service
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Using foods to adjust mood is a popular practice
                                                        • Gender brings much difference
                                                          • Consumption behaviour connects with occasion
                                                          • Usage of Comfort Foods

                                                            • Most consumers have experience of having comfort food
                                                              • Figure 16: Usage of comfort food, April 2018
                                                            • Chocolate is the most popular comfort food
                                                              • Figure 17: Usage of foods as comfort foods, April 2018
                                                              • Figure 18: Usage of foods as comfort foods, by gender, April 2018
                                                          • Consumption Occasion

                                                            • Comfort food is helpful in negative emotional status
                                                              • Figure 19: Consumption occasions of comfort foods, April 2018
                                                            • Consumers aged 40-49 have different occasions from the others
                                                              • Figure 20: Consumption occasions of comfort foods – 40-49s, by gender, April 2018
                                                          • Preference towards Flavour

                                                            • Men prefer fruit/vegetable flavour while women prefer sweet flavour
                                                              • Figure 21: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, April 2018
                                                              • Figure 22: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, by gender, April 2018
                                                            • Consumers aged 20-24 prefer spicy flavour while those aged 30-49 prefer milk and coffee flavours
                                                              • Figure 23: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, by age, April 2018
                                                          • Preference towards Texture

                                                            • Smooth, crunchy and chewy textures are the most popular
                                                              • Figure 24: Preference towards texture as comfort foods, April 2018
                                                            • Consumers in big families like chewy, crunchy and chunky textures
                                                              • Figure 25: Preference towards texture as comfort foods, by presence of children, April 2018
                                                            • Chewy and thick textures have more attraction to males
                                                              • Fluffy and melt textures have more attraction to females
                                                                • Figure 26: Preference towards texture as comfort foods, by gender, April 2018
                                                            • Consumption Behaviour

                                                              • Online contents have the most attraction
                                                                • Figure 27: Consumption behaviour of having comfort foods, April 2018
                                                              • Gender always brings a difference
                                                                • Figure 28: Consumption behaviour of having comfort foods, by gender, April 2018
                                                              • Behaviour, in fact, connects with consumption occasions
                                                              • General Attitudes towards Comfort Foods

                                                                  • Consumers prefer healthy comfort foods in small sizes
                                                                      • Figure 29: General attitudes towards comfort foods – size and health, April 2018
                                                                    • Half of consumers buy comfort foods at home in advance
                                                                      • Figure 30: General attitudes towards comfort foods – storage, April 2018
                                                                    • Buying from retailers but premiumisation still has a chance to go
                                                                      • Figure 31: General attitudes towards comfort foods – price and channel, April 2018
                                                                  • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                    • Only 2% of Mintropolitans have not used foods to adjust the mood
                                                                      • Figure 32: Usage of comfort foods, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • The occasion “when I miss someone” attract more Mintropolitans
                                                                      • Figure 33: Consumption occasions of comfort foods, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • Mintropolitans have more interests in floral, milk and vanilla flavours
                                                                      • Figure 34: Preference towards flavour as comfort foods, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • Sandy texture is more popular with Mintropolitans
                                                                      • Figure 35: Preference towards texture as comfort foods, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • More Mintropolitans are “the planners”
                                                                      • Figure 36: General attitudes towards comfort foods – storage, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                    • Over a third of Mintropolitans buy from foodservice channel
                                                                      • Figure 37: General attitudes towards comfort foods – channel, by consumer classification, April 2018
                                                                  • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                      • Abbreviations