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China Supplementary Food Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Baby Supplementary Food 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? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This market comprises packaged dry and liquid products designed specifically for babies/infants (aged 0-3 years) that can be eaten directly from the package or after being prepared (cooked, microwaved, mixed with water, mixed with meals).

These meals include:

  • biscuits/rusks/snacks
  • cereals
  • fruit & vegetables
  • other solids and other drinks

What you need to know

Although parents are having second thoughts on having more children and postponing the age of pregnancy, there is still demand for more and better packaged baby supplementary food. This is driven by greater confidence in food safety and strong willingness to trade up. Total market value is expected to reach half the size of US market in five years. International brands and local players alike are actively expanding product portfolios to include organic offerings, local recipes or functional benefits.

Consumers are now more confident feeding packaged baby supplementary food, while at the same time they also want to feel hands-on in making decent meals for their babies. In making purchasing decisions, young parents are becoming more rational. Selective brand and ingredient origin are giving way to products that best fit their babies. Their open attitudes towards emerging purchasing channels as well as sources of information also enable dynamic interactions between marketers and target consumers.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Cici Wu, 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.

With stricter regulation under way, parents are now more confident feeding their children packaged baby supplementary food. Coupled with strong willingness to trade up, total market value is expected to maintain steady growth in the next five years. Products with organic, local and functional claims are attracting greater attention in the market. Consumers are becoming more rational in choosing products and their priority is to find the best fit. Their open attitude towards emerging purchasing channels as well as sources of information is ushering dynamic interactions between marketers and target consumers. Cici Wu
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
        • Definitions
          • Figure 1: Definition of low/mid/high MHI groups, by city tier
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Growth momentum expected to continue
              • Figure 2: Retail market value and volume of baby supplementary food, China, 2014-18
              • Figure 3: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail baby supplementary food market, by value, China, 2013-23
            • Product innovations lead segment growth
              • Figure 4: Volume share of baby supplementary food segments, China, 2017
            • Companies and brands
              • Nestlé gains greater share of a fragmented market
                • Figure 5: Leading companies’ share of retail baby supplementary food market, China, 2016 and 2017
              • Aggressive expansion of portfolio
                • Product innovation to address more than feeding needs
                  • The consumer
                    • Manufactured baby food catching up with homemade
                      • Figure 6: Baby food penetration, China, June 2018
                    • Snacks struggle with low consumption frequency
                      • Figure 7: Consumption frequency of baby supplementary food, China, June 2018
                    • Physical stores face challenge from online retailers
                      • Figure 8: Purchasing channels, China, June 2018
                    • Stronger presence of international brands
                      • Figure 9: Brand penetration, China, June 2018
                    • Trusting experience from close relationship
                      • Figure 10: Purchase influencers, China, June 2017 & June 2018
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Meet competition from international brands by introducing local recipes
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Figure 11: Baby supplementary food with typical Chinese ingredients, China, 2017-18
                            • Figure 12: Alete’s Discovery range, Germany, 2017
                          • Homemade brands can bring dynamics to the market
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Figure 13: Examples of sharing the manufacturing process of homemade baby supplementary food on digital platforms
                                • Figure 14: Examples of handmade baby supplementary food products
                              • Support busy parents with better care
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 15: Examples of brands communication featuring supporting busy parents
                                    • Figure 16: Examples of baby supplementary food with clear instructions
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Robust growth expected to continue
                                    • Digital platforms building offline presence
                                      • Segment growth driven by product innovations
                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                        • Market value welcoming robust growth
                                          • Figure 17: Retail market value and volume of baby supplementary food, China, 2014-18
                                          • Figure 18: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail baby supplementary food market, by value, China, 2013-23
                                        • Alleviated safety concerns ensure volume growth
                                          • Figure 19: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail baby supplementary food market, by volume, China, 2012-23
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Regulation from authorities likely to easy safety concerns
                                          • Digital platforms moving towards omni-channels
                                            • Figure 20: Digital platforms moving offline
                                          • Parents having second thoughts on having more children
                                            • Figure 21: Planning to have more children by age & age of youngest child, China, Jan & June 2018
                                          • Postponed age of pregnancy
                                          • Market Segmentation

                                            • Yet to tap potential of fruit-based food
                                              • Figure 22: Volume share of baby supplementary food segments, China, 2017
                                              • Figure 23: New launches by sub-category by country, Jan 2017 –Oct 2018
                                            • Baby cereals explore new varieties
                                              • Figure 24: Ingredients used in baby cereals, China, 2014-18
                                              • Figure 25: Examples of baby millet cereals, China, 2017-18
                                              • Figure 26: Baby cereals containing multiple grains
                                            • Baby snacks are driving category growth
                                              • Figure 27: New launches of baby food and drink (excluding infant formula and growing-up milk), 2012-17
                                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                            • Nestlé gains greater share through active digital moves
                                              • International brands bet on organic offerings
                                                • Products to assist baby development
                                                • Market Share

                                                  • More fragmented and competitive market
                                                    • Figure 28: Leading companies’ share of retail baby supplementary food market, China, 2016 and 2017
                                                  • Active digital moves help Nestlé gain more share
                                                    • Local brands look to expand portfolio
                                                      • Figure 29: Eastwes new products, China
                                                      • Figure 30: Fang Guang new products, China
                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                    • International brands bet on organic offerings
                                                      • Figure 31: New launches claiming organic among baby supplementary food, China, 2015-18
                                                      • Figure 32: Launches of organic baby supplementary food from international brands, China, 2018
                                                    • Adopting professional image online
                                                      • Figure 33: Example of brands launching professional papers on digital platforms, China
                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                    • Meal supplements in the form of condiments and doses
                                                      • Figure 34: Examples of meal supplements in the form of condiments
                                                    • Connecting with baby growth milestones
                                                      • Designed for self-feeding training
                                                        • Figure 35: Examples of baby supplementary food designed for self-feeding
                                                      • Designed to soothe pain of teething
                                                        • Figure 36: Examples of baby food products related to relieve teething pain
                                                      • Designed to celebrate achievements
                                                        • Figure 37: Engnice Baby Awarding Biscuits
                                                      • Baby specialties entering more categories
                                                        • Figure 38: Examples of new baby special products
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Proper meals overtaking snacking
                                                        • Specialist stores and online generalists serve babies at different stages
                                                          • Trusting experience from close relationship
                                                            • Willing to update knowledge on baby feeding
                                                            • Baby Supplementary Food Penetration

                                                              • Packaged food catching up with homemade
                                                                • Figure 39: Baby supplementary food penetration, China, June 2018
                                                                • Figure 40: Baby supplementary food penetration, by age of youngest child, China, June 2018
                                                              • Opportunities to encourage early introduction
                                                                • Figure 41: Repertoire of baby supplementary food penetration, China, June 2018
                                                                • Figure 42: Infant peanut introduction kit, US
                                                              • Purees and juice more welcomed in tier one cities
                                                                • Figure 43: Selected baby food penetration, by city tiers, China, June 2018
                                                                • Figure 44: Purchase channel of parents who feed their babies packaged puree and juice, China, June 2018
                                                            • Consumption Frequency

                                                              • Proper meals over snacking
                                                                • Figure 45: Baby supplementary food consumed once a day or more, China, 2017 June vs 2018 June
                                                                • Figure 46: New launches of unflavoured/plain baby staple, China, 2016-2018
                                                              • Babies in extended families eat less packaged food
                                                                • Figure 47: Baby supplementary food consumed once a day or more, by living condition, China, June 2018
                                                            • Purchase Channels

                                                              • Brick-and-mortar stores’ narrow victory
                                                                • Figure 48: Purchase channels, China, June 2018
                                                              • High earners more willing to try emerging channels
                                                                • Figure 49: Purchase channels, by income, China, June 2018
                                                              • Dynamic shift between specialist stores and online generalists
                                                                • Figure 50: Top two channels from which consumers have bought baby products, China, January & June 2018
                                                                • Figure 51: Top two channels from which consumers have bought baby products, by age of youngest child, China, June 2018
                                                            • Brand Penetration

                                                              • International brands catching up
                                                                • Figure 52: Brand penetration, China, June 2018
                                                                • Figure 53: New launches of baby supplementary food in China, by country of manufacture, 2013-17
                                                              • More brand-switching among high earners and parents with higher education
                                                                • Figure 54: Repertoire of brand penetration, by education and monthly household income, China, June 2018
                                                              • From prudent experimenters to trusting laissez-faire
                                                                • Figure 55: Brand penetration, by repertoire of categories consumed, China, June 2018
                                                            • Purchase Influencers

                                                              • Greater power of digital touchpoints
                                                                • Figure 56: Purchase influencers, China, June 2017 & June 2018
                                                              • Grandparents have a say on feeding their grandchildren
                                                                • Figure 57: Percentage of purchase decision affected by older generation, by age of youngest child China, June 2018
                                                              • Trusting peers
                                                                • Figure 58: Percentage of purchase decision affected by experienced peer parents, by age of youngest child and education, China, June 2018
                                                            • Facts in Feeding Baby Supplementary Food

                                                              • Rational choices made regarding product choice
                                                                • Figure 59: Attitudes towards origin and price of baby supplementary food, China, June 2018
                                                              • Comprehensive catalogue helps maintain brand loyalty
                                                                • Figure 60: Attitudes towards selecting baby supplementary food, China, June 2018
                                                              • Packaging: practicality doesn’t suffice, appearance also matters
                                                                • Figure 61: Attitudes towards packaging of baby supplementary food, China, June 2018
                                                                • Figure 62: Examples of baby supplementary food with standout packaging
                                                              • Baby feeding: a topic that needs refreshing all the time
                                                                • Figure 63: Attitudes towards feeding baby supplementary food, China, June 2018
                                                            • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                              • Seeking up-to-date information
                                                                • Figure 64: Purchase influencers, by consumer classifications, China, June 2018
                                                              • Hands-on and demand for diversity
                                                                • Figure 65: Attitudes towards baby feeding, by consumer classifications, China, June 2018
                                                              • Attracted to premiumisation with organic claims
                                                                • Figure 66: Attitudes towards product selection, by consumer classifications, China, June 2018
                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Figure 67: Value sales of China’s baby supplementary food retail market, 2013-23
                                                                • Figure 68: Volume sales of China’s baby supplementary food retail market, 2013-23
                                                            • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                              • Methodology
                                                                • Fan chart forecast
                                                                  • Abbreviations