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China Menu Insights Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Menu Insights 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 report explores consumers’ changing behaviours and preferences when dining out as well as priorities and expectations on food and menu. Menu in this report refers to the types of cooking methods, localised and international cuisines and nutritional/functional benefits as consumers look to include more in their future diet. It covers fine dining, casual dining, fast food restaurants and cafés/ coffee shops.

What you need to know

Coupled with booming food delivery services, the line between foodservice and retail is blurring. Grocerants will continue to provide a more dynamic experience including convenience and freshness. Consumers, on the one hand, are interested in trying different ethnic cuisines, while on the other hand are also devoted to combatting over-flavouring. Their perception of nutrition of certain ingredients, be it superfoods or meat, can very much affect their decision-making. Although their desire to make their own choice of sweetness or spiciness is strong, they still crave explanation and guidance on menu selection.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

Despite being a fragmented market, stricter regulations are going to help ease food safety concerns. Amid interest in trying different ethnic cuisines, consumers are also beginning to combat over-flavouring. Their perception of nutrition of certain ingredients, be it superfoods or meat, can very much affect their decision-making. Although their desire to make their own choice of sweetness or spiciness is strong, they still crave explanation and guidance on menu selection. 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
            • More dining out occasions propels growing momentum
              • Dining out experiencing stricter regulations
                • Foodservice provider testing with retail
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Single-source ingredients to deliver authenticity
                      • Grocerant: a new style providing better freshness
                        • Innovative restaurants try to blur the lines of different cuisine
                          • Strategies to tap into children economy
                            • The consumer
                              • Sugar becomes the new evil
                                • Figure 2: Food intake limitations, May 2018
                              • Dining out growth driven by young parents
                                • Figure 3: Eating out habits, May 2018
                              • High interest in trying different ethnic food
                                • Figure 4: Interest in ethnic food, May 2018
                              • Detailed information tops diners’ wish list
                                • Figure 5: Favourable menu changes, May 2018
                              • Super fruits become prevalent
                                • Figure 6: Superfoods benefits awareness, May 2018
                              • Nutrition plays a vital role in meat selection
                                • Figure 7: Correspondence analysis – Perceptions of different types of meat and seafood, June 2018
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Nutrition presentation and acceptance
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Figure 8: Examples of colour-coded labelling system, Europe, 2016-17
                                      • Figure 9: Hunter Gatherer’s Make your own bowl selection, China
                                    • Backlash on over-flavouring
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Superfoods are not superb in China
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Momentum of growth driven by expanded dining out occasions
                                                  • Food safety guarded by stricter regulations
                                                    • Foodservice provider testing with retail
                                                      • Meituan-Dianping releases Chinese version of Michelin Guide
                                                      • Market Factors

                                                        • More dining out occasions accelerate market growth
                                                          • Figure 10: Consumer expenditure in foodservice, 2012-17
                                                        • Foodservice brands’ attempt on retail
                                                          • Stricter regulations to ensure confidence over dining out
                                                            • International foodies cultivated during outbound travel
                                                              • Meituan-Dianping has released Restaurant Guide
                                                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Differentiation built with single-source ingredients
                                                                  • Grocerants offer upgraded freshness
                                                                    • Experiment with fusion food
                                                                      • Strategies to tap into children economy
                                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                                        • Single-source ingredients to deliver authenticity
                                                                          • Figure 11: Restaurants with their own source of ingredients, China
                                                                        • Memory-retrieving food
                                                                          • Figure 12: Examples of nostalgic food offerings
                                                                        • Freshness redefined by grocerants
                                                                        • Innovation Highlights

                                                                          • Fusion excitement
                                                                            • Figure 13: Examples of fusion food, China
                                                                            • Figure 14: American-style Chinese food opening outlets in China, 2018
                                                                          • Mushroom as a label of health
                                                                            • Figure 15: Innovation of mushroom in menu, China, 2017
                                                                          • Design for family
                                                                            • Figure 16: Examples of kid-friendly activities hosted by restaurants, China, 2017
                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                          • Sugar tops the black list
                                                                            • Winning young diners with guided choices
                                                                              • Middle age crisis for nutrition
                                                                                • Super fruits well received
                                                                                • Dieting Habits

                                                                                  • Sugar becomes the new evil
                                                                                    • Figure 17: Food intake limitations, May 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Percentage limiting intake of sugar and salt, by cities, May 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 19: New launches having claim on low/no/reduced sugar in categories of juice and yogurt, China, 2013-17
                                                                                  • Good fat and bad fat
                                                                                    • Figure 20: New launches of food and drink with minus claims, global, 2017
                                                                                  • Less meat for older men
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Percentage of consumers having tried to limit consumption of red meat, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                                                • Eating Out Habits

                                                                                  • Satisfied with dining out
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Eating out habits, May 2018
                                                                                  • Growth driven by post-80s parents
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Percentage of consumers who ate out more often in the last 6 months, by generation, May 2018
                                                                                • Interest in Foreign Cuisines

                                                                                  • Consumers are open to trying different ethnic foods
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Interest in ethnic food, May 2018
                                                                                  • Consumer preference fluctuates
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Penetration of ethnic food, June 2015 vs May 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Ethnic food have eaten and would like to eat again, by region, May 2018
                                                                                  • Interest in Japanese food remains high
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Ethnic food have eaten and would like to eat again, May 2018
                                                                                  • Geographic locations affect consumer perception of ethnic cuisines
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Cross-analysis of ethnic food haven’t eaten but interested in trying, May 2018
                                                                                • Favourable Menu Changes

                                                                                  • Favour for detailed information
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Favourable menu changes, May 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 30: Example of choice of flavour, China
                                                                                  • Winning young diners with guided choices
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Favourable menu change, by generation, May 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Cooperation of Michelle guide and Tmall, China, 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 33: Claim of suitable for, China, 2013-17
                                                                                  • Middle age crisis for nutrition
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Percentage of consumers who are interested in seeing nutritional information on menus, by age, May 2018
                                                                                  • Who are the new bon vivants?
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Eating out habits – CHAID – Tree output, June 2018
                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                  • Superfood Awareness

                                                                                    • Super fruits become prevalent
                                                                                      • Figure 36: Superfoods benefits awareness, May 2018
                                                                                    • Availability and ease of preparation drive acceptance
                                                                                      • Figure 37: New launches of juice drinks, by flavour, China, Jan-Aug 2018
                                                                                    • Potential with high income earners and parents
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Superfoods benefits awareness, by income, May 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 39: Superfoods benefits awareness, by family structure, May 2018
                                                                                  • Meat Associations

                                                                                    • Versatile chicken and premium beef favoured when dining out
                                                                                      • Figure 40: Correspondence analysis – Perceptions of different types of meat, June 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Perceptions of different types of meat, June 2018
                                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                                      • Unexplored territory of duck dishes
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Associations with duck, by region, May 2018
                                                                                      • Nutrition plays a vital role in meat selection
                                                                                        • Figure 43: Consumption per capita of selected meat in selected countries, 2017
                                                                                        • Figure 44: Change of consumption of selected meat in selected countries, by kg/capital, 2017 vs 2016
                                                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                      • Experienced and critical foreign cuisine diners
                                                                                        • Figure 45: Ethnic food have eaten and would like to eat again, by consumer classification, May 2018
                                                                                        • Figure 46: Ethnic food have eaten but not interested in eating again, by consumer classification, May 2018
                                                                                      • Higher expectation on detailed ingredient information
                                                                                        • Figure 47: Favourable menu changes, by consumer classification, May 2018
                                                                                    • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                        • Abbreviations