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Consumer Snacking Trends - China - January 2018

“Despite the increasing propensity to be health conscious among today’s consumers, as high as 80% of people still say snacking makes them happy rather than guilty, suggesting snacking innovation isn’t just about healthy-driven, better-for-you products. There is a true demand for real indulgence, especially as Mintel’s research reveals that snacking is playing a bigger role in helping people to enjoy a moment of happiness and to get away from their stressful lives.”

- Ruyi Xu, Director of Research, China

This report will look at the following areas:

  • Flavour creates demand, even for not so good-for-you snacks
  • How brands can give snacks a more artisanal look and feel?
  • Which groups of consumers snack most and least?

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail sales of major snack categories, China 2012-22
            • Figure 2: Retail sales value of major snack categories, China, 2013-17
          • Competition and Innovation
            • The consumer
              • Snacks becomes an antidote to a stressed life
                • Figure 3: Snacking occasions in the last six months, September 2017
              • A variety of choices, though crisps still come top of mind
                • Figure 4: Types of snack eaten most often in the past month, word cloud of mentions over 1%, September 2017
              • Play on the ingredient perception
                • Figure 5: Attributes associated with each type of snack, September 2017
              • Make people feel intrigued or ‘in the know’
                • Figure 6: Reasons for buying a new snack, September 2017
              • Different products to target different occasions
                • Figure 7: Correspondence analysis – Snack needs by occasion, September 2017
              • A missed opportunity in the market
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Flavour creates demand, even for not so good-for-you snacks
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • How brands can give snacks a more artisanal look and feel?
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Figure 8: Positive craft CSD attributes, US, March 2015
                            • Which groups of consumers snack most and least?
                              • Figure 9: No. of occasions that consumers have snacked in the past six months, by self-label, September 2017
                              • Figure 10: Attitudes towards snacking, by selected self-label, September 2017
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • About 13% of consumer spending on food go to snacks
                              • Winners are not all the healthier categories
                                • Snacking becomes a ‘healing’ for stressed consumers
                                • Market Size, Segment and Forecast

                                  • Snacks taking a bigger share of consumer food spending
                                    • Figure 11: Share of consumer snack spending in total in-home food, China, 2013-17
                                  • Leading categories remain the same
                                    • Figure 12: Retail sales value of major snack categories, China, 2013-17
                                  • Winners are not only the healthier categories
                                    • Figure 13: Growth rates of major snack categories, China, 2013-17
                                  • Looking ahead to the next five years
                                    • Figure 14: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail sales of major snack categories, China 2012-22
                                • Market Factors

                                  • Snacking becomes a ‘healing’ aid for stressed consumers
                                    • Permissible indulgence changes how people snack
                                      • Snacks and meals are blurring
                                        • Food delivery service may change the competition in the long term
                                          • Consumers’ collective intelligence influences what to buy
                                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                            • Local e-commerce brands continue strong growth
                                              • BFY snacks remain niche in China
                                                • Worth-knowing trends
                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                  • Local brand strength
                                                    • A comprehensive product portfolio
                                                      • Quick action on new ideas, good at creating super sales
                                                        • Consumer engagement: from value added-services to an emotional bonding
                                                          • How far can brands push the flavour boundary?
                                                              • Figure 15: Selected user comment on Snickers spicy peanut chocolate bar, 2017
                                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                                            • The big picture view
                                                              • Figure 16: New product launch by category, China 2015-17
                                                              • Figure 17: New product launch in salty snacks, by sub-category, China 2015-17
                                                            • Noteworthy trends in claims
                                                              • Figure 18: Share of BFY claims in new snack launch, China vs global 2015-17
                                                              • Figure 19: Top growing claims in new product launch, by category, China 2015-17
                                                            • What’s happening in China?
                                                              • Power to the plant
                                                                • Snack mixes expanding to sea food
                                                                  • Giving a more artisan-feel
                                                                    • Global trends that can inspire China innovation
                                                                      • Rich flavours in salty snacks is making the category cool again
                                                                        • More ‘platforms’: beyond potato, rice and corn
                                                                          • Moment-positioned snacks
                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                            • Stress-releasing becomes one of the top five occasions for snacking
                                                                              • Perceptions of healthiness and tastiness are category specific
                                                                                • Social buzz has a bigger impact on young consumers and high earners
                                                                                  • Different snacks for different occasions
                                                                                    • A potential mismatch in targeting?
                                                                                    • Trends in Snacking Occasions

                                                                                      • Fewer people snack in 2017?
                                                                                        • Figure 20: Snacking occasions in the last six months, September 2017
                                                                                      • Snacking plays a bigger role in helping people release stress
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Ranking of snacking occasions in the last six months, 2017 vs 2016
                                                                                    • Most Eaten Snacks

                                                                                      • A mixture of indulgence and healthy, modern and traditional
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Types of snack eat most often in the past month, word cloud of mentions over 1%, September 2017
                                                                                      • Worth knowing choices by segment
                                                                                        • Nuts and seeds
                                                                                          • Healthy varieties
                                                                                            • Traditional Chinese
                                                                                              • Premium selections
                                                                                              • Perception of Different Snacks

                                                                                                • Healthy and tasty can go hand-in-hand for certain types of products
                                                                                                  • Trendy is more about the brand than the category
                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Attributes associated with each type of snacks, September 2017
                                                                                                  • Young consumers are harder to please in trendiness
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Average association of healthy, tasty and trendy across all product categories, by age, September 2017
                                                                                                • Triggers of Buying a New Snack

                                                                                                  • Hunger for new experiences
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Reasons for buying a new snack, September 2017
                                                                                                  • Sampling becomes more powerful
                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Reasons for buying a new snack, % mention of sampling, 2016 vs 2017
                                                                                                  • What drives young consumers and high earners?
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Reasons for buying a new snack, by age, September 2017
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Reasons for buying a new snack, by monthly personal income, September 2017
                                                                                                • Attributes Sought for Snacking Occasions

                                                                                                  • Crispy and spicy are most sought for during leisure time
                                                                                                    • Functional claims appeal to work/study occasions
                                                                                                      • Warm and soft for mornings while fragrant for evenings
                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Correspondence analysis – Snack needs by occasion, September 2017
                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Snack needs by occasion, September 2017
                                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Snacking

                                                                                                        • Majority feel happy rather than guilty when snacking
                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Attitudes towards snacking, September 2017
                                                                                                        • Who needs indulgence?
                                                                                                          • Who needs guilt-free snacks?
                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Snacking habits, by attitudes towards snacking, September 2016
                                                                                                          • A mismatch in the market?
                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Key demographic profile of consumer segmentation, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Snacking habits, by attitudes towards snacking, September 2016
                                                                                                          • Trendy snack shoppers are more likely to shop online compared to conservatives
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Snack purchasing habits, by different types of snack users, September 2016
                                                                                                        • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                                          • Still snack more than Non-MinTs on all occasions
                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Snacking occasions in the last six months, by consumer segmentation, September 2017
                                                                                                          • More impulsive purchases
                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Reasons for buying a new snack, by consumer segmentation, September 2017
                                                                                                          • More preference for savoury, chilled and easy-to-share snacks
                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Gap between MinTs and non-MinTs (as benchmark) in attributes sought for when snacking, aggregate of all occasions, September 2018
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Retail sales of major snack categories and consumer total in-home food spending, China, 2013-17
                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Growth rates of major snack categories, China, 2013-17
                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Retail sales of total major snack categories, China, 2012-17
                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail volume sales of major snack categories, China 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Top Claims in New Product Launch

                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Top ten claims in new product launch – Snacks, China 2015-17
                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Top ten claims in new product launch – Biscuits and crackers, China 2015-17
                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Top ten claims in new product launch – Chocolate and sugar confectionery, China 2015-17
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                                                            • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                              • Abbreviations

                                                                                                              Consumer Snacking Trends - China - January 2018

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