China Instant Foods Market Report 2023
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“The fading of the pandemic has slowed down the growth of the instant food sector. Faced with increasing internal and external competition, brands need to showcase unique selling points by…

China Instant Foods Market Report 2023

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

“The fading of the pandemic has slowed down the growth of the instant food sector. Faced with increasing internal and external competition, brands need to showcase unique selling points by upgrading the taste and nutrition of products to attract consumers who are more price-sensitive after the pandemic.”

–   Joy Yin, Senior Research Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Market size and future growth for instant noodles and self-heating foods.
  • Marketing activities and new product trends in the instant food market.
  • Consumers’ consumption frequency and occasions of instant foods.
  • Consumers’ perceived premium attributes for instant noodles.
  • Consumers’ preference between instant foods and self-heating foods.
  • Product strategy to encourage consumption of soaked noodles and self-heating foods.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

            • Issues and Insights
              • Enhance soup base and noodle texture to increase consumption of soaked noodles
                • Figure 1: Soup Daren’s ‘Juicy Rice Noodles’, China, 2022
              • Provide fortified nutrition and emotional benefits to target the highly educated
                • Figure 2: Instant noodle examples with functional ingredients, Global, 2022-23
              • Capitalise on late-night occasions for self-heating rice and hotpot
                • Figure 3: Self-heating products with ‘late-night’ claims, China, 2023
              • Market Summary
                • Growth picked up in 2022 but is expected to slow down in the long run
                  • Increasing competition with further investment in regional flavours
                    • The trend of intentional spending after the pandemic
                      • What we think
                      • Market Size and Segmentation

                        • Growth picks up thanks to increased in-home occasions
                          • Figure 4: Retail market value of instant noodles, China, 2017-27
                        • Self-heating foods sustain but are expected to cool
                          • Figure 5: Retail market value of self-heating foods, China, 2020-22
                          • Figure 6: Instant foods value market share, by segment, China, 2020-22
                      • Market Factors

                        • Stockpiling behaviour increased during the lockdown
                          • Figure 7: Stockpiling preference during the pandemic, 2022
                        • Consumers are more cautious about spending
                          • Figure 8: Future outlook towards financial status, 2022-23
                        • Dietary Guidelines proposed ‘Eastern Healthy Diet Model’ for Chinese residents
                        • Market Share

                          • Uni-President and Baixiang experienced strong growth momentum
                            • Figure 9: Leading companies of instant noodles, by value share, 2021-22
                            • Figure 10: Leading companies of instant noodles, by volume share, 2021-22
                          • Further investment in regional flavours
                          • Marketing Activities

                            • Tapping into the metaverse concept
                              • Figure 11: Master Kong’s Metaverse Taste Town, China, 2022
                            • Establish offline ‘instant noodle factory’
                              • Figure 12: Baixiang Instant Noodle Factory, China, 2022
                            • Innovative cobranding to target young consumers
                              • Figure 13: Wanglaoji x Choubao gift box, China, 2022
                          • New Product Trends

                            • The rise of private-label instant noodles
                              • Figure 14: Percentage of instant noodle launches with private labels, China, Apr 2018 – Mar 2023
                              • Figure 15: Instant noodle product examples with private labels, China, 2022-23
                            • Buckwheat noodles are increasing
                              • Figure 16: Percentage of instant buckwheat noodles in total launches, China, Apr 2018 – Mar 2023
                              • Figure 17: Product examples of instant buckwheat noodles, China, 2022-23
                              • Figure 18: Guai Xiao Man’s buckwheat noodles for children, China, 2022
                            • Diversifying portion sizes for distinct consumer groups
                              • Figure 19: Airmeter’s ‘BIG 150%’ pasta, China, 2022
                              • Figure 20: Airmeter’s ‘MINI box’ pasta in collaboration with Disney, China, 2022
                              • Figure 21: Uni-President’s ‘Big Big Cup’ series under Soup Daren, China, 2022
                            • Japan: freeze-dried rice for emergency use
                              • Figure 22: Nagatanien’s FREEZE DRY instant rice, Japan, 2022
                          • Consumption Frequency

                            • Consumption sustains except for self-heating rice
                              • Figure 23: Consumption frequency, 2023
                              • Figure 24: Consumption frequency – At least ‘once a month’, 2022-23
                              • Figure 25: Consumption frequency of self-heating rice – At least ‘once a month’, by age, 2022-23
                            • Parents of kids demonstrate strong demand
                              • Figure 26: Consumption frequency – Penetration, by family structure, 2023
                            • Knowledge workers tend to be heavy users
                              • Figure 27: Consumption frequency – ‘Once a week or more’, by education, 2023
                          • Consumption Occasions

                            • Late night is the most popular occasion
                              • Figure 28: Consumption occasions, 2023
                            • Meal replacements for singles and new moms
                              • Figure 29: Consumption occasions – ‘Replacing meals’, by family structure, 2023
                            • Provide quick and relaxing treats for knowledge workers
                              • Figure 30: Consumption occasions – Selected occasions, by education, 2023
                          • Purchase Channels

                            • Offline channels prevail
                              • Figure 31: Purchase channels, 2023
                              • Figure 32: Purchase channels, by gender, 2023
                            • High earners prefer online channels
                              • Figure 33: Purchase channels – Online channels, by monthly personal income, 2023
                            • Leverage emerging channels to target multi-generation families
                              • Figure 34: Purchase channels – Selected channels, by living situation, 2023
                          • Triggers to Buy New Products

                            • Novel flavour is the top trigger
                              • Figure 35: Triggers to buy new products, 2023
                            • Flavours and short videos appeal to females more than males
                              • Figure 36: Triggers to buy new products – Top five triggers, by gender, 2023
                              • Figure 37: Triggers to buy new products – ‘Recommended by short videos (a)’, by gender and age, 2023
                            • Target parents and brain-workers with customised solutions
                              • Figure 38: Triggers to buy new products – ‘Designed for specific consumer groups (a)’, by family structure and education, 2023
                          • Premium Noodle Attributes

                            • Soup base continues to be valued the most
                              • Figure 39: Premium noodle attributes, 2023
                            • Enhance ingredient nutrients and noodle texture for high earners
                              • Figure 40: Premium noodle attributes – Selected attributes, by monthly personal income, 2023
                            • Target heavy users of soaked noodles with premium soup base and chewy noodles
                              • Figure 41: Premium noodle attributes, by consumption frequency of instant noodles (soaked in boiling water), 2023
                          • Preference between Instant Foods and Self-Heating Foods

                            • The format of self-heating is less preferred
                              • Figure 42: Preference between instant foods and self-heating foods, 2023
                            • Late-night occasions provide opportunities for self-heating rice and hotpot
                              • Figure 43: Preference between instant foods and self-heating foods – ‘Prefer the format of self-heating’, by consumption occasions, 2023
                          • Food Personas

                            • Who are they?
                                • Figure 44: Food personas, 2023
                                • Figure 45: Food personas, by generation, 2023
                              • Critical shoppers seek credibility and tangibility
                                • Figure 46: Triggers to buy new products – ‘Recommended by family/friends/colleagues’, by food persona, 2023
                                • Figure 47: Premium noodle attributes – Selected attributes, by food persona, 2023
                              • Emotional eaters prefer late-night occasions
                                • Figure 48: Consumption occasions – ‘Eating night snacks’, by food persona, 2023
                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                • Figure 49: Total retail market value and forecast of instant noodles, China, 2017-2027
                            • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                • Figure 50: Instant foods retail market value and share, by segment, China, 2020-2022
                            • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                              • Methodology
                                • Abbreviations

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