TNS, the global market research house, recently came out with a report on the food & beverage business in China. There are no major new insights here but the findings are worth keeping in mind for those of us in the food service industry.

*  By 2020 more than 160 million Chinese will climb above the poverty level and begin to enjoy food rather than just rely on it for subsistence living.

*  Apparently an average monthly income of 12,000 RMB is strongly associated with the rise in obesity.  I guess people increase their frequency of visits to fast food outlets.

*  Food & beverage is very much a social activity.  As Chinese  become more wealthier they are more likely to eat out more.

*  Chinese use food to display their increased disposable income publicly.   Food is an affirmation of status and success.

*  Food expresses status by the way parents indulge their children as well.  We all know about the “Little Emperor” phenomenon.

*  Evidence is mounting globally as well as in China that we eat more comfort food as a response to stress.  China is certainly a high stress society.

*  The best way to tap into this rising consumption is to focus on “pleasure” not utilitarian arguments.

*  The vast majority of increased consumption will  be traditional Chinese cuisine.

In summary, food is culture and Chinese people like Chinese food more than other cuisines.  Not much of a revelation.  The key to success is understanding the local taste profiles as well as the emotional ones.

You can find the TNS study at

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