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 http://www.tnsglobal.com/sites/default/files/whitepaper/tns-i-eat-therefore-iam.pdf.