China Food

The first-line giants vie for layout and start-up companies speed up the race track. Is the substitute food “tuyere” or “crater”?


“Up to 99, down to ganghui.” Although this description is slightly exaggerated, it is undoubtedly the true portrayal of the weight loss market of the next generation meal. More and more people are devoting themselves to the army of weight loss and body shaping. This demand is no longer the exclusive right of young women, but a cause of national struggle.
According to the data published by the international medical journal the lancet, at present, there are more than 250 million obese people in China, of which 12 million belong to severe obesity, ranking first in the world. Therefore, it is urgent to reduce weight scientifically. In the face of the sharp increase in weight loss demand, the substitute food market is increasingly hot.
Except for young women
Who else is paying for food substitutes?

Among the consumers of food products in the 2019’s, the scale of female consumers is 2.5 times that of men. Their enthusiasm for purchasing substitute food is increasing day by day, and the consumption amount is also increasing year by year, contributing more than 70% of the consumption amount. In terms of repurchase rate, female consumers are also significantly higher than male consumers.
The post-90s and post-95s are the main consumers, with more than 70% of the buyers aged 18-30, and most of the young consumers are new customers. In the consumer market where young female consumers are the majority, a good substitute meal should meet three requirements: high efficiency, nutrition (low calorie) and delicious.
The proportion of consumption in new first tier and second tier cities is close to 50%, and the overall sales of substitute food have a steady growth rate of more than 50%.
About 40% of the company’s staff, more than 20% of the students, and 40% of the rest of the other professions.
In this way, we can see that the main target consumer groups in China’s food substitute market are the 18-30-year-old professional women and students living in the new first and second tier cities. They have higher requirements for the external image, so they are more willing to pay for the substitute food products.

The rise of substitute food market
What are the main types of participants?

In a broad sense, substitute food is a kind of packaging products used to replace dinner, such as instant food and instant food. In a narrow sense, it is a product that can meet the needs of fat reduction, body shaping and fast eating by optimizing product formula and shape. The common food substitutes include meal replacers, cereal bars, biscuits, light break drinks and so on. In recent years, not only a number of traditional food giants quickly cut into the substitute food market, but also more emerging brands are moving forward.
一线巨头争相布局:2019年1月,中粮发布具有减肥代餐功效的饼干新品;9月旺旺发布了旗下的健康零食品牌Fix Body;10月康师傅上架了一款名为“阳光优纤”的代餐棒;11月百草味推出子品牌“今日能量”系列产品,主打提供健康化能量补充,包括高蛋白烟熏牛肉和坚果棒棒;12月南方黑芝麻上线了一款早七点摇摇瓶,主打营养谷物代餐粥概念……
In 2020, in February, the international famous chocolate brand gefeisong created a zero alcohol dark chocolate rich in dietary fiber for fitness and fat-loss people. Subsequently, PepsiCo’s oatmeal brand guigeze and five grain mill jointly launched the first substitute milk shake “low calorie control”.
创业公司密集抢占赛道:2019年5月乐纯推出两款代餐粉,分别命名为“肌肤知道”和“瞬间启动”;同期,Smeal天猫旗舰店开售;超级零“三日燃卡餐”盒子上线一周销售额超200万;10月份,ffit8推出轻体蛋白棒、蛋白瓶切入市场;2019年,健康零食品牌LANDBASE重点打造的“每日黑巧”开始布局线下,并进入便利店、精品超市、Costa Coffee等门店;2020年4月,Wonderlab则与喜茶推出联名款奶昔;而轻断食果汁品牌Fruit和HeyJuice自推出之后也一直受到年轻女性的青睐。
Not only that, channel brands keep and mint health have also launched light food series products; while animal life, a brand focusing on low-carbon water health management, once sold its bulletproof coffee No.1 among Taobao’s similar products, and its annual revenue in 2019 exceeded 100 million yuan. In addition, foreign brands such as my protein, slimfast and other food substitute brands have entered the Chinese market through a variety of channels, and have many favourites. It can be said that with the increasing speed of substitute food track, the competition is becoming increasingly fierce.

Industry growth rate beyond imagination
The “small universe” of substitute food will break out

“Last year, when we just entered the track, we were very lonely. Both investors and the public were puzzled about what we were doing. With more and more friends entering the market, the catering agent began to enter the mass market and its reputation was improving.” In the view of Wang Ke, founder and CEO of super zero, in a short period of more than a year, meal substitutes have been moved from off the stage to the desktop, and niche products are ushering in the mass market.
According to the data of mainstream e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Jingdong, the total amount of online transactions of food substitute products reached 3.657 billion yuan in nearly one year in 2019. And Euromonitor International data also shows that the overall sales of food substitutes show a steady growth of more than 50%, and it is estimated that the sales volume of China’s substitute food market will reach 120 billion yuan in 2022.

At the same time, according to the data of Tianyan survey, there are more than 500 enterprises in China, whose business scope includes the keywords of “meal substitute, dietary fiber” or brand name including “meal substitute”. From the perspective of geographical distribution, the number of related enterprises in Chongqing ranks first, and Shandong and Guangdong are also the gathering places of such enterprises.
As the so-called “one white covers three ugliness, one fat destroys everything” precisely grasps the psychology of young people who want to “lie thin”, the food substitute market has undoubtedly become a new blue ocean for the food industry in the future.

Large scale market creates new opportunities
But what are the pain points to be solved?

However, the large-scale market also has a great opportunity to give birth to new giants, but with the increasingly fierce competition, there are also many problems that can not be ignored in the market.

In the current food substitute market, in addition to the competition among various food substitute brands, light food shops and offline gyms may be potential competitors. Because they are more close to consumers, and through years of market education, the idea of healthy weight-loss is deeply rooted. Undoubtedly, they will be strong snipers of the rise of the catering market.
According to the data of Tianyan survey, there are more than 5700 enterprise names in China, including “light food” and other keywords. The meituan review data also shows that the number of light food stores was only more than 600 at the end of 2017, which increased to more than 3500 in 2018, and the number of light food consumption orders in China increased by 75% year-on-year. Therefore, how to bypass or integrate with light food shops, offline gyms and other slimming methods harmoniously, must also be the pain point problem that the current catering enterprises need to solve urgently.
As the barriers of FMCG are not high and the cake is big enough, it attracts many businesses to enter the market. While the food substitute market is hot, there are undoubtedly more and more imitators and plagiarists in the market, which makes the product homogenization serious.

But services are where differences and barriers can be built. For example, in May last year, super zero took the lead in launching a series of box products with “five catties in three days”, which were widely sought after by the market. Subsequently, the super zero 3-day box continuously changed the menu, from the original convenient chicken breast meat, bag porridge, energy bar, substitute milk shake, to the present, such as roast chicken rice, chicken and tomato noodles, etc.; while the other generation of food brand Dongshi boldly created the dinner weight-loss products, promoted the 21 day meal subscription mode, and used the cold chain technology to freeze the prepared nutritious meal, which was delivered every 3 days 。 According to Yu Lide, founder and CEO of Dongshi, only products that meet China’s local consumer demand can users really stick to it and give more trust to the brand.

In the group standard of substitute food, the definition of substitute food is a kind of energy control product specially configured to meet the nutritional needs of one or two meals during weight control of adults. It is worth noting that this group standard clearly states that substitute food products can not replace all three meals.

During 618 this year, in less than a month, fitt 8 sold 810000 protein bars in Jingdong, tmall and other channels, with sales exceeding 10 million, setting a new sales record of protein bars in the whole network. According to Zhang Guangming, CEO of fitt 8, protein bars are suitable to replace one or two meals a day every day, or choose one day or two discontinuous days in a week for light fasting. In this way, it can not only achieve better weight loss effect, but also achieve balanced nutrition intake.
Meal replacement is not only a food and weight management product, but also an attitude towards life. To achieve the smooth fat reduction of users, it will reduce the cost of customer acquisition with the advantage of word-of-mouth communication, and personalized service will gradually become the focus of catering brand.
Source: nutrition and health industry

Past review

Preview of whole food 2020
Time: September 5-7, 2020
Venue: Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Center (181 Exhibition Road, Yinzhou District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province)
Exhibition hall: hall 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
Estimated exhibition scale: 79000 square meters, about 890 exhibitors
Estimated audience: 89000
Exhibit type: candy, snack, cake, imported food
Contact: 15810224093 Li Jun
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