China Food

Substitute meal, the real demand and false outlet of a 100 billion market

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A 603.1-trillion-class substitute food industry is booming?
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“It’s very dangerous to eat food from other countries. With chopsticks, you will inevitably lose your cultural ownership and shake your most fundamental identity. ”
In the book shark’s fin and pepper, British food writer Fu Xia used such a sentence to describe the differences between Chinese and Western food culture.
However, the popularity of substitute food seems to be breaking the barriers of Chinese and Western food culture.
100 billion tuyere
Capital is always the first to smell the wind of the times. In the first half of the year when the economy was cold, the popularity of the food substitute market was amazing. Many food substitute brands, such as wonderlab, fit8, Wang satin and Dongshi, completed a large number of financing.
The performance of substitute food products in the sales side is also bright enough. Cbndata “functional nutrition substitute market consumption trend” shows that in the past year, the consumption amount and number of consumers in the domestic food substitute market have shown a rapid growth of 50%.
Behind the rapid expansion, there is a huge space for the domestic catering market.
According to the data of global industry, in 2018, the size of the catering market in the United States has exceeded $20 billion, and will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.64% by 2025.
At present, the scale of the domestic catering market is only about 20 billion, and it is expected to reach 120 billion in 2022. This means that in the past two years, there will be 100 billion level of market space explosive growth.
However, the definition of substitute meal is vague, and the literal explanation of “substitute for dinner” is meaningless in many scenes of substitute meal.
So, it is better to think from another angle: who is eating substitute food?
As early as the 1920s, Americans hoped to invent a pill to solve the food and population crisis. In the 1960s, with the development of space industry, convenient and nutritious space food became the first prototype of meal substitute. Until 1986, the energy bar, which is commonly used today, was created by Canadian marathon athletes. Its purpose is to“ Help athletes stay in the long distance.
At present, the two main audiences of meal substitute products in western countries are people who exercise and have no time to eat dinner. In China, the biggest buyers are those who need to lose weight.
From the “food substitute” at the beginning of its birth to the distinctive weight-loss products, the development process of substitute meal shows that it is endowed with more significance in terms of demand: high efficiency, convenience, satiety, nutrition, health
Chen silent, vice president of Yuanjing capital investment, who participated in the “super zero” investment project, believes that “the choice of substitute food is not simply a choice of a product, but a healthier lifestyle.”
The particularity of the definition of meal substitute products determines the diversity of its categories. Low fat dinner, substitute snacks and weight management are all the subdivision fields involved in substitute meal. Whether it’s low-fat Ramen with Konjac silk instead of noodles, common meal substitute milk shake energy bar, or providing a whole set of fat reduction programs, they are the application of meal substitute products in different scenarios.
These food substitutes in different scenarios attract consumers with incomplete overlap. Behind this superimposed effect, there is a huge potential volume of the food substitute market.
Three legs stand together
There is no doubt that the market scale and potential of the substitute food market are huge.
But that doesn’t mean that the pool is big enough, and there are more Koi.
In recent years, the emerging new online brands, the traditional food giants testing water for food and the overseas brands popular in Europe and the United States have formed a situation of “tripartite confrontation” in the catering market, and their respective advantages and limitations are gradually emerging in the competition.
1. A new brand of online celebrity:
Under the double blessing of market and capital, a lot of new online brands have been launched. For example, Wang Satin’s fruit oatmeal, Luo Yonghao’s fit8 protein bar, and wonderlab milkshakes, which are advertised wildly in the circle of friends emerge in an endless stream.
The birth of “online celebrities” is often the result of the joint action of capital, products and marketing. These online red food substitute brands carry obvious “Internet gene”, and the whole process of celebrity endorsement, blogger promotion, live delivery and online sales is the same as the online red products such as electric toothbrush and fascial gun that are promoted by various bloggers at regular intervals.
For all online celebrities, the biggest problem is: how not to be replaced by new online celebrities.
In fact, most of the light food substitutes on the market are OEM products. They may come from the same OEM factory with similar taste, formula, or even similar packaging and marketing.
Online red products out of the circle follow-up, is the emergence of more “imitations.”. For example, the production and processing technology threshold of some yoghurt and fruit cereals are very low, which leads to numerous similar products.
For the new brand of online Red meal, red or not red may not be the standard to be considered. How long can it be red.
2. Traditional food giant
The barriers to the new brand of wanghong have not been completely established, and traditional food giants have begun to carve up the substitute food market. For example, Master Kang’s “sunshine Youxian”, Wangwang’s health snack brand fix body, and liangpin’s food substitute brand “liangpin Feiyang”
For the food substitute market, the traditional food giant’s joining is undoubtedly “invigorating the field”. When super players enter the market, on the one hand, it is a proof that they are optimistic about the market potential of food substitutes; on the other hand, there are still a small number of substitute meal users, and large players are needed to educate the market.
However, this is like a sword of Damocles for the new brand of wanghong.
Recently, liangpin store launched the “liangpin Feiyang” protein milk shake, which is similar to wonderlab milk shake in product form, and even comes from the same OEM Factory Hangzhou Hengmei. At present, the price of good quality Feiyang milkshakes in tmall is 89 yuan (6), while that of wonderlab milkshakes is 149 yuan (6).
And in the core technology, industry giants are obviously more “able to fight.”. For example, liangpin Feiyang milkshake has “triple sugar control black technology” (one low sugar rise, two interference sugars and three suppressed sugars). It is said that it has applied for a national patent, which is the unique technology of liangpin shop.
The more basic categories, the more difficult it is to run out of a new brand, and the easier it is to be occupied by super players.
The success or failure between the new brand and super players depends on the dual innovation ability of products and playing methods.
3. Overseas brands
According to Euromonitor International, China’s market is currently the fastest growing food substitute market in the world, and the market size is expected to reach 120 billion yuan in 2022. However, the data also show that the penetration rate of substitute food products in European and American markets is as high as 90%, while that of domestic substitute food market is only 40%.
Image source: cbndata
Low penetration and high growth rate mean that China’s food substitute market is still a vast virgin land, and foreign substitute brands will naturally not let go. Not only traditional food giants such as Nestle and PepsiCo have launched meal substitute products, but also foreign emerging food substitute brands such as Smeal and huel have entered the Chinese market through cooperation with e-commerce platforms such as Jingdong and tmall.
According to some reports, Smeal is the catering brand created by Chinese Cao Peng in New Zealand: it started from the supermarkets in New Zealand and entered the Chinese market in May 2018. According to Cao Peng, Smeal has been on-line in China for only one year, and its single product sales have exceeded 20 million bottles, and the repurchase rate is about 20%.
In terms of marketing, the company has planned the “China grass planting plan”, which has become a hot money in the small red book in six months, and the number of grass growers is more than 500000. In the supply chain, Smeal does not look for OEM, and transforms the pharmaceutical factory into its own production line, which can develop complex product formula, which is more technical.
Overseas brands are usually “acclimatized” when they enter China, but the “overseas brands” created by the Chinese themselves seem to be able to play well.
Due to its obvious advantages in raw materials and supply chain, as well as higher recognition and consumption habits of overseas brands by consumers in the field of sports and fitness, it is not difficult for overseas catering brands to gain a share of the Chinese market as long as they can adapt to the domestic consumer demand and Internet play.
How to establish the core barrier for the new brand of online celebrity which depends on the marketing to brush the screen out of the circle? Will the traditional food giants, which have not entered the market with high profile, continue to increase the size? Can overseas brands meet domestic consumption demand?
These problems will determine the future trend of China’s food substitute market.
Difficulties in reality
The catering market is hot, capital is pouring in, and new brands are springing up. But is the future of substitute food really bright?
The demand is true, but the tuyere may be a fake one.
From the perspective of market development, foreign meal substitutes were initially used as nutritional supplements for exercise and fitness groups, and then gradually transformed into health management products suitable for a wider range of people, and now they have become real popular food. At present, the domestic food substitute market is still in the early stage of the second stage. It remains to be observed if we want to truly complete the market education and move towards the third stage.
From the perspective of sales channels, the sales channels of foreign food substitute products are more extensive, which is already a daily life for consumers. However, many substitute food products are only sold online in China, and the frequency of occurrence in daily consumption scenarios is very low, which does not reach most consumers.
In addition, the price of substitute food products is higher. Instead of spending 20 yuan to buy a bottle of substitute milk shake, we are more willing to order a takeout. There is still a long way to go for market cultivation.
In the view of Zhang Guangming, founder of fit8, “competitors may be restaurants nearby, or a bowl of instant noodles. Your competitors come from all over the world, and they may not focus on the competition among catering companies at all.”
The eight generation of fit8 bar
Even if the differences between domestic and foreign markets are put aside, substitute food products themselves are a natural dilemma.
According to the “comparative test report of 2020 young food substitute meal powder” issued by Shenzhen municipal consumer committee, the measured values of some nutritional indicators of COFCO Tianke, Smeal, Netease strict selection and Bishengyuan do not meet the requirements of GB 28050-2011 “general principles for nutrition labeling of prepackaged food”.
Image source: comparative test report of young food substitute meal powder in 2020
That is to say, the effect of low-fat, high protein and high nutrition of the meal substitute is likely to be questionable. If the large brands that have been checked are still like this, how can we ensure that those small brands do not fake?
For the catering industry, between “demand” and “tuyere”, we should also consider “reality”.
The road to defeat a 6031
The domestic catering industry is still in its infancy, and the future development trend and path are not clear. However, taking the development of substitute food products abroad as a reference, we can see the following trends:
1. The key to the future substitute food consumption is to develop new scenes
The meal substitute products designed by American Soylent company for office workers are not limited to weight management, but to solve the problem of “what to eat today” for busy office workers. It is said that after taking out a cup of Soylent meal substitute, he is full of vigor and has the basic nutrition needed by his body. As a result, Soylent has quickly become the gospel of Silicon Valley’s “more money, less words, and early death”. It has deeply moved a large number of young, rational and highly educated straight men in the technology industry. Unlike the domestic substitute food products, they are mainly aimed at women who lose weight.
In the fierce competition, only by constantly developing new scenes and new users can we leap from “Red Sea” to “blue ocean”.
2. Comprehensive customized service is the future trend
Behind the meal substitute is the pursuit of healthy, self-discipline and efficient lifestyle of consumers. When the essence of consumers’ demand becomes a way of life, what brands need to provide is not only products, but services.
Atkins, which accounts for the largest share of the US catering market, provides a comprehensive customization service of “weight loss app + data tracking + customized exclusive meal substitute products”. Turning products into services, on the one hand, increases the user’s dependence on the brand, on the other hand, it also increases the added value of the brand.
For the more and more busy people who want to lose weight, the “one-stop” service is the first choice for lazy people. After all, most of the people who choose to substitute meals are lazy people who are “easy to be thin”.
Data source: Euromonitor International Image Source: fbif food and beverage innovation
3. Brand connotation and community will be barriers
Herbalife has a place in both the United States and China. The core of its success is not only the product, but also the unique club community model: it brings together users with the same needs, and provides them with a life scene, where they can exercise, communicate and eat substitute meals together. Herbalife offers a way of life.
It is an indisputable fact that the potential of the domestic food substitute market is undeniable. However, in the current situation of unstable market structure and the continuous influx of large and small players, how to break through the encirclement of substitute food brand needs to go back to our original thinking: what kind of life style are people choosing when they choose to substitute food?
The different answers to this question are the different paths that different brands choose. Emerging industries seem to have all the way to Rome, but in fact they are full of traps and scared step by step.
Opportunities and challenges coexist: in terms of the current development stage of China’s food substitute market, no matter it is the new online brand, traditional food giant or overseas brand, we are still on the same starting line for the time being.
Reference:
1. Refining gymsquare in “substitute for meals: a biography of the new Dinner”
2. Is meal substitute an IQ tax or a gold black hole? 》New consumer business observation
3. “China’s market with the largest obesity population in the world, Yili, Wahaha, Herbalife and other giants have set up the weight management catering market” fbif food and beverage innovation
4. Consumption trend of functional nutrition substitute market cbndata
5. Trend analysis report of tmall food industry cbndata
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