China Food

How to stand out from the competitive category track? We interviewed eight new consumer brands

In the era of
, the test is not only the product’s innovation, but also the speed of brand innovation, the success rate and the ability to break the circle continuously. Looking forward to witness more “new era food brands” approaching new generation consumers through Isee.

Text: Keira Chen

Source: food daily (ID: food)

In recent years, with the changes of China’s new consumption environment, we have seen the rejuvenation of traditional giants in the food industry, the rise of many new and cutting-edge brands, and the rise of numerous Internet red brands from screen hegemony to silence New things are constantly changing, which not only enriches the market, but also reflects new development trends and new opportunities for the industry.
In the fight against the new epidemic situation, new products, new formats and new models such as unmanned distribution, online consumption and home service have developed rapidly, showing a strong growth potential. At the same time, it further stimulates the product innovation of the whole food and beverage industry, and also expedites the development and transformation of major and small brands.
“Let the good products be seen by more people”, foodaily launched the collection of Isee’s “double 11” fashion recommendation list on the eve of double 11, and held a grand launch of the list on October 30. We hope that this “Chaowei eating and drinking guide”, which accepts the postgraduate entrance examination of industry experts and super consumers, can really bring consumers a reference for consumption, and also bring more volume and diversion outside the station for the brand in the promotion period of the double 11.
Taking advantage of this rare opportunity to meet and communicate offline, we interviewed some brands on the list. Some of them have a history of more than 70 years, and some are still very young. However, they play an extremely important role in innovation driving force in the industry, no matter in category entry, crowd positioning, product quality, business model and business performance. Therefore, we hope that through this interview, we can have a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial story and original intention behind each brand, as well as their different playing methods and development experience, as well as their views on future trends.
The following is a summary of our communication with CEOs / managers of these brands. With the permission of the guests, we would like to share them with all colleagues who are working hard for food innovation. We hope to provide some innovative inspiration and reference for you. I believe that with the joint efforts of all of us, China’s food innovation will also bloom and continue to grow!
Find the core of differentiation and cut into the track
Do not miss every consumer demand and crowd
Although China’s demographic dividend has brought a huge market for the food industry, the huge market also means that the competition will be more intense. Therefore, if a brand wants to improve its competitiveness and quickly gain the attention and recognition of consumers and the market, it is necessary to have a comprehensive insight into different consumer needs, and accurately locate the crowd, so as to make the products consumers really want. This point is particularly obvious in the new brand.
Yongpu: constantly optimize the supply chain and make coffee convenient for everyone to drink
At present, the consumption of coffee in China is growing rapidly, especially in the post-90s. According to the data of prospective industry research institute, the scale of China’s coffee consumption market was about 70 billion yuan in 2015, accounting for 0.5% of the global market; while the annual growth rate of China’s coffee consumption was about 15%. It is estimated that the sales scale of China’s coffee market will reach 300 billion yuan in 2020 and exceed 1 trillion yuan in 2025.
With the rapid increase of consumer demand and driven by personal interest, uncle Tiepi founded yongpu at the end of 2014, hoping to solve the problem that people want to drink coffee anytime, anywhere. The development of yongpu has gone through different stages: from the beginning of hanging ear coffee, to the production of portable cold extract coffee liquid and freeze-dried coffee powder, and now the normal temperature coffee liquid, the brand has been exploring all the way. What kind of coffee is the most convenient coffee?
In Uncle Tiepi’s opinion, only normal temperature coffee liquid is the most grounded “convenient coffee”. It does not need to be stored in cold storage, nor does it dissolve when brewing like freeze-dried coffee powder. It can also be taken with you. It is very convenient to drink. Moreover, in the domestic coffee market at that time, normal temperature coffee liquid was also a very novel concept. Due to the lack of innovation in the domestic supply chain at that time, the founding team looked for suppliers who could support it everywhere, and finally found a famous coffee liquor family supplier in Japan. Both of them jointly developed yongpu coffee’s current flash extraction normal temperature coffee liquid.
Zuo Dashi: create a new way of seasoning, so that young people can eat and eat better
Lazy house economy is in charge, which promotes the rapid development of takeout industry, and the innovation of channels also gives birth to the innovation of brands and products. Especially this year, due to the impact of the epidemic, home service has become an opportunity for the unexpected rise, and Internet catering brands such as Zuo Da Shi have further entered the public view.
Most of the start-up teams of Zuo Dashi come from the top executives of meituan and hungry mo. because they value the huge condiment market in China, they make perfect use of their own advantages to establish the brand of zodashi. Mr. Li Ji, the co-founder of the brand, told us: “China’s food market is very large. On the one hand, there are 5 million small and medium-sized restaurants in China. On the other hand, hundreds of millions of white-collar young people in China are unable to eat delicious food quickly because of the pressure of the pace of work and life. Therefore, the original intention of our business is to use the new form of takeout platform So that more people can taste the delicious food of different tastes from all over the country. Therefore, we have developed various kinds of accompaniment products of bibimbap, porridge and noodles.
At the same time, this group also has a characteristic – away from cooking, the demand for food is increasing, but cooking skills are declining, cooking time is decreasing. Therefore, we want to make some new seasoning products that we hope to target these consumers in the new era, namely “Haowei chuguo” series, including beef in sour soup, chicken in bowl, spicy pot, hot pot seasoning, etc., which can make consumers become chefs and solve the problem that they can’t cook and can’t cook well. “
Space carving: Aiming at the needs of the minority, make a Michelin spaghetti at home in 15 minutes
The epidemic situation in the first half of this year has greatly affected the physical catering industry, and the rapid development of convenient and fast food. Different from the traditional instant noodles and the recently popular snail powder and other regional delicacies, space carving, as a “new way” category of the track, has attracted the attention of many food circles and rapidly accumulated a large number of fans.
“15 minutes at home to easily make Michelin spaghetti” is the original intention of the creation of space, but also their goal of continuous innovation. It creatively “melts” pasta and provides it with all the elements of Western pasta, hoping to make the traditional cooking method “handy”.
In the words of Wang Yichao, co-founder of space engraving, pasta is very complicated in foreign countries, and the raw materials needed are not very easy to buy in China, such as pre seasoning with sea salt, flavoring with parmesan cheese, and olive oil For the general domestic western food lovers, he just wants to have a delicious and exquisite Western food, and he is not very willing to pay so much energy to do it by himself. Therefore, it is not easy to tell this story to consumers. It is not easy for them to know this noodles. It also wants to let them feel the intention of the brand and experience an authentic western style pasta easily.
To a certain extent, because of its accurate hit in this “blind spot”, space carving has not only created a brand-new western style fast food track that meets the needs of young people, but also has gained the voice of this brand-new track, which has inspired the innovation and Entrepreneurship of the industry.
Rice wine: a new national rice wine for young women
Rice wine has recently become the new favorite of the drink track. Its innovation lies in focusing on the traditional category of rice wine, and more and more doting urban female users, hoping to provide them with a life attitude of shallow drinking and enjoying life, rather than the traditional social tool wine. This market trend of “pleasing oneself, slightly drunk and ritualistic” is particularly obvious this year.
At the same time, the brand creates different product series for various daily consumption scenarios of its core consumer groups: classic original flavor of Osmanthus flavor, for family scenes suitable for all ages; Weitian series, aiming at single women, hoping that they can relax after work and enjoy themselves; in 2020, the brand will break the traditional rice wine and launch a new online red rice wine series, adding to the national trend of retro atmosphere Quality, through 3.5 degrees low alcohol, interesting bubble feeling, sweet and good entrance to warm urban young people. Just as Ms. Jiang Xiaoyun, founder of Mickey, said: breaking down barriers and living traditional categories is a new way to enter the life of young people!
Whollymolly! Good!: she’s growing up in the economy. She’s drinking healthy bran drinks

In the past two years, the characteristics of women’s love of beauty, sharing and tasting fresh food make “her consumption” a force that can not be ignored. The pursuit of beauty by a new generation of young women is not only reflected in the consumption of cosmetics, skin care products and other external beauty. More and more female consumers are aware of the important impact of their internal health, especially intestinal health, on beauty.  

The trend of healthy beauty drives consumers to pursue natural and healthy food materials. Haoli, as the advocator of food coarsening, establishes its own brand value in the aspect of healthy diet life, and constantly develops products with unique advantages in combination with consumer demand. Meimei berry rice bran drink is an example. It uses the “best beauty CP” high fiber oat bran and high anthocyanin black rice of blackberry fruit in Thailand to achieve the effect of clearing intestines and beautifying the face, and is committed to bringing consumers the experience of “light physical and mental burden and filling good state”.

It can be seen that no matter what brand, can not be separated from the market demand and consumer groups. Especially in the face of generation Z, as the main consumer, they have their own circle culture and language expression. Compared with generation X and Generation Y, they have more distinct labels: time fragmentation, love eating one person, advocating convenience and fast, but yearning for high quality and high quality. These labels are essential to the brand.
Become a representative of the subdivided categories,
What is their core strategy for product innovation?
Without innovation, the brand may die. The words are rude but reasonable. In the interview, we heard countless times that brand managers mentioned the word “product innovation” and stressed its importance.
In fact, the outbreak of the epidemic has pushed the fast forward button for food innovation, and the trend of socialization, health and consumption classification is accelerating. Enterprises of different sizes and different natures are interpreting the word in different ways. What are the core strategies for today’s leaders in their respective categories?
First of all, it is the guarantee of high quality.
With the improvement of public awareness of comprehensive nutrition, quality of life and consumer demand, dairy products also ushered in opportunities and challenges. Consumers’ pursuit of healthy life has become the biggest driving force of dairy market growth. Since entering the mainland market in 2001, Weiquan has become one of the representatives of refrigerated dairy drinks. Its products from the selection of ingredients to the process technology are constantly improving, which not only makes the product and the consumer market fit higher, but also makes the quality and taste of the double protection. President Xie zongpeng said that Weiquan’s advantages lie in the product itself, that is, it has accumulated more than 60 years of category research and development, stable product quality, market insight and unique marketing mode.
Lanfangyuan, known as the “ancestor of Hong Kong style milk tea”, was founded in 1952 and has been popular in Hong Kong for more than half a century. Its founder, Mr. Lin Lin He, pioneered silk stockings milk tea and Mandarin Duck milk tea. The skills of silk stockings milk tea have been included in Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage. As a famous brand relying on the category of milk tea, lanfangyuan pays special attention to the inheritance of skills and has always adhered to the quality of products. It has won the world quality appraisal award and the itqi “top delicious Medal”, making lanfangyuan an internationally recognized high-quality milk tea.
Wang Yichao, co-founder of space engraving, also said that brand value is the foundation of its development, and it is necessary to consistently provide Michelin grade pasta for consumers. Therefore, the selection of raw materials, the development of taste and formula, and the production process are all carefully explored after hundreds of times of research and development by the team. In order to make the product truly possess the Michelin level texture, the brand is also specially employed A Michelin 3-star chef in Italy will work together to develop this product.
Secondly, the flexible application of channels.
Satoshi is relatively unique among these brands because it relies more on channels than other brands. For two different product lines, the corresponding strategies are also different: in the takeout buffet port, the brand follows the principle of “developing products around channels”, while for the haoweichuguo series, which is directly oriented to consumers, it follows “developing channels around commodities”. How to explain this sentence?
Mr. Li Ji explained: “since rice instant food has a 30 minute delivery platform requirement, it is not possible that all the seasoning is done in the kitchen. In addition, 80% of China’s takeout market a year, i.e., 10-20 billion orders are focused on simple meal brands such as Gai Shui fan, Gai Shui Mian, and dumplings. They have a high demand for sauce. Therefore, we can find the products suitable for this scene or region after analyzing the data of the big platform, and then we can select the suitable food products according to different categories of different channels and find high-quality suppliers Partners, upgrading the quality is “developing products around channels”. For the latter, the brand’s approach is to select the catering tastes and food that consumers prefer at present, especially those with local characteristics, and then use various social grass planting channels such as tmall and xiaohongshu to find the target group, and constantly strengthen and expand the influence of these channels. “
Like Miko, it will pay special attention to the layout of offline channels. After all, “consumers will want to drink wine immediately” after all, which has become the difference between it and other liquor brands.
What are the advantages or barriers to competition compared with competitive products?
In the same track and field, these well-developed brands will inevitably be compared with other “competitive products” by the industry and consumers. We asked similar questions with a tentative mentality, but the feedback from the managers showed us the confidence of each brand manager, the advantages of each brand behind their confidence, and their opinions and attitudes towards this field.
It is not difficult to find that brands are becoming more and more inclusive. They can not only give full play to the advantages of their own teams to create their own styles, but also use the power of other platforms more open to make use of them. Instead of being trapped in these comparisons and imitations, they set higher demands on themselves.
Yongpu is a young team, and the founder uncle Tiepi himself graduated from the Chinese Academy of fine arts, so he is also a team full of artistic genes. In their opinion, the importance of the supply chain needs no more words, and it is also the focus of brand building. But in addition, it is also an important part to make products have high appearance value and “attract consumers’ eyes with appearance”. This is perfectly reflected in their unique product packaging with unique personal characteristics.
As the largest leisure food listed company in Japan, kalobi has achieved the “combination of China and Japan” in product innovation and development in China. Mr. Deng haideqian, deputy general manager of China market of kalobi, told us that the brand, relying on its excellent and complete product research and development and production technology in Japan, will bring the most popular products in Japan to China and make localization for domestic consumers. Especially for the general trend of functional and healthy leisure food in China, the team also considered to make corresponding adjustments in further research and development: delicious, taste, health and “beautiful”, so as to make the products not only more nutritious, but also enable consumers to realize the desire of eating more and more beautiful.
They also say that their greatest advantage and proudest is their ability to innovate products, that is, to subvert consumers’ consumption behavior of eating western food, and to create a sub category of convenient pasta. At the same time, as the consumers are in the middle and high-end class, they will be more pursuit of excellence in the control of product principle, and maintain the irreplaceable brand.
In this regard, Zuo Dashi said frankly, for any brand, product strength and brand strength are certainly the core competitiveness, but for a company which has only been established for more than a year, they also have a special competitiveness channel. By cooperating with tens of thousands of takeaway restaurants in more than a dozen first tier cities in China, millions of consumers can taste their products every month. And the key point is that, unlike the traffic delivered by platforms like tmall, these traffic is free for them, and it can also bring profits, so this has become a great competitive advantage for zodashi. When asked about the layout of the future, Mr. Li Ji revealed that the future promotion of new products will refer to Jiang Xiaobai’s practice in the past few years and constantly expand the catering channels so that more and more consumers can experience the products offline.
In view of the topic of “competitive products”, Zuo Dashi also expressed his own views: “in fact, there are many traditional seasoning brands in this industry, such as Laoganma, Li Jinji, etc., but in fact, we have made different models. They are using traditional channels to make traditional goods and serve more traditional people. So we are using new channels to make new products and serve new people. So it can’t be said to be a complete match. For our goal, we hope that we can be like “millet in the seasoning industry”, create a new way for new people to pursue delicious food, and further serve the needs of different scenes. “
What do brands think of future category trends and opportunities?
1. Healthy functional food is the focus of development
Nowadays, in the face of the global epidemic, Chinese consumers pay more and more attention to the balanced diet, nutrition and health, as well as the quality of life and pleasant mood. In this consumer insight, products with high protein, sugar, fat, low calorie and other health attributes will increasingly highlight their market value.
According to the trend of global dairy retail market, it can be found that the per capita consumption of dairy products in China is still small, but the dairy market and growth momentum are huge. Especially in today’s high-quality and healthy diet lifestyle, dairy products are promising in the future. “Dairy products are the top priority of refrigerated products. To become a leading food company in the world, we must manage dairy products,” said Xie zongpeng, President of Weiquan’s mainland business Therefore, Weiquan dairy will continue to be positioned as high-end, fresh and high-quality dairy products. It is committed to cultivate and promote low-temperature dairy products, and strengthen research and development innovation and supply chain high-quality control.
At the same time, lanfangyuan, a brand of milk tea with social and online properties, also puts forward higher requirements on the product itself, hoping to make a healthier product with standardized and high-level production technology, so as to distinguish it from the milk tea drinks provided by offline milk tea shops. In order to satisfy consumers’ double pursuit of taste and health, lanfangyuan launched lanfangyuan Tanggang style tea. This milk tea makes fresh milk and post season black tea with traditional Hong Kong style tea technology. It does not contain any sugar substitute, sucrose and sugar from starch hydrolysate. It is a milk tea with no sugar substitution, sugar substitution and sugar from starch hydrolysate. It is a milk tea with no sugar substitution and sugar substitution.
So in the face of condiments often associated with additives, how does Satoshi make products healthy? Mr. Li Ji expressed his view: “people’s health needs are divided into” non unhealthy “needs and” healthy “needs. Whether it’s condiment or food, what we’re doing now is “de unhealthy”, such as zero addition, low sugar, low calorie and low fat, which belongs to non unhealthy; and the real health is reflected in the nutrients. For example, relatively high-end people need to upgrade their food materials, such as original ecological food materials, visible large grain food materials, or more healthy food materials. The end of the food industry will be the same source of medicine and food, which should not only meet the taste and nutrition needs of users, but also meet the cost and price requirements. “
2. Do not blindly expand products, do the category innovation that the market and consumers really need
In the interview, we can see that everyone has a consistent view on product innovation: innovative products must be based on the needs of the market and users, not blindly do innovative products for the sake of innovation.
“Everyone is optimistic about the future prospects of the coffee track, which can be said to be one of the fastest growing tracks in China’s fast food consumption. We don’t think it’s good to drink coffee in the future. I think that to achieve these four points is the product with the strongest demand in the market, which is also the direction yongpu has been striving for. “
At the same time, he also mentioned that when the team noticed the consumer’s demand for instant milk tea that is convenient and healthy, it also made a new attempt quickly, that is, to provide everyone with a milk tea that is convenient to drink at home or in the office. For example, this year’s black tea concentrate, 0 sugar and 0 fat, is not only healthy, but also DIY, but also to enhance consumers’ emotional recognition of the brand.
To solve this problem, we also interviewed the founder of the western-style convenient pasta track, and got the answer: the brand will continue to cultivate in the pasta category, focus on polishing products, and upgrade the Internet technology and logistics technology, so as to continuously improve the experience of consumers making Michelin grade pasta at home.
3. Grasp the flow dividend of social e-commerce and strengthen brand communication
Due to the impact of this year’s new epidemic, consumers’ time at home has increased significantly, thus changing their shopping habits and further improving the penetration rate of social e-commerce. Chuangqi social e-commerce research center predicts that the transaction volume of social e-commerce will reach 3.54 trillion yuan in 2020, and social e-commerce accounts for 30% of the national online retail transaction volume. For a time, it seems that all brands are doing live delivery and social grass planting. Undoubtedly, the rise of social e-commerce is a major turning point for the food industry.
In this regard, the managers of various brands have also expressed their own opinions.
Ms. Jiang Xiaoyun, founder of Miko, said that for online content operation, Miko mainly focuses on leading the market and making brand exposure, rather than simply selling goods. Otherwise, the market and content operation will be separated. As for the social grass planting which has been done well, it has become a part of the normalization of brand operation.
In this regard, uncle Tiepi raised a question for us, which is also worthy of our consideration: “as for live broadcasting, I would like to say in particular that you must realize that this is a double-edged sword. If you do more, you can naturally get higher exposure and traffic. However, it is also easy for users to form a kind of inertia, and they are not willing to buy products of this brand when they are not live 。 In yongpu’s opinion, brand must be more important. “
In your opinion, which is more important, brand or traffic?
Isee, let good products be seen by more people
Let good products be seen by more people is the original intention of this Isee recommendation list, and also the original intention and starting point of Isee. We believe that every good product and brand should be seen by the industry, and we expect every good product and brand to be seen by more consumers.
For enterprises, in the environment of accelerated food innovation, we need to consider not only the current situation, but also the changing market and consumers, and how to bring greater value to the industry and consumers. At the same time, we also expect to have more interaction and links with all the innovative brands, and we also hope to promote China’s food innovation forward with a modest force.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your time to attend our press conference and interview. See you at the Isee Food Innovation Award in 2021!
Join the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449);
Business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246).
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