China Food

Can “light salt” duplicate the road of “sugar free” popularity?

from “sugar free” to “light salt”, consumers begin to think about what kind of food is healthier, and future brands need to subtract formula more?

The concept of “sugar free” has reached an unprecedented height this year. Yuanqi forest, with the concept of “sugar free”, has risen rapidly, with an estimated value of 14 billion yuan in four years, which has set off a wave of sugar reduction in the food and beverage industry.

For a time, sugar free drinks marked with “0 sugar”, “0 card” and other labels filled all kinds of supermarket and store shelves, active in major content and social media platforms, and even became a popular lifestyle. In 2014, the total growth rate of the beverage industry was 11.76 billion yuan, far exceeding that of the sugar beverage industry in 2020.

The picture is from the official microblog of Yuanqi forest


Healthy diet has become a trend. With the gradual completion of the market education of sugar free drinks for consumers, on December 7, Xinhe June fresh and Dingxiang doctor launched a joint brand light soy sauce gift box online. The brand declared that it would open the era of “light salt”, which has attracted the attention and discussion of many netizens.

The picture is from the official microblog of @ Xinhe June fresh


We can see that under the influence of the sugar free trend, yogurt, Tangqiao and other products with high sugar content are gradually starting to run out of some good brands, such as Jane Eyre, Daiichi Heiqiao and so on. In addition to sugar free, consumers and brands are also beginning to pay attention to food health issues such as less oil and less salt. So, after “sugar free”, will the next potential category of food track be “light salt”?

Salt as an essential condiment,

Will open up a subdivision of the field

From a physiological point of view, salt is an indispensable component in human body, which is of great significance to maintain human health. But more and more studies show that excessive consumption of salt will make people suffer from many kinds of diseases. In China, the per capita consumption of salt is generally excessive. According to the national nutrition survey, the amount of salt used from the south to the North ranges from 12g to 15g, which is far more than the 6G prescribed by the World Health Organization. Excessive salt intake has a direct impact on physical injury.


From the perspective of food culture, salt is an indispensable condiment in people’s diet, and condiment is an important part of Chinese food and a representative of Chinese food culture. According to the latest survey report of Nomura Oriental International Securities on December 24, 2020, the condiment industry maintains a steady growth, with compound condiments and soy sauce accounting for a large proportion.


From the perspective of market data, combined with the data of Euromonitor International and China National Bureau of statistics, the cross validation estimates that the ex factory revenue of China’s condiment industry in 2019 is about 375.3 billion yuan, and the compound growth rate from 2012 to 2019 is 8.7%. In the market structure of Chinese condiments in 2019, compound condiments accounted for the largest proportion, and its proportion increased from 14.8% in 2013 to 20.6% in 2019. Among the single condiments, soy sauce accounted for the largest proportion of China’s condiment market (15.1%), pickles, sauces and vinegar accounted for 11.2%, 9.5% and 4.1% respectively.


In addition to vinegar, all of the above bulk condiments are basically inseparable from “salt”, that is to say, once the trend of “light salt” becomes mainstream, it may lead to changes in many food segments.


At present, some brands are ready to move on the track of traditional condiments or compound condiments, focusing on the concept of health and high-end concept. For example, three “light salt” gift boxes launched in June, including 8g light salt original sauce, 10g light salt original sauce and 12g light salt oyster sauce, are the only ones with patents in China Salt technology of soy sauce brand.


Previously, Haitian also released a new product “naked soy sauce” known as “Hermes in soy sauce industry”, which has two characteristics: one is less ingredients; the other is high price. The main ingredient is a minimalist formula. There are only five kinds of ingredients, including water, non genetically modified soybean, wheat, edible salt and white granulated sugar. The official price is 58.8 yuan / 460ml. In the field of compound condiments, by the end of 2020, the “flavoring” with “compound condiments” as its core product has also won a million yuan round of angel financing.

The picture is from the official flagship store of tmall Haitian

The change of consumers’ attitude towards food consumption,

Willing to pay for health

More than 90% of the public think that health is the most important thing. The public’s self-assessment of health has just reached the pass line. The younger the people are, the less confident they are about their health. Contemporary young people also have health problems. The post-80s and post-90s are facing the dual pressure of work and life. According to cbndata’s “tmall 2020 food trend report”, 50% of consumers purchased healthy food in 2019, and 83% of consumers actively adjusted their diet to prevent health diseases.

On the one hand, with the improvement of material living standards, people put forward higher requirements for healthy diet. More and more attention has been paid to the health concept of light salt, light oil and light sugar.


On the other hand, today’s market demand is more personalized. Through the connection of Internet tools, relying on the accumulation of consumption data and the insight of the crowd, the stratification of consumer groups is more obvious and the demand is more subdivided, forming a segmentation system of modern consumer groups. As a result, some segmentation fields are easier to get out of the circle, and the “niche” and “high-end” are becoming more and more popular in recent years It has become a label pursued by many consumers and brands.


Take Zhong Xuegao, a popular online brand known as “Hermes in the ice cream industry”, as an example, the ice cream brand was founded in March 2018. In 2020, it will win over Haagen Dazs, the “foreign giant” of the ice cream industry, and become the number one ice cream sales. In the same period of 2019, Zhong Xuegao’s “Ecuador pink diamond” ice cream is priced at 66 yuan per piece and sold out in one day.


From the product point of view, although Zhong Xuegao doesn’t have the idea of “health”, the “hidden feeling” of a piece of high priced ice-cream to consumers must be solid materials. On the other hand, as a typical new consumer brand, there are almost no traditional advertisements, and behind his enthusiasm for brand communication by social means, the brand is also well aware of the psychological changes and behavior of today’s consumers Machine.

The picture is from the flag store of tmall Lixiang


After that, Zhong Xuegao promoted the high-end dumpling brand – lixiangguo, and directly and clearly played the “health” brand, reducing the addition of food to restore the flavor of the food itself. (it’s interesting. I’ve evaluated it before. The taste is really light.)

Inspiration of light salt trend to food brands

As a matter of fact, the upgrading of household consumption in the Chinese market as early as 2013 has promoted the quality and functionalization of condiments. Some soy sauce enterprises have launched high-end products, such as low salt soy sauce, zero addition soy sauce and organic soy sauce, to meet consumers’ demand for healthy and natural diet. However, the process of high price market education at that time was once slow. But in the field of food, healthy, functional and complex has undoubtedly become a trend.


First of all, affected by uncertain social factors such as the epidemic situation in 2020, consumers will pay more and more attention to food health. As the post-90s consumers gradually grow into the mainstream, they are less price sensitive than previous generations, and are more willing to pay for healthy and high-end segmentation products. From the popularity of sugar free concept in the past two years, it can also remind brands that now is probably the best time for subdivision, high-end and healthy brand concept to enter the market. Similar to sugar free, “light salt” is also a subdivision of the current consumer trend, which may become the next wind in the food industry.


Secondly, it can be predicted that the competition in the health food market will be unprecedented fierce in the future. On the one hand, the old brand enterprises will accelerate the transformation and make full use of their traditional advantages to build a new moat; on the other hand, the new competitors will enter the market and expand rapidly. And consumers are constantly learning to establish their own knowledge system in the continuous market education, such as how to reasonably intake high-quality salt. This means that if the brand health products want to get the attention and continuous attention of consumers, they not only highlight the clear and detailed functions and real effects, but also need to improve the brand concept in order to win the trust of consumers in an all-round way.  


Finally, consumers are always in a contradiction: what they eat, use and do is more healthy. This kind of contradiction becomes more prominent with the modern fast-paced life: sleep, diet, exercise, lifestyle gradually out of control. Not only that, the rise of social media brings more anxiety and confusion: what is the right statement, what is a trustworthy brand. In this process, what consumers lack most is a sense of self-control over healthy life, which is also what brands need to help them rebuild.

This article material and map are from the network, please contact to delete infringement

Author: Han Yiyi; source: Shiqu Research Institute (ID: socialtouch 2020), reprint authorized.

Joining the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449);

Business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246).


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