China Food

“Lean young people” and “fatten” the 100 billion meal market

Behind the rapid rise of the industry is actually the upgrading of the whole track crowd. When healthy diet has become the just need of young people, substitute food is naturally a good business.

There is no doubt that the past year 2020 is the year of catering.
High protein, slimming, low calorie, high satiety This concept is a high-frequency word in the field of food. Chicken breast, konjac toast, milkshakes, protein bars, substitute meal Zero sugar zero fat bubble water and other products are emerging in an endless stream.


Data source: cbndata consumption big data
According to cbndata’s “consumer insight report on light food in 2020”, the number of Chinese catering brands will increase from 2837 in 2019 to 3540 in 2020.


Shark fit chicken breast
In addition to fit8, Smeal, Wang satiety, wonderlab, shark fit, super zero, beast life, keep, Gudong, mint health and other weight loss apps have also launched meal substitute products.

Super zero
Traditional food enterprises are not willing to lag behind: COFCO has launched biscuits with the effect of reducing weight, Wangwang has launched fix body, a healthy snack brand, and Wugu mill has launched “eat a rainbow” cereal brand. Health food brands such as Tomson Beijian and Herbalife also launched meal replacer powder, meal replacer milkshake and other products.
COFCO Yuehuo wheat bran oatmeal biscuit
From having enough to eating well, Chinese people are experiencing a state of upgrading from basic food and clothing to better eating. With the improvement and maturity of the supply chain, substitute food products have developed from “expensive and tasteless” to “delicious and healthy”.
Mint healthy diet milkshake
We sell hundreds of millions of protein bars, Zero sugar, zero calorie bubble water, millions of milkshakes, cereal, chicken breasts What are young people eating in the future? Is substitute food really just needed?
Want to eat and want to be thin, young people’s anxiety is worth hundreds of billions
“If you buy a fitness card, it’s equivalent to practicing. If you watch a small online fitness video, it’s equivalent to doing it.” Xiaoru said to the author, “before running for a few days, I was still fat. Pamela jumped several times and didn’t lose weight. The peppermint diet didn’t stick to it, so the weight loss in this period came to an end.”


Weight loss is a topic that beauty lovers, especially girls, often talk about. But want to lose weight and no time (lazy), weekend more want to lie down, like Xiaoru so want to “lie thin” young people are too many. Under the guidance of the seller, their eyes naturally fall on the meal.
Substitute meal, as the name suggests, is to replace part or all of the dinner food. In addition to fast and convenient to provide a large number of nutrients for the human body, meal substitute has the characteristics of high fiber, low calorie, easy to satiety and so on.

The earliest meal substitute can be traced back to the energy bar of the space laboratory. However, the most representative meal substitute product is Soylent, which was founded in 2013. At that time, rhinohart, a programmer in Silicon Valley, in order to solve the problem that code farmers did not have time to eat but needed to get enough nutrition, he put all kinds of nutrients needed by human body into pourable powder and put them into bags through consulting data.

The king is full of konjac soup
Meal substitute food is generally divided into daily meal substitute and functional meal substitute. From the product form, there are meal substitute powder, meal substitute milkshake, meal substitute porridge, meal substitute snack; from the product category, there are meal substitute snack, meal substitute beef, meal substitute cereal, etc. Meal replacement belongs to the cross field of food and weight loss. It is more convenient and healthy to lose weight, which undoubtedly hits the pain point of more users. Especially in China, diet and weight loss are more closely tied.

In addition, the number of obese people in China has reached more than 250 million in 2019, and the health problems caused by obesity have gradually become the focus of social attention. In addition, the new crown epidemic has further stimulated people’s pursuit of weight control and healthy life, and the substitute food market has sprung up.
Eat a rainbow fruit cereal
Through “buy” to eat healthy young people, naturally willing to krypton gold. According to tmall data, this year’s sales of light food categories increased by 290% year on year. The number of people who consume substitute food has increased by 78% in the past three years, and the annual consumption per capita is more than 3000 yuan.
During the first wave of double 11 promotion in 2020, Smeal, which has been established for only one and a half years, has become the number one in the sales volume of the new substitute food category under the natural powder food category; wonderlab has sold 500000 bottles of substitute food milkshakes in two hours; during the double 11 promotion period, the total number of Omni channel orders of fit8 has increased by 2003% year-on-year.

Pastoral whole wheat bread
Even Yuanqi forest also focuses on light food instead of food. A few days ago, Yuanqi forest took a stake in the parent company of light food brand “idyllism”. It can be said that Yuanqi forest started from “sugar free” and focused on healthy life. In addition to its own sugar free drinks and Beihai ranch yogurt, its online small app wechat mall also has low calorie snack products of wonderlab, fit8 and other brands.
A protein bar sells 100 million yuan a year
Behind the rapid rise of the industry is actually the upgrading of the whole track crowd. When healthy diet has become the just need of young people, substitute food is naturally a good business.
Fit8 protein bar
Among them, the most representative is fit8, whose light weight meal substitute protein bar is on-line, and Xiaomi has product crowdfunding, with 24-hour sales of more than 4 million yuan. In April, fit8 landed in Luo Yonghao’s live studio, with the sales volume of 45000 boxes for the first time. This year’s double 11, fit8 won the top 1 of the “nutrition digestion biscuit” sub category. In 2020 alone, the total sales volume of fit8 exceeded 100 million yuan.

Zhang Guangming, founder of fit8

Zhang Guangming, founder of fit8, was a nutrition and weight management consultant for China’s Olympic preparation, providing nutrition and weight management services for athletes of various national training teams. Based on his long-term experience in the nutrition industry, Zhang Guangming found that in the diet of contemporary Chinese people, there are excess energy and insufficient nutrition, excess sugar and insufficient protein. But there are no healthy foods with high nutrition, low calorie, high protein and low sugar on the market. So Zhang Guangming decided to do it himself.
Fit8 light weight meal replacer

When it comes to “protein stick”, many people first feel that it is functional food, which is mainly used to supplement protein for fitness and sports lovers before and after exercise. But in fact, everyone needs enough and high-quality protein. Around protein, Zhang Guangming defines eating well from three dimensions: first, it should be delicious; second, it should be convenient; third, it should be nutritious.


Fit8 aims at the light sports crowd and sedentary and less active crowd, passing on the health concept of “excellent protein, low sugar and excellent fat” to the young people, and introducing rich flavors including cheese flavor, chocolate flavor, cookie flavor, coconut flavor, beef flavor, banana flavor and salted egg yolk flavor.
Facts have proved that protein bars have successfully set off the market. China tiktok also launched beef flavor protein bars jointly with China’s new rap, adding product innovation and marketing on the platform of Xiaohong, B station, and shaking, and also planned to make efforts under the ffit8 line.
Fit8 probiotic protein powder
In addition to the protein bar, fit8 also launched fit8 probiotic protein powder. In order to meet the needs of young people who are in pursuit of fashion and heavy color control, fit8 probiotic protein powder has started to subvert the traditional packaging design. The patent capsule bottle with eye-catching red is full of vitality and easy to carry.
Control the mouth of young people:
Hot track, capital bet
It was not only last year that substitute food and light food became popular.
As early as around 2018, offline light salads such as salad diary and sweetheart rock salad were very popular. According to meituan’s review data, the number of young food consumption orders in 2018 increased by 75% year-on-year, while the number of same stores increased from more than 600 in 2017 to more than 3500, with a year-on-year growth of nearly five times. However, due to the problems of “expensive and unsavory” and “serious homogenization”, many enterprises such as sweetheart rock salad were shut down. In case of offline coldness, on-line catering brands represented by meal replacers and milkshakes take advantage of the opportunity.

2020 China Food Capital China Annual Meeting

“Top 25 enterprises with the most investment value of China’s food capital in 2020”

According to incomplete statistics, in 2020 alone, excluding traditional enterprises, overseas enterprises and cross-border enterprises, there were 19 financing events in the field of Internet catering, involving 13 enterprises. Behind it, there are more than 40 investment institutions, including IDG capital, Hillhead venture capital, Jingwei China, source capital, pleasure capital and Fosun Group, with a financing amount of nearly 1 billion yuan.

In terms of mode, the brand of substitute food has everything from cereal to substitute milk shake, substitute bar, substitute instant food, subscription weight management and so on. However, it can also be seen that almost all the investment takes place in round a, 50% of which are angel rounds, and the whole catering industry is still in its early stage.

Shark fitter CEO Qiang Xiaoming attended

2020 China Food Capital China Annual Meeting

However, for the outstanding start-up companies, the number and amount of financing are growing rapidly. For example, shark fit quickly rose to be the champion of tmall mall’s related categories by virtue of its popular single product “instant chicken breast”, and got three rounds of financing in succession this year; fit8 even completed two rounds of financing in three months. Zhu Yuanxin, vice president of Bai investment, said when investing in fit8 that the health wave is irreversible.

What will young people eat in the future?

Data show that in the past year, the total transaction amount of domestic light food substitute set a five-year high. At present, there are four main types of substitute food market


And most of the catering brands on the market are OEM products, which are easy to enter the homogeneous competition. In addition, new and old brands are constantly pouring into the market. On the one hand, the homogenization is serious, which is easy to make consumers fall into “choice difficulty”; on the other hand, due to the lack of strong technical barriers, products are easy to be imitated and surpassed. In addition, the food safety and nutrition balance of substitute food have not yet formed a mature and unified standard.
Lechun meal
Although there are many problems, it also means that there will be a round of changes in the healthy diet industry. Li Ying, partner of Zhonghai investment, said: “there is a huge demand in China’s diet substitute market, but there is a lack of scientific basis. Products with poor experience and extremely low cost performance fill the market. This gives us a huge market opportunity. “
Fix Body
“It’s not the ultimate goal of users to reduce a few pounds in the short term. What users need is a set of effective, complete, healthy and sustainable solutions, which can transform the body for a long time and develop a healthy lifestyle. Products can’t only serve as substitutes. They should become a part of our daily life and accompany users for a long time. “
In China, 82.7% of the young people are either losing weight or running on the way to lose weight. What will the young people of the future eat? Who can grasp the core user pain points, cater to the trend of young people’s lifestyle, occupy the consumer mind, will become the winner. Anyway, people’s pursuit of beauty and health is eternal.
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