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Where are the opportunities for innovation and Entrepreneurship of Chinese children’s snacks? | FoodPlus Insight

This is the 27th insight article A631 from foodplus

Let’s systematically discuss the opportunities and potential, competition pattern and entry point of venture capital of Chinese children’s snack market

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Author: Xu Shuwen Mika

On May 17, 2020, the China non-staple food circulation association issued the group standard of general requirements for children’s snacks. As the first group standard on “children’s snacks” in China, the concept of “children’s snacks” is formally defined, that is, the food suitable for children aged 3 to 12 years old, which is used to supplement energy, balance nutrition or increase water content, and can relax and relax Products.


This standard has been implemented since June 15, 2020. According to the group standard, children are divided into two stages: preschool children aged 3-6 and school-age children aged 6-12. According to the growth characteristics of children in different age groups, different requirements of key nutrients were determined

Among them, for children’s healthy diet, refer to the “Chinese children and adolescents snack guide”, put forward the regulation of adding less sugar, salt and oil, and require the regulation of sodium chloride, sucrose and fat limits.

At the same time, in terms of packaging design safety, the standard requires that children’s snack packaging should not only comply with the relevant national standards, but also fully consider the safety of children in the design of packaging structure. In the process of children’s use, there should be no harm, such as cutting, eating and other risks.  

Since the 1950s, China’s snack industry has been born gradually. It has evolved from the flavor of the streets into an industrialized forming industry. The rise and fall of snack enterprises in different years and the rise of the huge snack market outline the development history of modern China’s snack industry, which reflects the continuous refinement and upgrading of consumer demand and snack industry The categories are increasingly rich and innovative.

Today, decades later, when the term “children’s snacks” has a new interpretation and definition, we try to explore the core logic of children’s snacks market and find clues from the wind of the times.

This insight article will be divided into the following parts:

1、 Is it necessary for children’s snacks to exist? Is children’s snacks a good market? Will children’s snacks become a new force in the snack market?

2、 If children’s snacks are the new driving force of leisure snack market in the future, what will be the market competition pattern of children’s snacks in China?

3、 Where are the opportunities for innovation and Entrepreneurship of children’s snacks in China? The future children’s snack market will present the deep integration of adult snack childlike and children’s demand-oriented product logic.


1、 Is it necessary for children’s snacks to exist? Is children’s snacks a good market? Will children’s snacks become a new force in the snack market?

In fact, in the past decades, children have been one of the main consumers in the leisure snack market, but there are no clear standards and differences between children’s snacks and adult snacks. When we talk about the favorite snack products in childhood, we can first associate them with big white rabbit milk candy, shanghaojialangweixian, Wangwang steamed bun, alpine sugar, etc Most of the brands use “children oriented” packaging design to attract children, but the products are not designed for children in essence.


In the past two years, from the Organic Infant complementary food and children’s snack brand goodgout of Jianhe group’s entering the Chinese market, to the domestic comprehensive snack brands liangpin shop, baicaowei and three squirrels successively establishing children’s snack sub brands, and formally laying out children’s snack track, children’s snack seems to have gradually become a blue ocean market attracting consumers’ attention.


So, what is the core logic of snack products with children’s attributes? We will demonstrate the necessity of children’s snacks from the perspective of consumer demand and product design.


1. There are great differences between children and adults in nutritional needs, eating habits and consumption preferences


According to the two in-depth research reports on children’s nutrition issued by the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2018 and 2019, the atlas of China’s children’s development indicators and children, food and Nutrition – growing up healthily in a changing world, we find that the double burden of malnutrition and overweight and obesity is prevalent among children in China, although these health problems have been solved More and more attention has been paid by parents, but snacks, as an important part of children’s daily diet, still affect children’s nutritional status to a certain extent.


Due to children’s low immunity, physical function can not be compared with adults, at all ages of children’s growth, the lack of essential vitamins and various micronutrients will cause obstacles to children’s physical and intellectual development; the intake of high calorie and low nutrient food will increase the risk of obesity and overweight, and children need to be more nutritious, safe and affordable Take in more food.


In addition, the age of 3-12 years old is the best and most critical time to cultivate a balanced diet and develop good eating habits. Taking dairy products, a more mature category in children’s food market, as an example, the United States began to produce milk based formula milk powder in 1921. By the 1990s, European and American countries had built a relatively complete children’s nutrition supplement system for children. Children need to be continuously guided to develop the habit of eating healthy food. Whether it is the choice of taste or the supplement of nutrition, parents need to carry out continuous education and guidance from childhood.

Factors for parents to consider when buying children’s snacks, source: white paper on children’s snacks Market Research


Children’s consumer market itself has some particularity, because it contains two types of consumer groups, one is the main buyer of parents, the other is the user of children.


According to the white paper on children’s snack market survey jointly released by China non-staple food circulation association, liangpinpu and tmall foods in 2020, health is the most important factor for parents to consider when buying snacks. Their judgment criteria for snack health are natural and non additive. The main worry about children’s snack products on the market is still additives, followed by pigments and additives Raw materials are usually judged by product composition table, ingredient table, word-of-mouth and brand; secondly, nutrition supplement and formula friendly are also important concerns of parents, to meet the nutritional needs of parents who hope children can improve their intestinal health, supplement calcium, iron, zinc and other trace elements, and enhance immunity through obtaining dietary fiber and probiotics.


In addition, it is very important that parents have strong demands for professional children’s snack brands. 82.5% of parents prefer professional children’s snack brands and expect to buy products focusing on children’s growth. They have professional research on the nutritional components needed by children’s growth, and can distinguish targeted product brands of different ages.


When we switch the perspective to children, although parents pay great attention to the nutritional composition of children’s snacks, children themselves pay more attention to taste and packaging design. They generally prefer food with good taste, novel and interesting packaging and interaction.


The preference for snacks is influenced by long-term dietary culture. As children grow older, they will begin to fall in love with heavy sweet and salty tastes. Heavy snack is a serious disaster area for health. How to use innovative raw materials and take appropriate processing methods to achieve a balance between the two is the innovation entry point for snack manufacturers.


From the perspective of brand and packaging, because children are young, their attention is more likely to be attracted by a single thing, and they have high stickiness to consumer objects. Animation IP is the most appropriate example. For children, as long as they like the animation IP, then they will love all the derivatives of this IP; in addition, interesting and interactive elements are also very attractive to children.


Therefore, no matter from the perspective of children’s own nutritional needs or consumption needs, healthy children’s snack products that are suitable for children’s nutritional needs will be more conducive to children’s healthy development, and professional children’s snack brands will be more attractive to parents and children. For children’s snacks market, it is necessary to develop snacks for children.


2. Children’s snacks is a market with high growth, high potential and bargaining space


First of all, let’s look at the scale of the whole children’s snack market. At present, there are about 160 million children aged 3-12 in China. With the “comprehensive two child” policy stimulus in 2016, the number of newborns each year remains about 15 million, laying the foundation for the sustainable development of children’s economy. The huge number of children has brewed a huge potential market demand, and the children’s snack market is rising rapidly. It is estimated that from 2019 to 2023, the children’s snack market will grow steadily at a compound annual growth rate of 10% to 15%, and the children’s snack market share will exceed 100 billion.


Although children’s snacks in China is a relatively new category, but children are always the consumer group category, and there is a very prominent demand for snacks. At present, the total consumption of children’s snacks accounts for about 21% of the total consumption of snacks in China. In addition, at present, the parents of post-80s and post-90s have become the main force of parenting. They generally pay more attention to brand professionalism and product quality in consumer behavior. Professional snack products specially designed for children will have a certain bargaining space.


In China’s current children’s snack market, most brands, such as Wangwang, dabaitu and Oreo, focus more on children’s groups from the perspective of marketing and publicity, that is, children oriented marketing. At present, there are few in-depth product R & D innovations aiming at the differentiated needs of children’s groups in the market, and the whole snack industry lacks representative children’s food brands, It is a relatively blank market with high growth potential.


2、 If children’s snacks are the new driving force of leisure snack market in the future, what will be the market competition pattern of children’s snacks in China?


Judging from the huge market foundation of Chinese leisure snacks and the development trend of children’s snacks, children’s snacks will gradually become one of the new driving points of the whole leisure snack market. Whether it’s adult snacks for children or the emergence of more and more leisure snack brands specially developed for children, it indicates that all types of enterprises have the opportunity to have a place in this market with huge growth potential. So, what will be the market competition pattern of children’s snacks in China in the future?


To answer this question, we can first classify some representative players. If we divide the current competition pattern of China’s children’s snack market according to the types of enterprises, it can be roughly divided into the following six categories of main players. Next, we will sort out the current layout and competition patterns of these different types of enterprises in the children’s snack market


1. Nestle, Yizi and other international CpG companies

2. Wangwang, shanghaojia, dabaitu and other traditional large snack Enterprises

3. Three squirrels, liangpinpuzi, baicaowei and other Internet integrated snack brands

4. Dairy enterprises targeting at vertical groups, such as beinmei, miaolandou, etc

5. Start up / innovative children’s snack enterprises represented by good good and baby greedy

6. IP driven children’s snack Enterprises


The first type of players are international CpG companies represented by Nestle and Yizi.


For a long time, Nestle crispy shark, Yizi Oreo and other international leisure snack brands have occupied a relatively large market share in China, especially in biscuits, candy and other sub categories. In the children’s snack market, these brands have been taking children’s marketing of adult snacks as one of the main strategies to occupy the large consumer group of children, which is also the brand with the highest proportion in the current domestic children’s snack market, including the traditional snack enterprises such as Wangwang and shanghaojia that we will mention later.


However, in the European and American markets where the children’s snack market is more mature, major food giants have launched professional children’s snack brands. For example, Pepsi launched image snakes, a children’s healthy snack brand focusing on yogurt and cheese products, at the end of 18, aiming to provide children with rich protein and calcium nutrition supplement.


Annie’s children’s food brand of Yizi international has a richer product line, including cheese, cereal snacks, organic fruit candy, macaroni, etc. in addition, snake futures, the innovation Department of Yizi, has also launched children’s food brand ruckus and Co., but these brands have not yet reached the stage of entering the Chinese market.

Pepsi’s healthy children’s snack sub brand — Imagine snakes

Annie’s, the children’s food brand of Yizi International


Nestle seems to be more forward-looking for China’s children’s snack market. Nestle China’s innovation incubator team launched the children’s growth snack brand xiaochumengmeng at the end of last year. The brand has three SKUs, dried crisp, cocoa crisp and flavored yogurt stick. The products are made of milk powder imported from New Zealand, and the formula does not add (0 preservative, 0 colorant, 0 trans) In addition, it is rich in dietary fiber and 9% mixed dried nuts. In addition, trehalose is used to reduce dental caries and meet the needs of children in taste and nutrition.


From the perspective of xiaochuhu Mengmeng’s product packaging, all products contain teaching and play tools, xiaochuhu Mengmeng’s files, dog rice files, cat meat files, etc., which integrate teaching with fun and pay attention to children’s healthy growth from multiple dimensions. In addition, we can see from the official wechat of little kitchen fox Mengmeng that Nestle has carried out content marketing of a series of stories for the brand’s IP image fox Mengmeng, which fully reflects the brand’s interest.

Nestle’s children’s snack brand


The second type of players are traditional large-scale snack enterprises represented by Wangwang, dabaitu and shanghaojia.

This kind of players have serious brand aging problems, and in today’s healthy trend of snacks, puffing, candy, biscuits and other traditional snacks are faced with severe challenges and impact.


Traditional snack enterprises mainly use IP, advertising and other marketing methods to attract consumers when facing the audience group of children. At present, except that Wangwang owns babimama, a subsidiary brand of infant complementary food, other enterprises rarely set up separate product lines or sub brands for specific groups. If they can expand new product lines or brands in the dividend period of children’s snack market, they may be able to bring new growth points and brand vitality to themselves.


The third kind of players are the Internet comprehensive snack brands represented by three squirrels, liangpin shop and baicaowei.


At the end of May 2020, liangpin store officially announced the launch of the snack sub brand “liangpin xiaoshixian”, with more than 40 new children’s snacks online and offline. Baicaowei also officially announced the launch of children’s food “Tong’an children” 1.0 series, which is positioned as “a beneficial supplement to children’s meals”. In June 2020, three sub brands of squirrels, Xiaolu Lanlan, will go online in tmall flagship store. They have already put on the shelves such as soluble beans series, sunshine seaweed series and small cheese block series.


If we compare the children’s snack brands of these three companies horizontally, we will find some similarities and differences.


First of all, from the perspective of product categories, the range of liangpin snack fairy is the richest, including biscuits, milk, jelly, children’s fish intestines, functional candy and so on, basically covering the main categories of children’s snacks at present.


In terms of product characteristics, good food snacks pay more attention to the use of some healthy labels, including “non fried” baked biscuits, “zero flavor” of fruit paste, and “Zero sugar granulated sugar”. At the same time, it also pays more attention to product quality, such as imported raw materials, high fruit content, etc.; in addition to this kind of “formula friendly” products, there are also some “nutritional supplement” products, such as biscuits with “high calcium” and “high protein”, and “functional” products rich in “lutein ester” that can protect eyes.


In addition, in the product shape design, the product form of liangpin xiaoshixian is also very rich. So on the whole, from the product dimension, liangpin shop has more attempts in product upgrading and innovation, and the dimension is deeper.

Liangpin store’s children’s snack sub brand — liangpin snack Fairy


In contrast, Xiaolu Lanlan, owned by three squirrels, has a wider audience, providing not only snacks for 3-12 years old, but also complementary and snack products for infants and young children.


In Xiaolu Lanlan’s tmall flagship store, we can clearly see: 6 months + baby food, 12 months + baby snacks, 3 years old+ The overall strategy of different products corresponding to the three age groups of children’s snacks is similar to the cat food brand of three squirrels, which is “raising a hairy child”. That is, the refined product route for the audience group develops more targeted cat food products for different varieties and different age groups of cats.


However, it is not difficult to find that from the sales situation, the sales volume of 12 months + baby snacks series products is far higher than that of the other two categories of products, especially the yogurt soluble beans and freeze-dried yogurt blocks. The total sales volume from June to September 2020 has exceeded 100000, and the Gmv of the two large single products in four months has reached nearly 7 million, which can simply reflect the market share of dairy snacks in the domestic market Has a relatively high degree of market recognition.

Three squirrels’ children’s snack sub brand — Xiaolu Lanlan


In addition, baicaowei’s children’s food product line “Tong’an children” only has two single products, children’s Hawthorn slice and freeze-dried yoghurt piece. These two products are upgraded on the basis of baicaowei’s original adult oriented snack products Hawthorn slice and yoghurt piece, adding more suitable nutrients for children, such as dietary fiber and vitamin D In our opinion, this is the childlike trend of adult snacks, that is, to adjust the original product formula according to the needs of children, and to redesign the product functions and properties.


Therefore, it also causes us to think more deeply about children’s snacks. The core logic behind the design of children’s snacks products can be divided into two directions: Children’s adult snacks and children’s needs. Which is the future of children’s snacks, or what’s the market share of these two types in the future?


Or are these two situations in fact deeply integrated, just two ideas of making children’s snacks, and they are not so distinct from each other. In addition, when large food companies expand their product lines of segmented groups, how can they jump out of the original product base and develop products that are deeper, more innovative and more in line with the needs of the audience? Can this become a breakthrough for brands to solve the problem of product homogeneity and seek differentiation?


We will make a more in-depth analysis on these thoughts and problems later.


The fourth type of players are dairy enterprises such as beinmei and miaolandou.


In 2020, based on the health and safety demands of the children’s snack market, bainme launched the children’s snack brand menglebao, which mainly focuses on the concept of “health and safety, delicious nutrition, delicious and fun”, and launched two new products, including yogurt soluble beans and Mengxing puff. This marks the infant formula brand bainmei’s entry into the children’s snack track and extension of the maternal and infant product line.


Menglebao yoghurt bean dissolving product added probiotics Bb-12 and probiotics, rich in calcium, zinc and other trace elements, to supplement nutrition for children, promote the balance of bacteria in the body, and ensure gastrointestinal health. In addition, the product uses FD freeze-drying technology without any additives. Another Mengxing puff is formulated with multi grains and cheese to provide protein and vitamins.


In 2020, bainme will focus on promoting children’s health food, which is a further extension of the two main categories of infant milk powder and complementary food based on age. Children’s snacks will be used to meet the follow-up consumption needs of bainme milk powder and complementary food consumers.


Obviously, liangpinpu, baicaowei and three squirrels, the three domestic integrated snack brands, pay more attention to product richness and have natural advantages in the supply chain and channels, but there will be some product homogenization problems.


With its long-term focus on infants and young children, bainme is bound to be able to more accurately grasp the healthy trend of children’s snacks, provide more professional nutritional formulas, and be more competitive in product development. In the field of infant and children’s food, bainmey initially entered the maternal and infant market with rice flour and molars. This time, bainmey’s layout in the field of children’s snacks may become a big growth opportunity for the company in the future.


However, companies like bainme also have obvious limitations in products and population. First of all, because their main business is focused on infants and young children for a long time, it is difficult for their sub brands to jump out of the age group of young children (3-6 years old), and the product type is mainly milk food.


The fifth type of players are the start-up / innovative children’s snack enterprises represented by good good, baby greedy and Dr. cheese.


Good good was born in 2010. It was acquired by Jianhe group in 2018. In 2019, good good goot has officially entered the Chinese market. It takes health, delicacy and fashion as the three cornerstones to create healthy snacks for children under the new concept. After entering the Chinese market, good good goot cooperated with tmall and Jingdong to jointly build children’s snacks. In May, as the captain of the category, good goot cooperated with other brands that began to enter children’s snacks to hold a series of activities such as super children’s snacks day.

At the fbif2020 food and beverage innovation forum, Yan Lu, head of good good in China, also shared about China’s children’s snack market. At that time, it was mentioned that the cooperation with these platforms played a key role in good good’s development of China’s market business.

Organic complementary food for infants and children’s snacks brand — good got


The product portfolio of good good includes two categories, which are for infants aged 0-3 and children aged over 3. The product matrix is very rich. Snacks for children over 3 years old mainly include rice cakes, organic biscuits, organic cereal crisps and other products.


GOOD On the one hand, gout’s specialty and advantages are reflected in its product R & D capabilities. In terms of recipes and formulas, each recipe of the company is the original recipe prepared by Michelin star chefs, and promises that the ingredients of all products’ original fruits and vegetables are not less than 60%. On the other hand, in terms of raw materials, the company 100% selects high-quality raw materials of organic agriculture, and has obtained the French international organic certification As well as the double certification of organic certification in Europe and the United States. The core raw material source is the organic farm in France, and does not add any chemical components such as pigment, essence, and so on. At the same time, some overseas purchases will be made according to the characteristics and quality of raw materials, such as bananas from Ecuador and mangos from India.


Brand power is another advantage of professional children’s snack brand. In terms of packaging, the company tries to make it stand out on supermarket shelves through bright color matching and attractive design. In addition, the company also attaches importance to the practicality and fun of packaging itself, such as good in April 2020 Gout launched a limited farm gift box. The gift box is in the shape of a small house. When it is opened, it is a combination of organic chocolate rice cakes. After the product is taken away, you will see a farm test field. There is a small drawer under the box, which contains nutrient soil, green plant seeds and garden shovel. It can not only make children feel the fun of planting, stimulate their creativity, but also make them feel the charm of nature at home.


In addition to good good, there are several representative children’s snack companies: baobaochanle, duomaomao and Dr. cheese. These three companies have been included in the list of start-up companies in 2020 launched before the Spring Festival. You can click here to read our interpretation and analysis of these three companies.


The sixth kind of players are relatively special but also occupy a strong user mind IP driven children’s snack enterprises.


According to the analysis report on the economic operation of the national food industry in 2018, the main business income of the food industry in 2018 was 9.02 trillion yuan, of which the retail sales of IP authorized goods was 85.6 billion yuan. Throughout the leisure food industry in the past two years, “cartoon IP authorization” has made remarkable achievements, occupying a lot of shares in the whole industry.


The original generation of mobile Internet is relatively precocious. Under the influence of the new media environment, it has a clear cognition and preference for IP characters. Dongguan Yi Chi as the first authorized food merchant of piggy in China, has been focusing on the development of many children’s snacks products including “piggy page”, “linefriends” and Disney series from IP in 2015. The main products are biscuits and sweets, which are the main products of the IP products.

Dongguan billion Chi launched piggy page brand snacks, photo source: billion smart food


However, the common problem of IP driven enterprises is that they are weak in product innovation and R & D capability. In addition, because they mainly focus on IP in marketing, their brand awareness is also relatively low.


Beakd, another children’s snack brand with “SpongeBob” as its IP image, has stronger competitiveness in product development and user reputation. For example, beakd recently launched children’s probiotics milk tablets with healthy and friendly raw material formula and “0 addition”, and designed a series of products rich in vitamins, lutein esters, probiotics and other products for children’s different nutritional supplement needs. Strong IP attribute is only a means of product marketing. In order to stand out in the children’s snack market, we need to have stronger product power and brand power.


3、 Where are the opportunities for innovation and Entrepreneurship of children’s snacks in China? In the future, the children’s snack market will present the deep integration of adult snack childlike and children’s demand-oriented product logic


From the perspective of consumer demand, we believe that in the future, children’s snack products will transform from emotional satisfaction products to function driven products that provide more abundant product value, or they will be more deeply integrated to transform consumers’ original traditional concept of “unhealthy” snack products, and turn healthy children’s snack products Children’s snacks are an essential part of children’s daily diet with nutritional supplement or meal replacement function. Of course, this requires future children’s snack enterprises to make efforts from product innovation, market education and other aspects.


From the perspective of category development and product innovation, the following are some thoughts on the innovation opportunities of children’s snacks in China. Combined with the more mature market situation of children’s snacks in foreign countries such as Europe, America and Japan, we believe that the innovation of children’s snacks can be cut in from the following dimensions:


First, the choice of categories and the expansion of new categories.


Generally speaking, the three main types of children’s snacks in European and American markets are as follows: ① cereal products represented by oatmeal circle, cereal, cereal bar, etc.; ② dairy products represented by cheese bar, yogurt block, etc.; ③ fruit and vegetable products with fruits or vegetables as the main raw materials, such as fruit chips, fruit rolls, vegetable cakes, etc. In addition, the boundaries between these three types of snacks are becoming more and more blurred. We hope to explore which categories of children’s snacks in China may have large-scale demand opportunities in combination with the category innovation trend of foreign countries.


Cereal products were originally more food to meet the demand of breakfast or meal replacement, but in recent years, driven by the trend of cereal snacks, cereal has been more added to snack products. In addition, the emergence of innovative snack cereals such as wangsatin also reflects the extension of cereal in different dietary scenarios. Due to the strong health attributes of grains, we think that children’s cereal snacks will be a good innovation.


From the perspective of product form, cereal bar is a very fast growing segment of children’s snack market abroad. Whether it’s the organic children’s cereal bar of Quaker kids launched by oatmeal brand Quaker kids or the children’s series products launched by snack bar brand king that we have written about, including the fruit cereal bar launched by American snack brand this saves lives, there are many children’s snack bar products and brands based on cereal in European and American children’s snack market due to the characteristics of high compound nutrition and portability.


However, in the domestic market, due to the differences in eating habits and the low level of market education of bar products, we need more product forms suitable for Chinese taste and food preference and innovation.


In fact, dairy snacks have a long-term market base in China, but there are problems of single product type and homogenization. At present, the dairy foods in the domestic children’s snack market are mainly milk flakes, cheese sticks, yogurt blocks and yogurt beans. Among them, the market participants are mainly dairy enterprises such as Yili, Mengniu and Yitou; professional cheese brands such as baijifu, miaolandou, lezhiniu, miaofei and Dr. cheese; and other comprehensive children’s snack brands such as liangpin xiaoshixian, Xiaolu Lanlan and beakid.


Although the total volume of domestic cheese market is still less than 10 billion, the growth rate is very fast, and children’s cheese market accounts for 50% of the retail end of cheese, that is to say, children are the largest target consumer group of cheese brands.


The reason why cheese sticks have an important place in children’s snacks is that the category itself has a strong innate advantage, which can not only meet the parents’ demand for high nutritional value of products, but also meet the children’s demand for taste and product interest. It has the opportunity to make large items and take the high-end brand route.


At present, in the start-up companies, miaofei and Dr. cheese are relatively good companies in the field of children’s cheese.


Secondly, the innovation of product positioning or user positioning.


The children group can be divided into 3-6 years old children and 6-12 years old children. From the perspective of product design, there is a big demand difference between these two groups. We think that the better crowd entry point of children’s snack market may be 3-6-year-old children. The main reasons are as follows:


① More accurate crowd positioning is necessary


Compared with the pre-school age of 3-6 years old and the post-school age of 6-12 years old, the young children of 3-6 years old need more professional and diversified products in terms of growth criticality, mental level and independent choice ability. In the critical period of growth, we need a variety of functions and corresponding nutrients related to children’s growth; in terms of mental level shaping, 3-6-year-old children need to shape a sound mind under the guidance and education of parents and social products; in terms of independent choice ability, 3-6-year-old children need to be bought snacks by their parents, and parents pay more attention to children’s food safety, nutrition and health. All of the above are innovation points that can be cut into 3-6-year-old children’s snack products.


② The nutritional function is more targeted


3-6-year-old children are the key period of growth, mental, intellectual and physical growth is particularly important at this stage, and they also need more professional and targeted nutrition than 6-12-year-old children; in addition, 3-6-year-old children have transitional needs of molars during the tooth changing period after weaning, which also produces many kinds of children’s snacks. In general, the special needs of young children in many aspects can create a broader market opportunity and space for enterprises.


③ Transitional advantages of infant food brands


For infant formula enterprises such as beinmei, or infant complementary food brands such as Xiaopi, because they are all focused on food supply for infants aged 0-3, they have gained good brand loyalty and user base in terms of professionalism, especially the trust of Baoma, who buys snacks for children, which is likely to continue in the whole life cycle of children Brand loyalty: Children’s whole life cycle includes 0-3 years old, 3-6 years old and 6-12 years old, and 3-6 years old is the most critical and appropriate transition period, which provides the most suitable category for these professional infant food brands to expand brand audience from infants to children. In 2020, bainmey opened children’s snacks category, still continuing the experience of infant nutrition, adding bifid factor, vitamin D group and trace elements, aiming at the tooth changing period and possible scenes of 3-6-year-old children, developed pork crisp, molar stick and other products.


④ Consumer behavior of 6-12-year-old group is not conducive to focus on children’s snacks


First of all, 6-12-year-old children start to have pocket money and have a certain degree of autonomy in purchasing snacks. Second, children will gradually have social needs to share snacks with their peers starting from school collective life. Third, there are no too strict restrictions on the choice of nutrition, taste and category, and there are differences in taste and physiology between children and adults The differences in characteristics are gradually weakening, and they can also choose relatively healthy adult snack brands. Almost all the products on the supermarket shelves can be eaten without any restrictions. Even high oil, puffed food and instant food may become their choices. For children’s snacks and players, the competition is very fierce in the 6-12-year-old children’s snack consumption scene, and the professional children’s snack brand is only one of their consumption choices.


This paper discusses the categories and positioning of children’s snacks, and then looks at the dimensions of innovation that children’s snacks can carry out from the perspective of product design.


According to our observation, the optimization and innovation of children’s snack products are mainly reflected in three aspects: ① the raw materials have the properties of “organic” and “natural”; ② the ingredients of the formula are healthy and friendly; ③ improving the nutrition and functionality of the products, such as adding high protein and trace elements, or adding rich dietary fiber and probiotics to protect children’s intestinal health.

First of all, the raw materials and ingredients of products have “organic” and “natural” properties. The core logic of such products is similar to organic fruit and vegetable puree in infant complementary food, or organic children’s milk in children’s drink. In the current children’s snack market, good is the best Gout can be said to be a representative brand with natural organic characteristics, while the local brand baobaopang also has a number of products focusing on organic ingredients. From the perspective of supply chain, due to the limited number of domestic factories that really meet the organic certification standards, most of the products may have traces of marketing packaging. We look forward to more children’s snack brands and products in the future In terms of material, it can achieve differentiation.


There are two main ideas in the innovation of product formula, one is the “zero” or less addition of the main product, without adding pigments, preservatives and other chemical components, and achieving less sugar, low salt, etc., which is in line with children’s special dietary health; the other is to develop targeted formula for children based on children’s taste, eating habits and health needs.


The third point is the innovation in the nutritional and functional aspects of products. We can also simply classify them as nutritional supplement snacks. Functional needs are reflected in the daily diet of various consumer groups, children are no exception.


On the one hand, it reflects the demand for high protein, high calcium and other nutrients; on the other hand, it is to add functional ingredients to improve children’s immunity, brain vitality, intestinal function and other aspects of health, such as adding iron and zinc is conducive to children’s physical and mental development; adding FOS and GOS is a prebiotic ingredient widely used in products conducive to children’s growth The ingredients of the products are Xiaolu blue yoghurt dissolved beans, heshengyuan infant milk powder, etc.


In addition, the application of probiotics in children’s snacks is also a good innovation direction. We also sorted out some functional ingredients that can be applied to children’s snacks in the future: prebiotics including FOS / GOS and dietary fiber from grains; calcium, iron and zinc microelements that are conducive to children’s mental development and physiological health; Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium brevis and Lactobacillus reuteri 7 kinds of probiotics.

In addition to the innovation of the product itself, we think there are also some entry points from the perspective of packaging and brand, mainly including the following three ideas: ① packaging design based on children’s eating habits, such as improving the safety and portability of packaging; ② IP development; ③ improving the product’s interest, interaction and intelligence from the perspective of product packaging.


Finally, as we mentioned above, we think that the core logic behind the design of children’s snacks can be divided into two directions: Children’s adult snacks and simply starting from children’s needs. However, there is no clear distinction between the two, or we think that in the future, the two situations can achieve deep integration.

Children’s design of adult snacks is more of a product development idea of food companies that already have a good product foundation. For example, children’s yogurt block of Xiaolu blue is based on the formula upgrade and adjustment of the original large single adult yogurt block of three squirrels. The advantage behind this product logic is that the company can choose to have been verified by the market and get good consumption It can also maximize the effectiveness of product research and development, save the cost of research and development, and make full use of the advantages of the supply chain.

From another point of view, if we only use the single idea of traditional adult snacks for children to design products, there will be a lack of innovation in the long run. Therefore, we also need to jump out of the original product foundation and carry out deeper, more innovative and more in line with the needs of children’s product design and innovation, which will become a solution for children’s snacks brand to solve the problem of product homogeneity It is one of the breakthrough points of differentiated competitiveness. ©FoodPlus


*Children’s food and children’s snacks are the areas that we have been focusing on and researching. Welcome to join feii community to discuss and exchange the entrepreneurship and investment opportunities of children’s food and children’s snacks in China with foodplus analysts.

In the monthly venture capital report of January 2021 launched by feii community, there are some trading opportunities for children’s Food & condiment. After joining feii community, you can download the report for free on the knowledge planet.

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