China Food

Is vinegar not as good as soy sauce? Maybe Bi is in the wrong direction!



Text: EVA fan

Source: foodaily daily food (ID: foodaily)

In the field of condiment, Haitian in soy sauce industry and Hengshun in vinegar industry have always been compared by the industry. With a market value of nearly 500 billion yuan, Haitian has become a leader in the food consumption sector, creating new highs in the stock market, and was once known as “Maotai of condiment”. Hengshun, the vinegar head enterprise, is not only less well-known than Haitian, but also less than one tenth of Haitian’s revenue, net profit and market value.


Is selling vinegar really better than selling soy sauce?


In fact, as different segments, there is a big gap between vinegar and soy sauce in market capacity, channel structure and even competition pattern.


In terms of industry scale, in 2019, the retail scale of soy sauce will reach 80 billion, while the vinegar market will only reach 19 billion. In terms of per capita consumption, vinegar is not as popular as soy sauce. According to Euromonitor data, soy sauce and vinegar accounted for 60% and 20% of Chinese residents’ condiment consumption respectively in 2018.


So, do Chinese people really prefer soy sauce to vinegar? How can vinegar track innovate to catch up?


One side of soil and water nourishes the other side of vinegar,

The local plot of vinegar in China


Vinegar is a kind of fermented sour liquid condiment. As a typical brew, vinegar can be divided into three categories according to the raw materials: grain vinegar, fruit vinegar and alcohol vinegar. Grain vinegar is mainly distributed in East Asia, such as Shanxi old mature vinegar with sorghum and bran as raw materials, Zhenjiang fragrant vinegar with glutinous rice; fruit vinegar is mainly distributed in Europe and America, such as apple vinegar, grape vinegar, Pineapple Vinegar, etc.


Distribution of vinegar in the world, source: CICC Research Institute


China’s vinegar has a long history. The brewing of vinegar is similar to wine. The raw materials, technology and time are different, so the flavor of vinegar produced has its own characteristics. The food culture formed is also different. People in different regions often have their own favorite vinegar and flavor. Therefore, the regional attribute is particularly obvious in the vinegar industry.


At present, the whole vinegar industry has formed a market pattern with four famous vinegar brands and local regional brands. Shanxi old vinegar has heavy acidity, and its representative brands are Zilin vinegar and shuita vinegar; Guangzhou, Fujian and other places like sweet and sour taste with weak acidity, and its representative is Yongchun old vinegar, and its brand is Taoxi; Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions have moderate and slightly sweet taste, and Zhenjiang fragrant vinegar represents Hengshun and Sumei; Sichuan region has Baoning vinegar which has local characteristics and brews vinegar with medicinal starter.


Source: Zhongwei huishu consulting


Compared with soy sauce, vinegar is faced with another problem is the use of vinegar as seasoning, the threshold is relatively high.


From ancient times, vinegar is a symbol of aristocracy to enjoy delicious food. It can be said that people who can cook will be skilled in using vinegar. Up to now, although the price of vinegar has been popularized, compared with the direct effect of soy sauce on freshness and aroma, the deployment of sour flavor represented by vinegar is not easy to control. It is easier to be sour and astringent than soy sauce.


Because of this, the development of vinegar use scenarios is not as rich as soy sauce, nor as approachable as soy sauce. In 2018, the per capita consumption of vinegar in China was only 2.39 L / year, while the consumption of soy sauce has reached 7.18 L / year, and the frequency of vinegar is not as high as soy sauce.


From this point of view, vinegar and its flavor are not unpopular, but many people don’t know how to use it, especially for young people who pay attention to delicacy and laziness and whose cooking skills are declining. How to make vinegar play its original charm? Let more people like and fall in love with jealousy?


Facing the current situation of vinegar industry:

Great potential, but many problems


The whole industry has optimistic expectations for the future of vinegar track.


First of all, vinegar is the second largest condiment market after soy sauce. Referring to the Japanese market which is close to our food culture, the per capita consumption of vinegar increased to more than 1 / 2 of soy sauce in 2018, reaching 3.29 L / year. In addition, Japanese vinegar derived from vinegar drinks, compound flavoring vinegar and other categories, the per capita consumption of vinegar should be higher.


At this level, compared with China, the vinegar track still has a lot of room for expansion. On the other hand, with the expansion of catering channels and industrial channels, the consumption of vinegar is bound to increase.


At this stage, the consumption and consumption of vinegar industry maintain rapid growth. According to Euromonitor data forecast, the compound growth rate of consumption of vinegar in China from 2017 to 2023 is 10.2%, second only to oyster sauce (11.3%), higher than the overall growth rate of condiments (9.10%).


From the perspective of industry concentration, because of the obvious geographical attribute, the whole vinegar industry is obviously scattered, with many small and medium-sized enterprises and small family workshops. In 2018, the Cr5 of Chinese vinegar enterprises was only 22.3%, and there is still a large space for integration. In the 1980s, the Cr5 of Japanese vinegar enterprises reached 68%.


Moreover, the whole vinegar industry is in the stage of brand growth, and consumers’ brand awareness of vinegar is gradually increasing. It is possible to break through the regional attribute and become a national brand.


Not only traditional vinegar enterprises, but also foreign enterprises such as Haitian have been eyeing vinegar. For example, in 2017, Haitian acquired Zhenjiang Danhe vinegar, and in 2019, Qianhe flavor acquired Zhenjiang Hengkang vinegar.


High growth, low concentration, leading brand influence has not yet formed, especially in the case of soy sauce track has run out of Longtian enterprises such as Haitian, the vinegar industry is considered to be able to produce the next “Haitian” potential track.



On the other hand, the challenges facing the vinegar industry are also very obvious. The industry is mixed and needs to be standardized and integrated. The consumer education is not enough and the cognition of vinegar use and scene still needs to be improved. The product homogenization is serious. How to shape the brand awareness


Product, brand, market education,

How should vinegar go out of the circle?


At present, soy sauce has a high penetration rate and has formed a number of large-scale mature enterprises. Although there are still differentiated innovation opportunities in subdivided fields, in terms of development space and potential, of course, vinegar is better. But how should vinegar develop its potential? Can we play the role of dark horse and overtake on the curve?


Products: creating reasons for consumers to be jealous


What are the consumption scenarios of vinegar? From the perspective of consumers, there are two typical use scenarios of vinegar, one is cooking vinegar, the other is table vinegar.


In the two cases, for a few consumers, the general questions are which dish should be matched with which vinegar to have a better flavor, when to add it properly, and how much to add? More consumers are not fully aware of the function of vinegar, but they need to relieve the smell, remove the smell, remove the greasy, help the fresh and appetizer. They need to cook fish, meat and seafood, or mix salads, cook hot and sour soup, stir fry sweet and sour, dip dumplings and dip seafood. All these are the functions that vinegar can play in the cooking and meal scene.


In other words, for the vinegar industry, an important way to expand capacity is to create a reason for more consumers to add vinegar, so as to improve the penetration rate of vinegar in consumers’ daily life.


If you recall the domestic vinegar product line series, mature vinegar, fragrant vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar, black vinegar Especially for Xiaobai, who has no cooking skills and no vinegar eating habits, it’s easy to get lost in the sour sea of vinegar and don’t know where to start.


Let’s take Japan weizikang as an example. How does this vinegar giant design and develop products to make consumers more jealous?


First of all, as I said earlier, one of the biggest pain points for consumers using vinegar is that they don’t know how to flavor it. In order to make consumers better and more easily balance the flavor, weizikang has expanded the vinegar product line from traditional brewing vinegar to compound flavoring vinegar suitable for various dishes, such as sushi vinegar, salad vinegar, high soup vinegar, etc., adding sweet, salty, delicious, etc. to match the sour taste of vinegar and eliminate the taste The taster can finish the seasoning easily.


And its official website has set up a special section to explain the corresponding collocation of different products and various dishes, so as to enhance the matching degree with different dishes and make it easy for consumers to start.


Source: weizikang


In addition, weizikang is also committed to developing a variety of vinegar matching dishes, leading the food boom. For example, for meat dishes, weizikang proposed that the addition of vinegar can make the meat taste more refreshing and not greasy. In 1994, weizikang developed a chicken dish that can be cooked with simple vinegar and soy sauce. Because of less seasoning, fresh flavor and simple operation, it is still popular among Japanese families. Since then, weizikang has been committed to the development of all kinds of meat dishes cooked with vinegar, such as fried meat seasoning with vinegar as the main flavor.


This meat dish has always been at the top of weizikang’s popular search

The chicken seasoning series developed by weizikang is a mixture of vegetables, vinegar and soy sauce


Not only meat, weizikang is also good at matching vegetables with vinegar. For example, the development of pickle vinegar that can reduce salt, and sour vegetable salad juice that can be easily seasoned. The categories of vinegar are subdivided and the uses are diversified.


In addition to making vinegar continue to shine and heat in the cooking industry, weizikang also fosters a new demand for consumers to use vinegar as sour drinks. Blueberry black vinegar, yogurt black vinegar, plum black vinegar and other flavors of vinegar drinks are new, extending the development of vinegar to a broader beverage market.


At the same time, weizikang further subdivides the drinking scene of vinegar drinks. Not only before and after meals, breakfast, sleep, social, health and other scenes are permeated by vinegar drinks.


The non-alcoholic vinegar cocktail series developed by weizikang connects the scene of vinegar drinking with slight drunkenness


According to the market data of Japan’s vinegar industry in 2018, vinegar drinks and compound flavored vinegar occupy a large proportion in the vinegar market, and the growth rate is good. For the Chinese market, these two directions are undoubtedly one of the future development paths of vinegar. In 2018, the scale of China’s vinegar beverage market has reached 5 billion yuan, with CAGR of 16.8% from 2013 to 2018, which is far higher than the growth rate of vinegar industry.


Breaking through the brand and seizing the mind of consumers


The reason why weizikang has become a giant of Japanese vinegar industry is not only the innovation in product development, but also the key words of “health” and “delicious” for weizikang to shape the brand image and seize the mind of consumers.


Since the 1960s, with the popularity of television and advertising in Japan, weizikang has continued to convey to consumers the concepts of “weizikang’s vinegar is 100% brewed vinegar” and “vinegar is good for health”, and constantly strengthened the cognition of “vinegar = health = weizikang”. It not only successfully binds the brand with high-quality and healthy vinegar, but also paves the way for expanding from catering vinegar to drinking vinegar and health vinegar, thus laying the foundation for weizikang to become a giant in the vinegar industry.


Weizikang constantly emphasizes in the advertisement that vinegar is closely related to healthy life


Furthermore, weizikang has carried out in-depth academic research on the health benefits of vinegar, and constantly developed the health functions of vinegar, such as reducing blood pressure, reducing visceral fat, preventing metabolic syndrome and so on, so as to further bind vinegar and health.


Health care functional black vinegar developed by weizikang for hypertension population


On the other hand, weizikang is well aware that the science of vinegar is actually an art of taste. Weizikang does not confine itself to the track of vinegar, but positions itself as a brand pursuing delicious food, and is committed to providing consumers with delicious food that makes them feel “happy and happy” on the dining table.


Therefore, on the one hand, the company devotes itself to the ultimate experience of vinegar flavor. For example, for many picky consumers, the irritating sour taste of vinegar and the discomfort after eating are also important reasons for consumers to stay away from vinegar. In order to make vinegar easier to eat, weizikang has been committed to studying the irritating sour taste of vinegar in the mouth and the causes of throat irritation and swelling after swallowing Mechanism, so as to find ways to develop more mild vinegar to improve the taste and eating experience of vinegar.


Weizikang’s research on acetic acid and tongue tip sensor


On the other hand, weizikang has also developed sauces, soups, natto and other seasonings that are convenient for cooking, presenting the concept of delicacy in a more diversified way to help consumers enjoy what they want to eat. In order to better achieve the delicious effect, weizikang set up a special flavor confirmation room. Learn inspiration from famous restaurants and shops to improve the flavor of seasoning products.


Weizikang’s idea of product development is to focus on consumers’ daily food life scene, think about who, when and under what circumstances, what kind of products will be needed, and what presentation form can maximize consumers’ happiness and satisfaction.


In order to make “delicious” more thorough, weizikang’s products should first visually let consumers feel the impact of delicious food, at a glance let consumers have the desire to eat, and then intuitively tell consumers that they only need the first step, the second step and the third step to do it easily, so as to further reduce the difficulty expectation of consumers for cooking, so as to improve the purchase rate of products.


Soymilk soup series launched by weizikang




Looking back on the progress of Japanese enterprises in the field of vinegar, we find that the domestic vinegar industry has a long way to go. In the final analysis, the vinegar business is really a taste business, with thousands of years of food culture. I hope that in time, the vinegar track will surpass soy sauce and give birth to the next king of seasoning.


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