China Food

Although frozen products are cold, prefabricated dishes are “hot”, and young people will be “lazy” out of the next trillion market

the prepared dish has a more classic name – frozen food.

Text: Julie

Source: hongwanshe (ID: hongwanshe 2020)

Sanquan, missing and Wanchai wharf, who hasn’t eaten these dumplings and quick-frozen dumplings? Later, triangle rice balls, Kung Pao diced chicken rice and Kanto cooking appeared in convenience stores. Such semi-finished foods have long appeared in our lives, but the word “prefabricated dishes” has only become popular in recent years.
“Food is the most important thing for the people”. Chinese food is world-famous and highly praised. “Cooking in the kitchen” is a normal life, but workers in big cities have fattened the takeout platform first because they are busy, and now they are “lazy” to create a hundreds of billions of prefabricated vegetable market. They are no longer satisfied with quick-frozen dumplings and dumplings, or even hand-held cakes and canned meat, tomato stewed beef brisket, Dongpo meat Boiled fish… All can be presented in a few minutes.
The demand for frozen food materials is very strong in the b-end market. According to the data of Guosen Securities, the revenue of to B of Chinese prefabricated vegetable enterprises accounts for 80%, and that of to C is only 20%. This is not difficult to understand. Since the birth of the refrigerator, countless delicacies have been added to people’s tables. The cold chain is almost the lifeblood of traditional catering.
After combing, hongwanshe found that the quick-frozen food we eat daily is no more than the following brands: Anjing food (mainly quick-frozen surimi and meat products), Sanquan food (mainly quick-frozen rice flour products), Ligao food (mainly quick-frozen baked semi-finished products & finished products), Haixin food (mainly quick-frozen surimi), Huifa food (mainly quick-frozen pill products) Frozen rice noodles are the main products.
In these enterprises, in addition to several brands of dumplings and dumplings we often eat, others do not seem to appear in life very often, which also shows that the demand for C-end frozen products has just begun to be met.
Leo, the founder of light cooking of exotic prefabricated dishes, once said in an interview with the red bowl news agency that three or four years ago, with the blowout growth of chain catering enterprises, the layout of frozen product supply chain and cold chain ushered in a great leap forward development. The demand for frozen products at end B increased, forcing the iteration of frozen product supply chain. The varieties of meat and processed quick-frozen prepared foods began to increase, and the iteration will be basically completed by 2020. The arrival of the epidemic has accelerated the enterprises to see the business opportunities at the C-end. New and old brands have “gone to the sea” and began to work on a variety of prefabrication methods such as ready to eat, instant heating, instant cooking and instant matching.
When it comes to the origin of prefabricated dishes, almost all the insiders interviewed by the red bowl news agency mentioned Japan. In fact, prefabricated dishes have become popular in developed countries such as Europe, America and Japan as early as the 1960s-1980s. For example, after half a century of growth in Japan, the penetration rate of Japanese prefabricated dishes has reached more than 60%.
China, which belongs to East Asian food culture, has certain similarities with Japan. Coupled with the catalysis of the epidemic, prefabricated dishes are also expected to usher in a period of rapid growth in China. It seems that “laziness” is not the norm for Chinese young people. Generally speaking, this “laziness” is a kind of consumption upgrading. It is also the consumption welfare brought to the people by rich food materials, scientific and technological production, advanced fresh-keeping technology and developed logistics.
How big is China’s Prefabricated vegetable market and how fast is the frozen food industry growing?
According to Tianyan survey, up to now, there are nearly 72000 prefabricated vegetable related enterprises with names or business scope including “quick-frozen, prefabricated vegetables, prefabricated food, semi-finished food, ready to eat and clean vegetables”, of which 56.6% have been established in recent five years.
In 2021, with the birth of weizhixiang, the first stock of prefabricated dishes, more people saw the infinite imagination space of prefabricated dishes. It is understood that the market value of weizhixiang has reached 8.4 billion yuan. According to public data, the market scale of China’s Prefabricated dishes was about 100 billion in 2017 and 260 billion in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 37.5%. The domestic prefabricated dish Market Scale was about 300 billion in 2021.
It is predicted that by 2025, the scale of the domestic prefabricated vegetable industry is expected to grow to 600 billion yuan. With the gradual maturity of the industry, for example, with reference to Japan’s 60% penetration rate, the prefabricated vegetable industry will eventually achieve a market scale of more than 3 trillion yuan and become the next “trillion catering market”.
Delicious food from central kitchen to dining table
Over the past two years, prefabricated vegetable enterprises have frequently obtained financing, including Jingwei China, Tiantu investment, Qingsong fund and Sequoia Capital. Major food enterprises have also launched prefabricated food products. Driven by the two wheels of market and capital, the discussion of prefabricated food has reached a climax this year. According to incomplete statistics of public data, in 2021, there were more than 10 financing events in China’s Prefabricated vegetable industry, with a financing amount of billions of yuan.
In the past year, several fast-growing brands, including three meals with materials, light cooking, maizima and benweixianwu, were interviewed by the red bowl society. These young brands have their own explosion logic and product characteristics.
Three meals with materials is a new retail project independently incubated by the “frozen products online” group, the first B2B platform of the cold chain food supply chain. It has been established for more than one year and has also obtained three rounds of financing. Chen weican, the founder of three meals, said that prefabricated dishes not only solve the problem of convenience, but also ensure the safety and benefits of food.
Xu Jiacheng, vice president of Zhonghai investment, once said: “with the acceleration of the pace of urban life and the trend of family size miniaturization, the semi-finished food industry has ushered in an inflection point and entered a period of rapid development. The logistics and transportation of frozen products has its particularity, and the customer acquisition and performance efficiency of community retail terminals have obvious advantages over other channels.”
Cooook light cooking, an exotic food pre cooking brand, relies on the explosive formula of “global delicacy + Super ingredients + innovative experience”. The monthly revenue has increased rapidly from hundreds of thousands to millions in the middle of the year, and then to tens of millions of yuan in the second half of the year, with a month-on-month increase of 50%. More than 30 prefabricated vegetable products, such as boiled beef, sweet and sour pork tenderloin and pickled fish, which have obtained the strategic investment of Yuanqi forest and the launch of the family prefabricated vegetable brand “maizima” for the C-end, have a total monthly sales of about 20 million yuan.
Light cooking some products
This delicious food is a new consumer brand that cuts into the trillion meat product market with roast sausage. Xiao Xin, its founder, is very optimistic about the prefabricated vegetable track. Recently, this delicious food and Centennial Yu House released three new prefabricated dishes of new year pig banquet series, including stewed Dongpo meat, ham and duck pot and double pepper marinated sausage, which cut into more formal multi person lunch, dinner and other scenes.
In addition, Zhenwei Xiaomei garden, which has obtained four rounds of financing since its establishment, focuses on cost-effective prefabricated dishes. With the core concept of “moving restaurant level delicacies into consumers’ refrigerators”, it provides consumers with more than 100 prefabricated dish products. According to official data, in July and August 2021, Gmv reached tens of millions per month, with a year-on-year increase of nearly ten times.
Whether it is the light cooking that easily brings exotic cuisine to the table or the Zhenwei Xiaomei garden that brings restaurant grade delicacies into consumers’ refrigerators, they all make an issue in terms of product form, dining experience and the cost performance of benchmarking restaurants. Although they do not have the big hand of “rich and powerful” of large enterprises, they focus on the intensive cultivation of products, which also gives them a share in the hundreds of billions of market.
Don’t forget those cross-border “players”
New blue ocean, many entrants.
The more “lazy” young people are, the more enterprises like them. Hongwanshe observed that in addition to the new brands that have obtained financing, some large Internet manufacturers have also “bowed in”, and leading enterprises in industries such as Youxian, dingdong shopping, boxma and meituan have arranged prefabricated vegetable tracks one after another. In addition, Yonghui supermarket and aunt Qian, which mainly focus on fresh food, are also optimistic about the future of prefabricated dishes and increase the size of prefabricated dishes. On December 7, aunt Qian announced that she had reached a strategic cooperation with Wuzhi marinated goose, enabling the market development of the prefabricated vegetable industry.
Zhong Xuegao also started a quick-frozen food business across the border, selling ice cream in summer and dumplings in winter to share the cold chain. Lixiangguo launched by Zhong Xuegao cut into the frozen track with dumpling series. Over the past year, dozens of SKUs have been launched, such as small wonton, hand copying, fried dumplings, wonton, small crisp meat, instant bean pollen, seasoning and so on. According to public data, the overall performance of elephant country in 2021 double 11 increased by 700%. In addition to dumplings, steamed stuffed buns and glutinous rice balls, the new small crisp meat of Lixiang country reached the top 2 of tmall meat products industry one hour after it was put on sale, and the repurchase rate reached more than 40%.
Some products of Lixiang country
Jia Youlong announced that it will invest RMB 1 billion in the retail business of “guoyoulong’s semi-finished noodles” in 2021, and it is expected that it will invest RMB 1 billion in the future. Before press release, Lu Zhengyao, founder of Ruixing coffee, tried to enter the catering industry again through the tip of the tongue workshop, which was also widely discussed.
Red bowl learned from tech planet that the tongue tip technology group founded by Lu Zhengyao is incubating a new prefabricated vegetable project called “tongue tip workshop”. The tongue tip workshop purchases first-hand fresh raw materials through the origin, processes them into semi-finished products, freezes or refrigerates them for storage, and transports them to the retail terminal through the cold chain. After customers buy them, they can simply cook them with traditional kitchenware or new kitchenware, which can become a delicious food. It is understood that one of the advantages of the tongue tip workshop is cheap – the price of prefabricated ingredients is close to that of raw materials purchased directly from the supermarket, and the price of quick cooking dishes is 50% – 60% of that of restaurants.
In addition, time-honored brands such as Beijing Quanjude, Shanghai old hotel, Yunhai cuisine and Tongqing building have launched prefabricated dishes. With strong brand power and perfect supply chain basic equipment, these time-honored brands create various prefabricated dishes with local characteristics to cater to new audiences, such as Guangzhou restaurant’s traditional big meal series, newly launched sweet and sour raw fried bone, Gulu meat, Siberian Mongolian big bone, sheep and scorpion and other products.
Prefabricated dishes are destined to become the normal consumption of young groups. With the joint promotion of consumption upgrading, lazy economy, house economy, one person food, night economy, epidemic catalysis and other factors, the demand for prefabricated vegetables is gradually being tapped.
At present, everyone is running a horse and enclosure at the C-end. Industry insiders say that in the future prefabricated food market, the boundary between the b-end and C-end businesses will become more and more blurred. End C will continue to empower end B, better drive the efficiency and development of the enterprise’s supply chain, and improve the gross profit under the influence of brand power. Although the market penetration of 2C’s Prefabricated vegetables is not high at present, it can be expected in the future.
The growth rate is fast, but the problems are also prominent
We can’t ignore the fact that although young people are lazy and curtily, they have a tricky mouth. They are busy at work and are difficult to cook. Buying vegetables, washing vegetables, cutting vegetables, cooking and washing dishes are all problems. When these people come to a “kitchen without a mother”, they have no way to start. Perhaps some persistent people have tried several times and declared “failure”, so they can only “find another way to live”, For example, buy some prefabricated dishes.
According to the survey, in terms of age, it is mainly middle-aged and young people, accounting for 34.9% of the group aged 22-30 and 46.6% of the group aged 31-40. In terms of urban distribution, people living in first tier cities are more receptive to prefabricated dishes, accounting for nearly half, up to 45.7%. Nearly six of the consumers who buy prefabricated vegetables have become women.
“Inviting friends to dinner at home” has become the highest social courtesy in contemporary society. However, many young people are not good at cooking. What about young people who don’t cook when they treat them to dinner? In addition to dining out, prefabricated dishes give them the possibility of “entertaining at home”. Li Shefeng, Shenzhen regional head of HEMA 3R business unit, said in an interview with the media, “we found that young groups struggling in the first and second tier cities have formed new eating and consumption habits.”
Zhang Honglie, a Chinese culinary master and chief consultant of Shuhai supply chain, once said in an interview that 2021-2031 is a golden decade for the development of prefabricated dishes. Behind this prosperity, prefabricated dishes are still in their infancy in China, especially in the C-end market. Weng Bocheng, founder of maizima, also agreed: “from the consumer side, 2021 is the first year of prefabricated vegetables in the real sense.”
2021 is the first year, which means that there is still a long way to go for prefabricated dishes in the future. No consumer goods track can take off in one move. After surviving, we must think about how to go in the long run.
First, prefabricated dishes need to spend the cost of market education.
In the final analysis, this is the problem of taste restoration. Compared with the consumption concept of developed countries, Chinese consumers seem to have a natural stereotype of words such as “frozen products”, “semi-finished products” and “processed food”, and think that the taste is poor. Of course, the problem of “communication” can be gradually solved through e-commerce, social networking and grass planting platforms, The key point is that enterprises need to really solve the problem of taste. On the premise of good ingredients, good taste and high cost performance, convenient and fast prefabricated dishes have more possibilities for breakthrough.
In fact, instant noodles is the most classic “prefabricated food”. In recent years, fast food “flies all over the sky” and continues to upgrade, but fast food is to solve the problem of convenient and fast dining after all. Consumers are much more tolerant of their taste requirements. In order to eat well, consumers do not hesitate to spend more money on prefabricated dishes. Once the taste is equal to or even worse than fast food, they will have a bad purchase experience, which may “black” prefabricated dishes from now on, which is also a huge loss for enterprises.
Hongwanshe observed that one of the troughs of prefabricated dishes is the lack of taste recovery, which is likely to be related to the production technology of prefabricated dishes. Some prefabricated dishes will be pretreated, cooked and seasoned in the central kitchen. When consumers buy them and reheat them at home, the taste of the products will become worse. At this time, the comparison of consumers is the same dish in the restaurant, and the high expectation value also leads to the “high” of the taste evaluation standard. Therefore, “dishes taste high and restore” is also a problem that players are trying to overcome.
Secondly, it is the problem of cost performance.
When the taste and weight are satisfied, consumers begin to consider the problem of cost performance. According to the product forms of most prefabricated dishes at present, the cooking bag is an important play. One disadvantage of the cooking bag is that it is “difficult for consumers to have a sense of ceremony”, because the main use scenes of the cooking bag have always been fast food, fast food and takeout. This will make consumers feel “fast to eat”, which may not be realistic in the family scene of pursuing a sense of dining ceremony.
Therefore, if businesses want to solve this problem, they will be more exquisite in the material selection, packaging form and presentation of cooking bags, which is different from the traditional material bags, but it also means higher cost. Therefore, the prices of many prefabricated dishes do not meet the consumers’ ideal expectations, so the sales are blocked.
Prefabricated food is a business of “replacing hotel chefs” at home. How to provide consumers with cost-effective and more competitive products than restaurants on the premise of ensuring real materials is also an issue to be considered by prefabricated food enterprises.
Although there are “obstacles”, on the whole, there are many hard dishes in several major Chinese cuisines, and the food track is also quite broad. Each type of subdivided food has the opportunity of prefabricated dishes in the future. Compared with the heavy asset operation of the traditional catering industry, the prefabricated vegetable industry seems to be able to “take off light”. Brands need to constantly cultivate and polish the product side, and “get up quickly” on the premise of ensuring “delicious and cheap”.
In addition, the short shelf-life attribute of prefabricated dishes makes it more difficult for businesses to manage the pricing system. However, at a time when they have not run out of the obvious head, enterprises must not fall into a “price war”, but seek a development way of benign operation under the condition of ensuring profitability.
As the first year of prefabricated vegetables in 2021, we witnessed the rapid growth of many enterprises, marveled at the “Agility” of capital, and the prefabricated vegetable farm has been completely “burned”. With the continuous expansion of the market and audience, enterprises may face more problems that need to be solved. The future test for players will be the safety production capacity of the central kitchen, a complete cold chain logistics system, reasonable and strict supervision and other guarantee mechanisms. Perhaps the catering industry will be reconstructed due to the rise of prefabricated dishes. We will wait and see who can become the dark horse in the next “trillion catering”.
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