China Food

Sugar free wind and cloud

is the sugar free future a substitute or a real sugar free future? The bullet needs to fly a little longer.
How did the sugar free wind blow
Speaking of sugar free drinks, Japan can stand up and speak.
In the 90s of last century, the Japanese real estate market bubble burst, economic fluctuations led to a decrease in some optional consumption, but the trend of convenience and healthy consumption brought about by the evolution of social structure and diet culture was not affected. This directly promoted the development of low alcohol drinks and low salt organic soy sauce in the next 20 years.
Sugar free drinks, which also represent health, began to appear in Japan in the 1980s. After eating soil for several years, they quickly became popular, and the proportion jumped directly from 2% in 1985 to 25% in 1995. Subsequently, although the penetration growth slowed down, it still maintained double-digit growth until 2015. In 2020, sugar free beverages have accounted for half of Japan’s beverage industry (data source: ITO garden).
Unlike Europe, America and other countries, tea drinks are far more popular than carbonated drinks in Japan’s sugar free beverage category. In addition to the pursuit of functionality, the popular tea culture in the streets of Japan is an important reason for this phenomenon.
The decade from 1985 to 1995 is also regarded as the golden decade for the development of sugar free drinks in Japan. Suntory, ITO garden and Kirin have all taken this ride. Among them, ITO garden got up the earliest.
In 1979, ITO garden acted as an agent for oolong tea of China National Native Produce and animal products import and Export Corporation, started the business of middleman in Japan, and developed the world’s first canned oolong tea beverage the following year. As the standard of high-quality human in Japan, drinking oolong tea anytime, anywhere is a way of life. Because of its ability to promote Chinese oolong tea in Japan, ITO garden was also commended by China National Tea Corporation in 1988.
The popularity of Oolong tea makes Suntory see a great opportunity. Unlike ITO garden, which only makes tea, Suntory, which mainly makes whisky and beer, is not only richer but also more profitable than the former.
After the rapid launch of Oolong tea, Suntory turned to create a series of advertisements with Chinese landscape, crosstalk, classic animation and popular actors as creativity, trying to prove with a strong Chinese flavor that its own oolong tea is many times more authentic than that next door.
For example, the first advertisement launched by Suntory is to tell the local love story in ancient China.
“World peace, love for his wife, and the three benefits of Oolong tea.
Of course it’s oolong tea. It’s more important to drink Suntory. “
In just two sentences, the embarrassment is no worse than that of miss meiyouji, but it also has the effect of brainwashing.
Influenced by history, in the hearts of the Japanese, green tea is the best of their own country, but oolong tea is still the best of China. This also makes Suntory a c-spot. Ito garden, who rushed forward, was taken by surprise – although the tea he used was genuine Chinese, it was a mistake not to confess to everyone.
For the soft drink industry with emerging categories and increasingly rich tastes, the marketing ability determines the attention in the product introduction period and the growth speed in the growth period. With the expansion of scale, R & D strength determines the length of the overall life cycle of the enterprise.
But at the same time, due to the fast iteration speed of the industry, if the product can occupy the minds of consumers by virtue of marketing ability, it can effectively prolong the product life cycle.
For nearly 30 years since then, Suntory has made an advertisement emphasizing the authentic taste of its own products every year, disgusting its opponents and putting itself in the top position of Japanese oolong tea.
The East is not bright, the west is bright. Although ITO garden was pried into the corner, it was also greatly inspired and played a twelve point spirit in the newly opened battlefield of sugar free green tea. It not only starts the concept of green tea produced locally, but also strictly controls the taste. It is required that what the taste of green tea is, bottled green tea must be.
To this end, ITO garden specially conducts training and assessment for all staff. Whether it is R & D or sales, they all hold the qualification certificate of “ten level scholars in tea science”, and all of them have the unique skill of tasting green tea. With some operation, the new business of sugar free green tea was gradually done by ITO garden.
Old friend Suntory also took a fancy to the green tea market and tried to compete with ITO garden. He also specially found Fushou garden, an old tea plantation with a history of more than 200 years in Kyoto to correct his name.
Ito garden, which occupied the cognitive highland early and was willing to work hard on product taste, is obviously not the ITO garden of that year. After several contests, Suntory’s market share in sugar free green tea has increased, but it is still a head shorter than ITO garden.
The domestic market is increasingly crowded, and the first brother can’t attack for a long time. Suntory has moved other thoughts.
Domestic sugar free wind
The Japanese have brought cameras, toilet covers and famous and excellent products in China, but they can’t help the wall in sugar free tea.
In 1997, Suntory brought his oolong tea into the Chinese market and launched an advertising war under the slogan of “a new generation of drinks beyond water”. However, the original bitterness of tea not only did not make oolong tea replace water, but also did no substantive harm to the sour and sweet drinks with rich flavors on the market.
Unable to grasp the stomach of Chinese people, Suntory’s oolong tea still can’t get out of its origin in Shanghai ten years after entering China.
In 2010, Suntory saw the slimming trend of domestic urban beauties and made a comeback with the slogan of “zero calories” with a sweet “Gan zero” oolong tea product.
This should have been a beautiful turnaround. The reason why it was sweet was that Suntory added genuine white granulated sugar to the drink. After being fined 1.36 million by the Administration for Industry and Commerce for false publicity, Suntory rushed to the street again.
In this incident, the Administration for Industry and commerce also carefully calculated the content of 18300 calories per bottle of Gan zero according to the conversion formula between sugar content and energy, energy and calories, which provided a wave of mathematics and chemistry for Suntory.
Not only Suntory, the sugar free farmer tea launched by nongnong Shanquan in 2006 was still difficult to promote even if it was advertised by Korean popular female star Li Yingai. It was discontinued. Later, the Oriental leaf was listed in the top 5 of “the hardest drink in history”. Consumers do not buy, so that farmers mountain spring tasted the pain of tea.
In addition, the unified tea king, the original leaf of Coca Cola and Master Kang’s native flavor tea house have been rubbed on the ground one after another due to taste, pricing and other reasons.
The turnaround occurred in 2016. Yuanqi forest went out of the circle with a sugar substitute to burn tea.
The explosion of vitality forest is not without clues. This year, new tea drinks represented by happy tea broke out, rapidly infiltrating tea drinks into the main consumer groups of beverages.
At the same time, the number of diabetic patients in China is increasing. According to the CDC and the Chinese Medical Association, the number of people in 2016 is nearly 100 million. That is to say, almost one in 10 adults is suffering from diabetes.
In the same year, China’s obese population reached 90 million, beginning to surpass the United States and become the country with the largest number of obese people in the world.
With the emphasis on health and the fear of sugar, reducing the sugar bomb in the order to three parts sweet has become the basic operation of migrant workers.
The outbreak of vitality also reveals a hidden rule that sugar free drinks want to be popular in China: no sugar, but no sweetness.
The new combination of old elements can create creativity and new markets.
Enlightened Yuanqi Senli not only binds tea with the concept of 0 sugar, 0 fat and 0 calories, but also quickly launched sugar free bubble water with sweet and spicy mouth, and the main flavor is lemon flavor, lactic acid bacteria flavor and honey peach flavor verified by the market. Let a group of aspiring young people who are used to drinking fat house water and fruit drinks have no relocation cost, but shout 666, my baby.
Relying on the concept of zero sucrose, Yuanqi forest achieved sales of 870 million in 2019, of which 70% came from sugar free bubble water (data source: first finance and Economics). In the first five months of 2020, the sales exceeded 660 million (data source: Yuanqi Jiebao of the company), and the annual sales were close to 3 billion (data source: latepost later). In this year, it launched full score fruit juice microbubbles Alien electrolyte, water and other products.
Seeing the popularity of sugar free gas bubble, old brand enterprises have opened the horse racing enclosure mode. Nestle launched iced lime, blueberry and blackcurrant, Jianlibao launched micro bubble water, Coca Cola launched appletiser and refreshing element fruit and vegetable essence bubble water, nongnongshan spring launched summer orange flavor bubble water, and uniformly launched light Bo new flavor lemon flavor bubble water.
Dairy veteran Yili joined the war and launched Iran milk mine bubble water, Tsingtao Beer launched light zero soda bubble water across the border, and Xi tea and Naixue also launched bottled gas bubble water.
The rolled up sugar free beverage industry has the style that everything can be soaked in water.
Sugar free, who is better
After more than 30 years of development, the soft drink industry has already entered a mature period from its adolescence.
After 2015, the growth rate of China’s per capita beverage output dropped significantly, the sales growth rate of soft drinks (except packaged drinking water) was only single digits, and the compound growth rate from 2014 to 2019 remained at 4.83%.
With the slowdown of industry growth in this stock market, the competition of traditional beverage brands is fierce. In a single category of lemonade alone, there are many scuffles, such as pulsation, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Suntory, uni president and jinmailang.
Although the sales of sugar free beverages accounted for only 1.25% in 2019, as a new incremental market, new and old forces competed to enter the market first, and the growth rate of the industry is not low.
For example, the market scale of sugar free carbonated drinks was still 600 million yuan in 2014 and reached 5.46 billion yuan in 2019, with a five-year compound growth rate of 55.53%. The scale of sugary carbonated drinks was 83.04 billion yuan, with a five-year compound growth rate of only 1.21%.
According to the prediction of Zhiyan consulting, the market scale of sugar free beverages will reach 27.66 billion yuan in 2027.
For brands, sugar free drinks are no longer dispensable, but an important strategic chess piece to layout trend categories and rewrite the competition pattern of the beverage market. At the same time, the higher gross profit margin of sugar free drinks also makes all brands have a strong willingness to enter the market.
Who will have a chance to break through the siege when the old and new forces fight? Is it a vigorous forest with obvious local advantages, a traditional brand with stronger comprehensive strength, or other players?
In detail, as a cutting-edge force, vitality forest has the following advantages in the wave of sugar free drinks:
1. At the initial stage of the development of sugar free drinks in China and when the taste is not recognized by the public, Yuanqi forest, as a pioneer, introduced erythritol, which is more expensive and has no dispute about its safety, into the raw materials, and monopolized a place in the 5 yuan price band.
2. Make a decisive sprint in the bud of the industry. Relying on product R & D ability, actively develop new flavors and try and error products with internet thinking.
For example, the limited edition will be launched on holidays to adapt to the tastes and aesthetics of local consumers in different regions, and special edition will be issued. Finally, it will form a popular manufacturing capacity and rich product portfolio.
3. In marketing promotion, he is good at making gimmicks and seizing the minds of consumers.
As Tang Binsen said, “I hope you will think of the bubble forest when we talk about the forest of vitality”. From the economic exploitation of fans of Wang Yibo, Zhang Yuqi and Chen Feiyu to the young group of micro-blog, jowl, B station and Xiao Hong, the forest of Qi will always carry out the tiktok, continuously enhancing the brand influence and product efficiency transformation.
Therefore, Yuanqi forest can not only enjoy the industry dividend in the wave of sugar free drinks, but also enjoy the dividend of product matrix expansion as a brand. This is where Yuanqi forest has advantages over the new sugar free forces in China.
Compared with traditional beverage giants, the distribution capacity of Yuanqi forest in the retail terminal is still weaker, and the higher pricing will increase this disadvantage again. However, at present, how to strengthen the new frequency of products, continue to improve the taste, and grab the consumers of carbonated drinks and reach more consumers with the help of their own differentiated positioning is the key to be explored by Yuanqi forest.
The current beverage giants, such as Coca Cola, nongnongshan spring and uni president, are the biggest players and beneficiaries in the wave of beverage consumption in the past three decades.
These enterprises have enjoyed the dividends of rapid growth in the early stage of industry development, and also experienced the competition and pressure brought by the slowdown of growth after the industry enters the mature stage. They also have enough advantages to show their strength in this emerging track in order to open the ceiling of the company’s future growth. Their advantage lies in:
First, it has strong product R & D, production and channel integration capabilities.
This is the biggest difference between traditional players and new players. They have iterated and upgraded rapidly in the beverage field for many years, and carried out production and distribution on a large scale. The accumulated experience and ability can be migrated to a certain extent and integrated into the production and sales management of sugar free drinks, so as to improve efficiency and promote the iterative upgrading speed of new products.
Second, the head players have more resources and are more sustainable in the R & D investment of sugar free drinks.
Third, the brand of traditional players is well-known, and the customer group reached is relatively large, which reduces the cost and difficulty of product introduction for the brand.
Traditional players are not without disadvantages. For example, how to find a balance between the growth rate of sugary drinks and even the decline of market share and the continuous investment in sugar free drinks is also a major challenge it faces.
There is fierce competition in bubble water without sugar. As another domain of sugar free drinks, sugar free tea drinks are slightly silent.
An interesting phenomenon is that although there is zero sucrose in the field of bubble water, artificial or natural sugar substitutes are basically used to increase the sweetness. In the field of sugar free tea, in addition to the Oriental leaves and Suntory oolong tea that nongnong Shanquan has been promoting, many products are also truly sugar free (no sucrose, no natural sugar substitute and no artificial sugar substitute).
Obviously, sugar substitute drinks use the similar taste, which is the logic to replace the traditional sugar drinks. The real sugar free tea is the logic of change. Relying on the sweet return and health attributes of tea, cultivate sugar free consumers in the real sense, and these consumers will eventually become the main consumption force of sugar free drinks.
In the hot selling list of sugar free tea drinks released by tmall, Yuanqi forest burning tea (with added sugar substitutes) ranked first, while the tea series lemon black tea (with added sugar substitutes) and oolong tea (with added sugar substitutes) ranked second and third respectively. Followed by Suntory’s sugar free oolong tea (no sucrose, no natural sugar substitute and no artificial sugar substitute).
Is the sugar free future a substitute for sugar or a real sugar free future? The bullet needs to fly a little longer.
reference material:
[1] How does Suntory become the overlord of tea?
[2] A Japanese Tea advertisement has been filmed in China for 27 years?
[3] Introduction to Japanese tea (1) | bottled tea drinks
[4] “Sugar free” series reports (I) and (II) beverage industry: running water does not compete first, but is endless
Author: white tea; Source: Food and beverage innovation camp (ID: spyl316), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246); Fbic2022food daily food joined hands with the world’s top business and industrial partners to build fbic222 global food and beverage Innovation Conference & the first Food Expo daily food innovation Expo “new food era – brand ecology” in Shanghai from May 31 to June 2, 2022. We invite you to witness it together. (click the picture to see the detailed introduction). related reading

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