China Food

The layout of the parent company of Nongfu mountain spring, which does not occupy the cold chain and the refrigerator, is its plan to store vegetables!

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will the extremely convenient steamed and boiled bag food that can be preserved at room temperature for a long time be a new favorite on the Chinese table in the future?
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Text: Devin Yu

Source: foodaily daily food (ID: foodaily)

Recently, the whole of Shanghai has been hoarding vegetables, but it is not only Shanghai that is hoarding vegetables.
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In the case of repeated epidemics, some areas are faced with the situation that they do not know when their own community will be closed, or when the nearby supermarkets and vegetable markets will be closed. Therefore, the majority of Chinese people who have engraved contingency plans into their DNA have actively begun to store some food at home.
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Last weekend, foodaily Xiaobian, who joined the army of grain hoarding and purchasing, ran into a father and daughter in the frozen goods area of the supermarket. The little girl stood in front of the full ice cream cabinet and told her father that she wanted a box of ice cream, while her father picked up the few frozen children’s steak left in the other row of freezers and said to the little girl, “no, you can’t buy ice cream. There’s not enough space in the refrigerator at home.”
When Xiaobian arrived at the supermarket last weekend, the freezer was empty
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Whether it’s the refrigerators in the frozen product area that have been swept away offline, or the content sharing of “epidemic hoarding, household small freezer recommendation” and “it’s estimated that Shanghai people will buy explosive refrigerators in 618 this year”, we can see the improvement of consumers’ recognition and acceptance of the storage resistance of frozen prefabricated vegetables. At the same time, we can also see that frozen prefabricated vegetables have a large volume in the eyes of consumers and occupy the space of refrigerators.
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After the epidemic, there are many contents on Xiaohong book that recommend buying a separate freezer to increase family frozen storage space. Picture source: Xiaohong Book Wenge is rabbit sauce Yunshu
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With the wave after wave of epidemic, consumers are forced to stay at home and further catalyze the “house economy”, which also makes more consumers know about prefabricated dishes and begin to take prefabricated dishes as a new choice for family daily food reserves.
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In China, in addition to the unsatisfied new middle class, the epidemic has become an external factor to accelerate the rush of the prefabricated vegetable track. In addition to the recent period of time, under the attack of Omicron, the sales of prefabricated vegetables not only increased sharply for a time, but also the whole industry was stimulated by the good news. The concept of prefabricated vegetables rose and set off a wave of limit. Weizhixiang, Zhongshui fishery, Qianwei central kitchen, Shanghai Meilin, Haixin food and other stocks rose, while Sanquan food and Guolian aquatic products rose.
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However, in the domestic market, frozen food is still the main prefabricated food for consumers. According to foodaily’s global observation, in the world, especially in the Japanese market, in addition to frozen food, there is a very mature category of prefabricated dishes, that is, steamed bag food, also known as “soft can” food.
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According to the mrfr global cooking bag packaging Market Research Report, the global cooking bag product market will reach nearly 19.6 billion US dollars in 2020, and this figure is expected to reach 27.1 billion US dollars by 2025. In addition, Japan’s Statistical Yearbook in 2022 shows that in the past decade, Japan’s production of steamed bag food has remained stable at 350000-400000 tons; The consumption survey of Japanese people by MRI Mitsubishi comprehensive research institute also shows that nearly half of the respondents said they ate steamed bag food at least 2-3 times a month.
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Foodaily Research Institute believes that the development of frozen prefabricated dishes is bound to face some challenges, whether for the cold chain transportation cost of enterprises or the storage space of consumers’ household refrigerators. The cooking bag prefabricated vegetables that can be stored at room temperature may become a prefabricated vegetable solution to solve the cold chain logistics cost and household storage pressure at the same time, so as to solve some consumption pain points.
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So, what is a steamed bag of food? Why did Japan successfully take the lead in putting steamed bag food into commercial use and forming a high penetration rate? What are the main categories of steamed and boiled bag food? In the domestic market, what kind of imagination space does the category of steamed and boiled bag food have?
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From military to civilian,
How did steamed bag food realize commercialization in Japan?
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What is cooking bag food?
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Retort pouch foods or ^ oil in bag foods refer to packaged foods made after being sealed in light shielded and closed containers and sterilized at high temperature and high pressure in a sterilization kettle. The two common packaging forms are pouch or formed tray containers. This paper will mainly introduce the steamed and boiled bagged food in bags.
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A cooking bag of Haoshi food, the inner and outer packaging of curry, picture source: Haoshi food official website
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The popular science introduction of cooking bag food on Haoshi’s official website also shows the structure of common cooking bag packaging materials. Typical packaging materials are composed of acid and heat resistant polypropylene layer on the food contact side, aluminum foil layer with light and gas resistance in the middle, and PET material layer with protective strength, compression and impact resistance on the outside.
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A cooking bag packaging material structure displayed on Haoshi official website. Picture source: Haoshi food official website
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Schematic diagram of cooking bag structure, picture source: flirpackaging
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From military to civilian use, the first commercialization of cooking bags in Europe and America was not successful
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The earliest application of cooking bags came from the army. Since 1958, the U.S. Army’s Natick Research Institute and various laboratories have been engaged in the research of boiled bag food for the army for the first time, using this lighter and more portable soft can to replace the iron can used in the battlefield.
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The opportunity for cooking bag food to be known to the public is due to the cooking bag space food carried by Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969. Since then, European and American countries tried to commercialize boiled bag food and sell it to ordinary families in the 1960s and 1970s. However, perhaps because large refrigerators were popularized earlier in Europe and America, the demand for food preserved at room temperature is not high, and the main cooking method in Europe and America is to use oven to bake food, so the commercialization of steamed bag food is not successful.
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In 1968, the world’s first commercialized steamed bag curry was born in Japan
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After entering Japan at the end of Edo era, curry has gradually become one of the representative foods of Western cuisine and is loved by the public. Before the emergence of steamed bag curry, the mainstream curry products in Japan were curry powder and cans.
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In 1964, Otsuka food took over the company that produced and sold curry powder and instant curry pieces in Kansai. At that time, the competition among Japanese curry powder manufacturers was very fierce. Otsuka food wanted to make a differentiated product in the curry market.
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The director of Otsuka learned from the magazine modern packaging that the vacuum packaged sausage and military cooking bag food introduced by the U.S. Army Natick laboratory have become the driving force for Otsuka food to develop cooking bag curry. They are determined to apply the product form of cooking bag to curry to produce “curry that can be eaten when heated with hot water and will never fail”.
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Bon curry in 1968 (left) and Bon curry in 2018 (right), source: publicity Conference
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After several years of process development and exploration, the first commercial instant curry Bon curry was finally launched in 1968. However, due to the imperfect sealing technology, the products with inflated packaging often fall off the shelves, and the first product was joked by the public that “Bon curry will come out for a walk at night”.
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In May 1969, after targeted process improvement, the aluminum foil cooking bag curry, which does not need preservatives and can be stored at room temperature for two years, was sold all over Japan. This product was too novel at that time, and the price was not low compared with ordinary canteen curry. Therefore, Otsuka specially installed more than 100000 enamel billboards all over Japan, and the sales staff vigorously promoted it for market education.
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Since refrigerators were not yet popular in Japan at that time, the storage stability and excellent convenience of steamed and boiled bag food accurately grasped the pain point of consumption, and these efforts finally achieved results. The sales volume of Bon curry increased continuously. In 1973, it achieved an annual sales volume of 100 million bags, which also led to the development and commercialization of steamed and boiled bag food by other companies in the same industry.
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Since then, bon curry has been influenced by social changes. In the 1970s, Japan’s economy grew rapidly, and small families and double working families became more common. In the 1980s, more women joined the labor force; In the 1990s, population decline and overall aging led to an increase in the number of people living alone. The demand for delicious, simple and fast food continues to increase, and steamed bag curry is a typical food to meet this demand.
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In 2003, in response to the increasing number of “single meals”, Otsuka developed a cooking bag that can be heated in a microwave oven. In 2017, the market scale of steamed bag curry exceeded that of curry powder for the first time.
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The wide use of cooking bags is inseparable from its characteristics of safety, freshness, lightness and ease of use
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Due to the processing technology of pressurized high-temperature sterilization, the cooking bag food has a long shelf life, there is no problem of microbial and bacterial breeding, and can be stored at room temperature for a long time. At the same time, there is no need to add preservatives. Besides being safe and convenient to eat, it is also suitable for disaster emergency.
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The cooking bag commonly known as “soft can” was developed to replace metal cans at the beginning of development. Therefore, based on the advantages of metal cans, the packaging of cooking bag is light and convenient for transportation. As the packaging materials are thinner than metal cans, the heating and sterilization time required in production is shorter, and the food flavor and color are maintained better.
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At the same time, cooking bag food is convenient for consumers to heat quickly before eating. Just put the whole bag of products into boiling water, heat it in a water bath, or pour the contents into a container and heat it in a microwave oven. It can be said that it can be eaten with hands, which is quite convenient.
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In terms of waste recycling, because cooking bags can be easily flattened, it is much simpler to treat used cooking bags than metal cans. In addition, cooking bags use less than 5% of the traditional hard can packaging materials, and the resources used to produce cooking bags are far lower than those used to manufacture metal, paper or glass packaging.
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Fifty years after its birth,
What are the tricks of cooking bags in Japan?
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In Japan, when it comes to steamed bag food, curry comes to mind for the first time. Indeed, curry is the largest and most representative category of steamed and boiled bag food.
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According to the data of Japan canned food association, taking 2020 as an example, Japanese steamed and boiled bag food is mainly curry, seasoning sauce, meat products and soup, of which curry is far ahead with a production capacity of more than 160000 tons.
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Japan’s cooking bag food production in 2020 (by product category), data source: Japan Canned Food Association (JCA)
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However, it can also be seen from the above figure that after decades of development, steamed bag food has been applied to various categories such as pasta sauce, stewed meat cuisine, rice topping, hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot soup bottom, seasoning sauce, porridge, soup and so on.
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Steamed bag food king: Curry
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As the world’s first commercial steamed bag food, bon curry has been the benchmark of steamed curry for decades.
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On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its birth, Otsuka launched the 50th anniversary edition of Bon curry. Taking the original “curry made by mom” as the concept, Otsuka added more side dishes and meat while retaining the golden curry brine and the mild sweetness of onions in the original formula.
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Different from the traditional water bath heating, the packaging of the 50th anniversary version can be heated directly in the microwave oven, which is a great breakthrough. Although the product has a more modern style, it still arouses consumers’ love for the nostalgic taste of 50 years ago.
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Otsuka Bon curry 50th Anniversary Edition, photo source: Bon curry ad hoc website
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Classic meal Companion: seasoning sauce and instant topping
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As Japan’s leading condiment manufacturer, Kikkoman company has launched the “my home cooking” series of sauces, which can be used to make simple family Japanese dishes.
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For example, this Shouxi minced meat and tofu seasoning sauce, burn oil in a pan, add tofu pieces and stir fry, then add this seasoning sauce and stir fry for two or three minutes, and then sprinkle some seasonings such as chives according to your personal preference, you can easily make a plate of minced meat and tofu with hot meals.
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Guijiawanshouxi roast beef tofu, picture source: Kikkoman
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Domestic consumers’ impression of Muji is the brand of home groceries, but in fact, Japan’s Muji also has a rich variety of food commodities. On Muji’s Japanese official website, “cooking bags, cans and condiments” occupy a separate category, including curry, rice topping, soup, pasta seasoning, fried noodles, fried rice and other products.
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MUJI cover rice topping series product page, image source: Muji official website
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Among them, “covered rice topping” series is a very popular product line of MUJI products. It includes Mapo Tofu, Taiwan stewed pork rice, konjac stewed beef tendon, Babao, ginseng chicken soup, Thai nine storey tower fried minced meat, Yamei Dadao chicken rice in Kagoshima County, clam Shenchuan rice and so on.
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Just heat it in a water bath or pour the contents into a container, heat it in a microwave oven, and then pour it on white rice to enjoy delicious food all over the world.
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MUJI liangpin Mapo Tofu and Thai nine storey tower fried meat topping, picture source: MUJI liangpin official website
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“Weight” player in cooking bag: Meat cuisine
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Meat cooking is also a common type of steamed bag food, especially suitable for stewed meat cooking.
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For example, Kaldi’s Tomato stewed ox tongue, a large piece of soft and rotten ox tongue stewed with tomato sauce full of rich vegetables and fresh and sweet, whether eaten cold or hot, is very satisfying, and it is also very matched with rice.
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Source: Kaldi online store
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Of course, the steamed and boiled bag food in the Japanese market is far from the examples in the article, but can cover more complex traditional Japanese dishes, even Chinese and Western dishes from simple curry and cooked rice.
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The fast pace of life has prompted family kitchens to use cooking compound seasoning sauce to prepare dishes. Mackerel miso cooking, Kanto hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot cooking, Mapo Tofu or eel cooking are becoming more and more abundant and complex.
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Nishikiya kitchen’s various cooking types of steamed bag food, picture source: nishikiya official shopping website
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From contents to heating mode, the cooking bag keeps pace with the times is a convenient small household appliance
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The innovation of cooking bag is not limited to the category of ingredients.
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Japan aplx company has also developed a special cooking bag heating machine to match its convenient use method. The earliest cooking bags only supported water bath heating. With the wide popularity of microwave ovens, cooking bags gradually began to support microwave heating.
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However, water bath heating requires boiling water, and microwave heating usually requires pouring the contents into a plate or bowl first. These seemingly simple preparations are also contrary to the concept of extreme convenience of cooking bags. Therefore, Japan aplx’s crowdfunding product export Tei entered the market and triggered a strong response. Similar to a toaster, all consumers have to do is plug in the power, insert the cooking bag into the slot, turn the dial, and everything is ready.
Source: aplx Intl
Yangshengtang, Huang Xiaozhu and other brands are in the layout,
How much imagination can a small cooking bag hold in China?
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With the outbreak of the prefabricated vegetable market, why is the cooking bag likely to be the next opportunity?
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In recent years, prefabricated dishes have witnessed explosive growth in China. Under the background of rapid pace of life, high proportion of single population and improved people’s awareness of disaster emergency response, foodaily Research Institute believes that since the characteristics and advantages of steamed and boiled bag food can complement frozen prefabricated vegetables, the Chinese market is also likely to become one of the prominent markets of steamed and boiled bag food in the future.
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Extremely fast, storage resistant at room temperature, and truly realize the “freedom without washing the pot”
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Cooking bag food heating is simple and fast, which can be said to be “simpler than boiling instant noodles”. It meets the current demand of domestic mainstream consumers for extreme convenience, and can enable consumers to truly achieve the goal of 0 cooking well and eating healthily.
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The feature of normal temperature storage can cope with the pain point of limited storage space in household refrigerators, especially suitable for daily food and emergency food reserves of single groups and small families.
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In addition, the processing technology of “soft can” cooking bag determines that this category does not need additives. The oxygen and moisture permeability are close to zero, and the contents are almost impossible to undergo chemical changes, which meets the current mainstream consumers’ healthy pursuit of clean ingredients and few additives,
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It is worth noting that the fully sealed characteristics of cooking bags are very suitable for liquid food and stewing dishes. Unlike the West or Japan, there are a large number of stewing dishes in China’s mainstream eating habits, and cooking bags can solve the packaging problem of such prefabricated dishes.
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No need for cold chain, reduce logistics cost pressure
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From the perspective of logistics, the control of cold chain logistics has always been a headache for relevant food brands. The construction of general warehouse and sub warehouse and the choice of self built outsourcing not only have huge investment, but also have high management difficulties, and have great restrictions on sales channels. The cooking bag only needs ordinary normal temperature transportation, which can greatly reduce the logistics threshold of food brands.
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Practice landing, domestic existing brand layout
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At the product level, foodaily observed that there is already a certain technical basis for the production and processing of cooking bags in China, and products with cooking bags as the main packaging form have emerged one after another.
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“Mother” brand is a brand of Yangshengtang, the parent company of nongnongshanquan. It once started the market with mother brand beef stick.
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In 2020, mother brand launched toppings such as curry beef and table stewed rice packaged in cooking bags to layout the prefabricated vegetable market with this segment.
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Today, the mother brand has launched instant new rice. This is also a kind of cooking bag food in a broad sense, that is, shaped tray container cooking bag food. It focuses on the selling points of no additives, microwave heating for 3 minutes, normal temperature storage and so on, and can form a complete meal with topping series products.
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Source: Yangshengtang food flagship store
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In addition, foodaily observed that cutting-edge brands have also begun to layout. As a convenient fresh food brand established in 2020, Huang Xiaozhu successively completed seed round, pre-A round and strategic financing in 2021. The brand focuses on “convenient and delicious fresh light nourishing instant porridge”. Its four light luxury gift box series porridge products, including abalone seafood porridge, bird’s nest Tremella porridge, ginseng chicken porridge and sea cucumber millet porridge, are all products in the form of cooking bags.
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Huang Xiaozhu adopts the brand core “super lock fresh kettle” ™” The technical process uses high-temperature and high-pressure cooking to sterilize the food materials, and realizes normal temperature preservation through cooking bag packaging technology. It can be eaten immediately after opening the bag. At the same time, it supports 90 second heating in microwave oven or water bath heating, which solves the pain point of long time-consuming porridge cooking at home.
Source: Huang Xiaozhu Xiaohong Book No
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Once these products come out, they will receive a good response from consumers and capital pursuit. It is true that Chinese consumers still have the eating habits of paying attention to freshness and making on the spot. However, as a mature category of overseas prefabricated vegetable products, its product attributes of safety, standard, stability and maintaining the original flavor are still a good choice for consumers in office, outdoor and other scenes.
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With the continuous promotion of market education, the improvement of online penetration and the laying of offline channels dominated by chain convenience stores, relying on the advantages of more convenient than takeout and more systematic guarantee of production process, the imagination space of steamed and boiled bag food may not be limited to special scenes, but more from attracting dinner people, which has become a help in the family kitchen revolution of contemporary young people.
Summary
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Among the top ten annual business hotspots in 2022, foodaily proposed that the Chinese people’s desire for smoke and anger at the family table from generation to generation will give birth to the new demand for the family table in the modern fast-paced lifestyle, and the same pace on the consumer side and the industry side will give birth to China’s “new staple food culture”. Among them, prefabricated dishes are bound to usher in a period of rising development.
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In the Japanese market, starting from a small bag of curry, cooking bags have changed the daily eating habits of many consumers, and provided packaging solutions for military food, space food, pet food, medical liquid, etc., which surprised us with the power of food science and technology innovation.
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After decades of social changes in Japan, steamed bag food has become one of the mature industries of Japanese food. At the same time, China’s active young consumption power, rich food culture and sufficiently inclusive market environment make us predict that steamed bag food may become the next blue ocean of the prefabricated vegetable segment in the future.
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reference material:
[1]History of Food Packaging,Gordon L. Robertson, in Reference Module in Food Science, 2019
[2] A Product of Foresight and Passion,Otsuka
[3]Japanese Retort Foods, Kikkoman
[3]New Japanese gadget is like a toaster for instant food pouches; Gets you fed in a jiffy, Japan, September 19, 2021
[4] RETORT POUCH PACKAGING MARKET – GROWTH, TRENDS, COVID-19 IMPACT, AND FORECASTS (2022 – 2027), Mordor Intelligence
[5] Wikipedia: Food
[6] よコわるよトょトトヒトトトトトトとはなにか, j-net21
[7] Types of foujie, Fujie, Fujie food, legal person of public welfare society, Japan foujie Food Association
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