China Food

Who is harvesting young people’s wallets with novel food and drinks?

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is functional food and beverage IQ tax?
 ”

Xu Fei, an investor who pays attention to the consumption field, found that many functional food and beverage entrepreneurs have emerged in the market recently, and many functional food and beverage products focusing on eyesight and health preservation have emerged, such as drinking tea drinks that can let children take off their glasses, Chinese health preserving Ganoderma coffee, ganoderma jelly, hyaluronic acid bubble water and weight loss coffee.

New functional food and beverage products emerge one after another, but Xu Fei is not optimistic about these products. He believes that their gimmicks outweigh their effectiveness, and there is a great suspicion of cutting leeks.
Xu Fei’s view on functional food and beverage is a true portrayal of the development dilemma of the domestic functional food and beverage industry. On the one hand, this is a track that is expected to grow into a market scale of 100 billion, and the industry has always been on the rise in the past two years. On the other hand, the original sin label of “functionality” has always been unable to get rid of the market doubt of “IQ tax”. According to the data of China Commercial Industry Research Institute, the market scale of functional food will exceed 600 billion yuan in 2022. The market scale of 100 billion yuan has attracted many players. Tianyancha data show that at present, there are more than 9300 enterprises with business scope including “functional food” or “functional beverage”, of which more than 70% have been established in recent five years. Before the capital bearish consumption track, it was also very optimistic about this niche market. There were 12 financing events in the track in 2021, and there were many leading star institutions such as Sequoia, GGV Jiyuan capital and IDG capital. Even in 2022, when the whole economy is down, several functional food and beverage brands have also received financing. Entrepreneurs are happy to create one food concept after another, from meal shake to collagen, to probiotics, from 0 sugar, 0 calorie, 0 fat to 0 sucrose. However, the industry has always been in an embarrassing situation with categories but no brands. Is it really easy to earn young people’s money?
Nuggets functional food and beverage track
Functional food and beverage and health food are often confused, but they are not the same.
From the perspective of current regulations, there are clear industry norms for the listing, product publicity and product efficacy evaluation of health food products, with the exclusive logo “blue hat” of health products. However, there is no clear standard for functional food. At present, in addition to entrepreneurial functional food companies, there are traditional health care brands such as Amway, Thomson Beijian and treasure of nature, beverage companies such as nongnongshanquan, Wahaha, Yuanqi forest and Coca Cola, as well as cross-border players such as Tongrentang and Huaxi biology. From the perspective of financing situation and performance, functional food and beverage brands still maintain high-speed growth in 2022. “Easy rule”, “source research institute” and “Xiuyuan YangZheng” have received financing. Functional drinks have developed from blue ocean to red ocean. Hu Hao, founder of yuanneng sports drink, started his business last year. Among the many market segments of functional drinks, he finally chose sports drink as the starting point. At the beginning of its establishment, the company was favored by Jingwei venture capital, an investment institution, and obtained nearly ten million yuan of angel investment. The underlying logic of choosing sports beverage categories, Hu Hao told tech planet, from a horizontal and vertical structural framework, the horizontal axis is categories: bottled water, tea, carbonated acid, fruit juice, function / sports, coffee, etc; The vertical axis is: coke, Pepsi, nongnongshanquan, Wahaha, unity, Master Kang, Yuanqi forest, happy tea, etc. in such a structural quadrant, choose the category you want to start a business from the competition pattern of different categories. Sports drinks have been in double-digit growth in the past decade, with a relatively good growth. Now it is about 20 billion plates. The head focus is relatively low. The three major brands in the United States account for about 90% of the concentration, while China accounts for about 40% of the market share, so there is a lot of room for development. In addition, the number of sports has increased rapidly in the past two years, and the demographic dividend has created an excellent window for entrepreneurs. In addition, he had worked in JDB for many years, was familiar with category cognition and playing methods, and could quickly copy his previous experience to new categories, so the entrepreneurial direction was determined. For category determination, the opportunity lies in content innovation, that is, the raw material level goes in the natural direction. Hu Hao said that the emerging young people pay more and more attention to the ingredient list. From the perspective of lengthening the time axis, there has been no new change in the contents of sports drinks in the past 30 to 40 years. Yuanneng wants to replace the synthetic substances in the previous sports drinks with natural and natural ingredients. For example, coconut water replaces electrolyte, and the content of fruit juice is more than 25%. Yuanneng targets the foreign sports beverage brand bodyarmor, which takes “natural” as its selling point. The products use coconut water, low sodium and high potassium and electrolyte, without artificial pigment. Hu Hao said that the profit margin of yuanneng sports beverage is about 50% – 60%. Sports drinks are only one of the many subdivisions of functional drinks, which also includes energy drinks, sports drinks, nutrient drinks and other types of drinks. The development momentum of the whole functional beverage has been extremely rapid in the past two years. In 2021, the domestic functional beverage brand “Dongpeng special drink” was listed. The first financial report since the listing of Dongpeng special drink showed that the total revenue of Dongpeng beverage in 2021 was about 6.978 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 40.72%, and the net profit was 1.193 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 46.9%. In terms of sales volume, Dongpeng special drink has surpassed Red Bull and successfully won the first position in the energy beverage industry (one of the main subdivisions of functional drinks). Foreign Coca Cola acquired the sports beverage brand bodyarmor for us $5.6 billion (about 36 billion yuan), the largest brand acquisition since the company was founded 129 years ago. Nongnongshan spring, which started with water, has also successfully developed energy drinks into a new growth curve of the company. According to the financial report released by nongnongshan spring on March 28, the total revenue of nongnongshan spring in 2021 was 29.696 billion yuan, of which the revenue of functional drinks was 3.695 billion yuan, an increase of 32.3% over 2020.
over marketing play concept, product investment accounts for only 30%
 
Different from functional drinks, functional food users have higher education costs, and it is also one of the most controversial categories of IQ tax.
Chen Xiao makes products in a functional food company and has rich practical experience in supply chain. Chen Xiao said that at the end of the supply chain, many businesses like to do functional skin care products with mature supply chain. When a category business is mature, it needs to broaden its categories horizontally, and most of them prefer to cut into functional food categories. The supply chain side is relatively open, with a high degree of realization and no barriers. Except that individual manufacturers have exclusive raw materials and patents, the products of the whole industry have little differentiation. Functional food companies such as melatonin fudge, collagen fudge supplement, refreshing bubble lozenge and probiotic enzyme jelly in the market mostly adopt the generation processing mode. The threshold for Industry candidates is not high. Generally, the factory can be entrusted to copy and produce a popular product on the market with an investment of 100000 yuan. An agent factory owner told tech planet that in terms of R & D and production capacity, they can produce functional products such as wonderlab, fit8, vitality forest and body control water. Product R & D and customization can be carried out, and the product forms include powder, liquid, tablet, dairy products, etc. In the early stage, functional foods and beverages were mainly dominated by wechat merchants. After a few years of market education, some new consumer brands rose, such as buffx blocking candy, melatonin soft candy, nelo probiotics chewing beans, wonderlab substitute milkshake, etc. In order to highlight the difference, new consumer brands like to purchase customized raw materials, or use patented materials with competitive barriers, and cooperate with raw material suppliers to develop unique raw materials. In Chen Xiao’s view, the so-called functional food is new resource food. The core advantage of this industry is “raw materials”. Generally, a product with relatively new raw materials is easier to stand out because of low market saturation and insufficient competition. For example, last year, hyaluronic acid raw materials were included in the scope of food application, and a number of hyaluronic acid foods represented by Huaxi biology were born on the market. The functional food and beverage industry is on the rise as a whole, and the development prospect of the industry is good, but Chen Xiao also admitted that not all products can “deserve their name” like their claimed special effects. Among the players, it is inevitable to make too much publicity. There are many products playing the concept, and some product functions need to be marked with a question mark. Many functional food practitioners said that it is indisputable that a product wants to open the market and create the necessary volume and gimmicks. “Don’t easily put a hat on functional food”. But many times, functional foods are often easy to fall into the trap of over marketing. There are no big brands in this track, only online popular brands, and many brands are created by marketing and advertising. According to the factory owner, if you make a functional food brand from scratch, if you invest 1 million, you need to invest 300000 in products, 100000 in planning and packaging, 50000 in store deposit, 30000 in operating expenses and 520000 in marketing expenses. The internal volume of the product is also very serious. For example, in the recently popular field of “everything can be probiotics”, we will make a big fuss on the number of live bacteria and compete for the parameters of live bacteria. One party claims 60 billion live bacteria, and another player must claim 100 billion. Chen Xiao lamented that consumers really have such a great demand for probiotics? The live bacteria of many products can reach 100 billion CFU / 3G. Is the roll product parameter meaningful and can consumers perceive it? In fact, according to the recommendations of nutrition experts, 10 billion probiotics can be consumed every day. It is not suitable to consume too much at one time or for a long time, so as not to cause intestinal flora disorder.
selling “appearance, figure, health anxiety”, harvesting young people
The functional food and beverage industry has never lacked gimmicky online red products. Instead of meal milkshakes, collagen drinks, hyaluronic acid bubble water and probiotic tablets, the industry can always form a periodic tuyere, and each tuyere can always successfully harvest a wave of young people.
 
WonderLab曾经是功能性食品的创业天花板。
 
2019年从“代餐”细分品类切入,成立第一年就拿到了三轮融资,产品销售额一度高达6000万,被天猫评为最受女性欢迎的瓶装代餐奶昔品牌TOP1。
 
2020年,朋友圈、抖音、微博、小红书等社交平台几乎到处都是WonderLab的广告,WonderLab在争议中保持高速发展,三年时间收获6轮融资。
 
然而以代餐产品起家的WonderLab,最近开始调转方向,转身投入市场更为火热的益生菌食品。代餐奶昔无论在声量还是讨论度上,都再难与2020年火爆程度相提并论,沦为被年轻人抛弃的上古食品。益生菌食品不断推新,今年4月,WonderLab推出许多益生菌产品,像儿童益生菌、益生菌压片糖果。
 
从奶昔到益生菌,转型背后,不仅仅代表着创业者从一个小品类切换成更大的市场。诚然,代餐奶昔本身不是一个高增长高复购的品类,用户消耗有限,消费者对于益生菌需求量更大,肠道不舒服可以用益生菌功能解决,可以真实解决消费者某些痛点。
 
然而倒逼企业转型的关键在于,主打减肥功能的代餐奶昔真的有效吗?一位小红书博主分享笔记中谈到,去年双十一囤了很多,下定决心要减肥,然而喝了一半都不到,就堆在一边。最近心血来潮想继续喝,发现代餐已经全部过期。该博主称,代餐奶昔对减肥来说没什么效果,一天两顿代餐的话或许可以瘦,但应该也是饿瘦的。
 
年轻人容貌焦虑、身材焦虑、健康焦虑催生了市场上跟健康、减肥等概念相关的功能性食品,无糖、低卡、植物基、有机、健康成为食品饮料行业财富密码。
 
从销量来看,愿意为功能食品买单的人群并不在少数。代工厂老板发给Tech星球一份抖音平台销售数据显示,一款蓝莓叶黄素压片糖果,0.6克*60片,售价59.9元,月销360万。氨基丁酸酸枣仁茯苓百合压片糖果,0.6克*60片 59.9元 月销量480万。汤臣倍健yep胶原蛋白固体饮料,30袋/罐 单价178,月销350万。
 
但是,需求与功效之间存在巨大的鸿沟。年轻人一边主动为功能性食品买单,朋克养生,一边在内心深处进行不断的质疑。一位购买功能食品的网友表示,健康食品是红海,现在是一切+益生菌的发展态势。他本人因为肠道问题所以购买了很多益生菌产品,至于效果如何,对方称,感觉有点效果,或者说心理作用很好。
 
功能产品无法在功效上进行科学有效的自我证明,最后只能沦为“卖家卖安慰,买家买心安”。
 
产品功能很大程度上影响了功能食品的生命周期。一个行业共识是,功能食品行业生死线就是3个月,3个月做不起来就再无坚持的必要。上述代工厂老板告诉Tech星球,功能性食品需要花钱买点新闻,买点直通车,刷刷单,3个月,做不起来就放弃。
 
另一位功能食品操盘手同样声称,功能食品必须快速收割,争取产品复购,短时间内复购越多越好。
 
速生速死的产品周期注定了,有些产品只会以收割为导向,这也导致,整个功能食品饮料行业始终无法摆脱智商税的污名,功能食品品牌化发展任重道远。
作者:翟元元;来源:Tech星球(ID:tech618),转载已获得授权。
转载授权及媒体商务合作:Amy(微信号:13701559246);
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