China Food

Net red chili sauce encircles old Ganma


“ 
put some meat in the rice, which is called fried rice. Put some rice in the meat, that is, wanghong fried rice; You put cheese in milk tea, which is called milk tea. But if you put some milk tea in the cheese, it is net black milk tea.
 ”
In recent years, I have found a small phenomenon.
The chili sauce market is getting more and more popular now. Originally a bottle of simple spicy sauce, now it’s easy to add large pieces of mushrooms, bamboo shoots and minced meat.
I used to cook a meal with spicy sauce. Now I’m making a bowl of white rice, taking a bottle of sauce in the fridge, and I’m directly Hula Hula. I also think I’m eating well, with vegetables and meat.
Maybe in a few years, I’ll worry about whether my cooking is worthy of the thirty yuan spicy sauce in my refrigerator.
Spicy sauce, which is betraying its original intention of “seasoning”, is getting closer and closer to the direction of “food”.
So in this issue, I want to start with the birth and evolution of chili sauce, and talk about why chili sauce becomes more and more like a dish?
Human beings have a long history of making sauces.
Harold Markey, a food writer and Food Chemist, once concluded in his masterpiece food and cooking that most sauces need to destroy animal and plant tissues and release their unique juices.
What the chef needs to do is to add various macromolecules and particles to the juice to slow down the flow of the juice and make the sauce thicker.
If we chew words and understand them from the perspective of language, we will find that the core elements of sauces are different in different cultures.
In the English context, the root word of sauce comes from salt, which is salt. Therefore, in the food system with Europe as the core, the purpose of making sauce is to extract flavor.
But the core element of Chinese sauce is not the taste of the raw material itself, but the fermentation.
The earliest sauce in China was called “Xi (H ǎ i) According to the records of “Zhou Li Tian Guan”, in the Western Zhou Dynasty, there was a “man” position in the court of the king, who was in charge of the sauce used for the sacrifice for the emperor.
The main material of this early sauce is all kinds of meat. Cut the meat into small pieces, mix it with rice, koji and salt, marinate it with wine, and finally seal it for fermentation.
According to the difference of meat, there are “rabbit”, “wild goose”, “fish”, etc. These sauces can also be used to pickle various vegetables to form a variety of fermented food.
The word “sauce” came into being because of the use of soybeans.
When the output of meat is not enough to meet people’s needs for eating and sauce making, beans have become a substitute for meat and entered the brewing field. And the word “Xi” has become the word “sauce” that specifically refers to meat.
As early as the early Western Han Dynasty, the production technology of soybean paste “based on bean noodles” has appeared. A large number of food remains were unearthed in Mawangdui No. 1 Han tomb excavated in the eastern suburbs of Changsha in 1972, including soybean paste made of soybean as raw material.
In the Eastern Han Dynasty, there appeared a by-product of extracting sauce from soybean sauce, called “clear sauce”. Scholars believe that “clear sauce” is the embryonic form of the earliest soy sauce.
During the northern and Southern Dynasties, Jia Sixie’s Qi Min Yao Shu systematically summarized the method of making soy sauce and the technology of making soy sauce for the first time. Since then, the sauce making process has been continuously improved.
In the Ming Dynasty, soy sauce was independent from the production of soy sauce, forming an independent production process.
However, no matter meat sauce, soybean sauce or soy sauce, they are inseparable from “fermentation”, specifically protein fermentation.
When high protein ingredients are fermented, they will produce a large number of amino acids, especially glutamic acid. Therefore, protein food after fermentation often has a very strong flavor.
Soy sauce made from soybeans, fish sauce and shrimp sauce made from aquatic products, and air dried ham and bacon all have the freshness produced by fermentation.
Fresh taste is the core feature of Chinese seasoning sauce.
Another element of chili sauce, “spicy”, comes from pepper.
In the Ming Dynasty, pepper was introduced into China from America by sea.
At that time, no one expected that this kind of red fruit, which was originally only used as an ornamental plant, would later have such a far-reaching impact on Chinese food.
Although pepper landed in China from the coastal areas of Fujian and Zhejiang, it was in Guizhou thousands of miles away that it really played the role of seasoning.
Chinese people pay attention to seasoning when eating, and in seasoning, there is a saying that “five flavors of salt first, and 100 flavors of salt first”. Salt is not only a necessity to protect the production and life of working people, but also the most important taste element in Chinese food.
Guizhou, however, is the most salt deficient region in the south.
On the one hand, salt is not produced locally, on the other hand, the transportation is inconvenient and the salt price is high. Guizhou people have long needed food that can replace salt, and exotic pepper has become one of them. During the reign of Emperor Kangxi, Guizhou mountaineers began to substitute spicy food for salt.
Guizhou people are one of the earliest people in China to eat pepper. Therefore, it is also a historical necessity for Laoganma, a Guizhou brand, to become the first in China’s chili sauce market.
Since then, chili peppers have spread all over the southwest with the filling of Hunan and Guangzhou into Sichuan, and gradually become a part of the mainstream folk taste. It also spread from Shaanxi to the whole northern region through the Guanzhong Plain.
The book “history of spicy food in China” mentioned that Chinese people eat pepper, which generally presents the characteristics of Southern sauce and Northern powder.
Taking the Qinling Mountains as the boundary, the mainstream chili processing method in the north is to grind it into chili powder after drying, which can be preserved for a long time, together with the northern diet dominated by pasta.
In the south, due to high temperature and humidity, various local processes of salting and fermenting food were used on pepper, and various forms of pepper sauce appeared.
In addition, replacing pepper with sauce in places lacking salt can also effectively reduce the cost of sauce making, and pepper is insect proof and mildew proof, which can make the sauce easier to preserve. Finally, a wide variety of Chinese chili sauce was formed.
In fact, there is no clear landmark node on how pepper is combined with the technology of “sauce”.
This may be because fermentation is a processing method that is very difficult to control. Therefore, under different climatic environments, microbial strains and product conditions, chili sauce shows a rich and colorful form.
For example, Douban sauce was fermented by adding pepper in the original production of sweet Douban by Sichuan people in the Qing Dynasty. The production of chopped pepper sauce can only put pepper, garlic and salt, while Yongfeng chili sauce in Hunan is fermented with boiled wheat.
It can be seen that spicy sauce has always been a form of many kinds.
For example, spicy sauce is a bit like tea. Milk tea is that as long as there is a tea bottom, other ingredients and modulation methods can be imagined at will. Whether milk tea or fruit tea, there are many forms.
The same is true for chili sauce. As long as pepper is put in, other production processes and main and auxiliary materials can be adjusted to local conditions and played freely.

Today, the domestic chili sauce industry has a scale of 26billion yuan and a large market. If we focus on the whole seasoning sauce market, the share of spicy sauce will account for about 80%.
In terms of market share, spicy sauce has basically dominated Chinese people’s habit of eating sauce.
In the previous period of talking about Sichuan Chongqing hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, I mentioned that the reason why spicy food can dominate the hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot market has something to do with the migrant workers entering the city in the late 1970s and the vigorous urbanization process.
For spicy sauce, this logic is also true.
Take Laoganma as an example. Last year, the revenue of this brand exceeded 5billion, accounting for more than 20% of the market in the field of spicy sauce, and it is a proper industry overlord.
The success of Laoganma is largely the success of customer positioning.
If you look back on the entrepreneurial history of Lao Ganma, you will find that when selling rice tofu with spicy sauce in Guizhou in the early years, there were a large number of students in Tao Huabi’s store.
Many people believe that this reflects that the old godmother is grounded and close to consumers. This is certainly true, but it must be noted that the student group is actually the most important rigid need group in chili sauce.
Therefore, in the early stage of entrepreneurship, the target group defined by Lao Ganma is very clear: migrant workers in cities, as well as college students.
These two groups have a lot in common.
The first is young people. The main consumer group of spicy food is young people. I’ve talked about this before, so I won’t say more.
Second, these two groups of people are people who don’t have much energy and financial resources to spend time on eating.
After all, college students and migrant workers are likely to cook a few times a year, and canteen meals are the norm. As for the evolution of college students, urban white-collar workers also have no time to eat.
Take myself for example. Although I like cooking by myself, I may not have time to cook for myself every day when I am busy. Sometimes simply cook noodles, add an egg, and mix it with the taste of Laoganma titi, which is a decent lunch.
Third, the target population base of Laoganma is huge, and with urbanization, college enrollment expansion and China’s accession to the WTO, the base of these two groups of people are in a period of rapid growth. And Lao Ganma just started in that era.
By 2019, Lao Ganma’s domestic market coverage has exceeded 96%.
Finally, the consumption power is not strong. There is no need to explain this. College students eat living expenses, and migrant workers save money to take home. There is not much money to spend.
The pricing of Laoganma naturally also anchors the consumption power of the target population.
It has stuck the price around 10 yuan for a long time, and rarely raised the price. This pricing strategy is in line with its positioning: mass market, pay attention to cost performance, small profits but quick turnover.
Many times, our ordinary consumers have feelings for Laoganma because it is delicious and inexpensive. This is still worthy of Reese’s worship.
But for peers, that’s not necessary.
For an industry, the positioning of the first player often determines the positioning of the whole industry.
Many times, we will find that a brand that ranks first in the industry often plays the role of a pricing ceiling. That is to sell products more expensive through brand strength.
For the brand itself, we can get higher profits. For the whole industry, it can also raise consumers’ price expectations, thus leaving room for other brands in the middle and low-end market.
Laoganma took the lead in the spicy sauce competition, and took the lead in embedding the brand of Laoganma taohuabi into the cognition of consumers across the country.
But on the other hand, Laoganma sells very cheaply, which is very embarrassing for her peers.
In the spicy sauce industry, there is an old Ganma magic spell – if it is cheaper than Laoganma, there will be no profit. If it is more expensive than Laoganma, and you are not as famous as Laoganma, it is easy for no one to buy it.
It is because Lao Ganma has occupied an ecosystem that can hardly be overturned that friends and businessmen are neither up nor down.
Today, the chili sauce market is a solid “one super multi dish” pattern.
Below Laoganma, whether it is Haitian and Lijinji, the giants of the seasoning industry, or the backbone brands spicy girl, rice sweeping, Zhongjing, or the new online celebrity brands Hubang, Fanye, liziqi, none of them has spicy sauce, accounting for more than 10% of the market.
How to bypass the old godmother and find another way in the market has become a problem that all princes must consider.
Making chili sauce more like a dish has become one of the options.
At the beginning of this year, I chatted with an elder of commercial media in the group. He said that in recent years, China’s new consumer goods have a characteristic, which is particularly prone to generate online popularity, that is, to disproportionately enlarge the proportion of a certain raw material.
You put some meat in the rice, which is called fried rice. Put some rice in the meat, that is, wanghong fried rice.
You put cheese in milk tea, which is called milk tea. But if you put some milk tea in the cheese, it is net black milk tea.
In essence, it is to use China’s powerful supply chain to stockpile materials, significantly amplifying user perception. Then you can sell the product more expensive.
And now the net red spicy sauce happens to use this trick.
When we talked about the history of chili sauce earlier, we also said that chili sauce itself is a category with strong cross-border attributes and low innovation threshold, which is very suitable for imagination.
Some people think that the old godmother is not hot enough, then we will make the devil hot. Some people think that Laoganma has shortcomings in taste, so we add large pieces of beef and mushrooms.
In addition, more high-end ingredients such as Banjin, abalone, truffle and Tricholoma matsutake have also been added to chili sauce in large quantities.
As a result, we see that today’s chili sauce is more and more like a prefabricated dish. There are meat and vegetables, which are fragrant and spicy. It seems that there is nothing missing with the staple food.
Whether this approach is good or not is another matter, but it can really bypass the category and pricing range of Laoganma and find a way to sell the unit price of chili sauce up.
In addition, more and more brands are also looking for ways to bypass Lao Ganma in other ways.
For example, when the company was founded in 2015, the takeout market was just emerging.
So the company decided to regard the takeout scene as the core strategy of the company, and reached a cooperation with the main chain brands on the takeout platform to supply spicy sauce for these brands.
After all, confrontation with Laoganma in Shangchao is basically about death. By taking out food and avoiding the old godmother in channels and consumption scenes, Hubang soon established brand awareness.
In 2021, a total of 6.9 million cans were sold during the “double 11” period, becoming the first in the online hot sauce category.
There are also those who take the network red IP route. For example, Fanye, founded by Lin Yilun, relies on Lin Yilun’s reputation and his professional endorsement as a chef and gourmet, and takes the path of upgrading the consumption of high-end ingredients.
There is also Li Ziqi. Although she herself is deeply involved in the IP dispute with weinian, it does not prevent the IP itself from bringing goods.
With exquisite national style packaging and good reputation, Li Ziqi’s spicy sauce sells fairly well.
After this round of epidemic, more and more people must store a few cans of chili sauce at home. After all, cooking and washing dishes every day is still a very tiring thing.
When it’s inconvenient to take out, sometimes I’m lazy secretly. A bowl of noodles, a raw cucumber and a dish of chili sauce are also a good choice.
reference material:
[1] Production status and development direction of chili sauce — Zhang Zhonggang, Deng Fangming
[2] Research on the historical origin of sauce and soy sauce recorded in Chinese historical records — Yu Lin, Chen Yilun, Wu Peng, Li Hongtao
[3] Food and cooking: pasta, sauce, dessert, beverage — Harold Markey
[4] “Encirclement and suppression” of old godmother – AI finance and Economics
[5] “National spicy sauce geography” – History of food art and culture
[6] “Old godmother, still fragrant?”—— Deep sound
[7] “Old godmother”, Yuanchuan Technology Review
[8] “Perhaps, the chili sauce industry needs a simpler investment vision” – Kaiheng capital
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