As China’s food and beverage market evolves, competition is intensifying. Chinese consumers have more choices than ever, and differentiation is a strategy no brand can afford to ignore if they are committed to succeeding in this land of such enormous promise.
But deciding how to differentiate is a dilemma. What are the factors that Chinese consumers value most?
In order to understand these better, America-based Concord grape juice producer Welch’s Global Ingredients Group commissioned independent researcher Surveygoo to conduct a survey among 300 Chinese fruit juice drinkers aged 18-35—the generation known best as Millennials or Post 90s.
This influential generation was chosen because it is changing and shaping Chinese culture in many ways, and a good understanding of their preferences and needs would be highly valuable for beverage manufacturers.
The survey explored in depth the attitudes and behaviours of Chinese Millennials who drink fruit juice. When the results were analysed the results, one finding stood out as particularly insightful: the provenance of a fruit juice is of paramount importance to these consumers with 84 percent of respondents stating that they believe it is important to know the origin of the fruit used to make their juice.
Furthermore, when asked to choose indicators of a high quality juice, over half (60 percent) of the survey respondents chose the claim: “Made with fruit grown in the US.” This compared favourably with results for “Made with fruit grown in Europe” (46 percent) and “Made with fruit grown in Asia” (24 percent).
The results confirmed what we have been hearing anecdotally on the ground in China: Millennial fruit juice drinkers are looking for products that are made in the US. They equate American goods with high quality, and brands that highlight this on-pack and in other marketing activities could gain an edge in China’s competitive juice market.
Health Is Also A Top Priority
The survey also found that health is a priority for Chinese Millennials who drink fruit juice. In fact, the three most important things these consumers are looking for from their juices are nutrition and health (chosen by 78 percent of respondents), good taste (71 percent) and specific health benefits (63 percent).
Furthermore, Chinese Millennial fruit juice drinkers ranked milk and 100 percent fruit juice as the two healthiest choices in a list of popular beverages. This positive attitude towards 100 percent juice reflects the wider trend in the Chinese fruit juice and drinks market.
According to Euromonitor, sales of 100 percent juice in China have enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent over the past five years—second only to coconut water.
Heart health (66 percent), digestive health (65 percent) and mind health (63 percent) are the three health benefits Chinese Millennial fruit juice drinkers say they are most interested in getting from their fruit juice.
In addition, 61 percent of respondents said they are more likely to buy a fruit juice if it delivers polyphenols. Meanwhile, 77 percent said that they drink superfruit juices because of the health benefits they provide.
Resonating With Millennials
The findings from the survey highlight opportunities for manufacturers to create differentiated fruit juice products that will resonate with Chinese Millennial fruit juice drinkers. Key learnings point towards demand for juices like Concord grape juice, which tastes great, delivers polyphenols and is made from fruit grown in the US.
Our survey demonstrates that Chinese Millennial fruit juice drinkers are knowledgeable about provenance and nutrition, and have clear ideas about what they find appealing in a product. They appreciate the taste and nutrition benefits of 100 percent fruit juice and are familiar with polyphenols, the plant nutrients found in superfruits like Concord grapes.
Manufacturers that focus on creating fruit juices that are aligned with these consumers’ preferences have an opportunity to stand out and succeed in the Chinese beverage market.