China continues its transition from an export-led economy to one driven by consumption, accompanied by a rise in average consumer spending, stemming from the expanding middle class. Thereby, China remains an important trading partner for the EU, importing 9% of all EU Exports. EU food and beverage exports to China, although accounting for a modest share of all traded goods, have achieved to EUR 8 billion in 2019.
Food and Beverage Categories with High Growth Potential
The Chinese snack industry is forecasted USD$544 billion by 2022. In the premium segment, there is a strong increase in demand for health and wellness, and brands are increasingly adding ingredients with health or nutrition benefits tot heir ingredient lists in China. Consumers will scan the ingredient labels and are avoiding oily, fatty, and carb-laden traditional snacks more frequently in favor of healthier options.
As sports and leisure are growing segments in the Chinese lifestyles, more people have had more time (and disposable income) to be concerned about their health. A recent China market survey found that over 55% of consumers are becoming more aware of their health since the Covid-19 outbreak, and supplements take an important role – the market is estimated to be worth USD$43 billion by 2023.
Caffeinated Food and Beverages
The popularity of coffee has promoted the innovation of all kinds of food and cosmetic products. The forms and types of coffee have become more diversified, emphasizing portability and unique experience. From single coffee to coffee + tea, coffee + alcoholic drinks, the form has also expanded from drinks to coffee snacks. The product category imported goods grew in value from USD$640 million in 2018 to USD$1.38 billion in 2020.
Sugar Free Chocolate
There is room for growth in the Chinese sugar free confectionary and chocolate market, which are foreseen to grow in value because consumers are opting for healthier and more premium products. While the market is dominated by large global companies, Western confectionary and chocolate products are regarded as high quality and safe items, therefore there is a great potential for new European players to succeed in the Chinese market. In 2020, the confectionary segment experienced an explosion of new imported brands, raising the value of total imported confectionary from USD$ 1.84 billion in 2019, to USD$2.93 in 2020