Health is wealth: Brands boost better-for-you products during indulgent Chinese New Year period

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Marigold Singapore continues to promote better-for-you options, such as orange juice with no sugar added, during the indulgent Chinese New Year season. ©Marigold Singapore Facebook
Marigold Singapore continues to promote better-for-you options, such as orange juice with no sugar added, during the indulgent Chinese New Year season. ©Marigold Singapore Facebook

Related tags Retailing Grocery shopping Health Sugar

Food and beverage manufacturers continued to promote healthier choices, and achieved sales success, during the indulgent Chinese New Year festive season, according to international grocery research Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) Asia.

The report highlighted that healthier food options, such as reduced sugar or sugar-free options, was a key trend seen across the recent Chinese New Year period.

For example, beverage firm F&N launched a festive multi-pack in Malaysia for its zero-sugar drinks, while Marigold also selected its range of reduced sugar beverages for in-store promotion in Singapore.

 “Food is an integral part of the celebrations, but at the same time shoppers are becoming more aware of the need to manage their food intake. Manufacturers are offering healthy choices with reduced sugar or sugar-free options to help shoppers manage their diet,” ​Shirley Zhu, the director of IGD Singapore explained. 

“Health-focused products and supplements also play a role in promoting a balanced lifestyle, replacing indulgent snacks and alcohol in gift hampers.”

Visual impact

In the report, IGD also identified five other themes that emerged across Asia retailing, including product packaging and in-store displays.

Attractive visual is one of the main themes. Both manufacturers and retailers have put out impressive in-store displays or put more effort in their product packaging, according to the report.

In terms of in-store displays, many have “used large, eye-catching graphics and celebratory messages to create displays showcasing their entire product portfolio”.

For example, Coca-Cola has used the mythical Chinese dragon, which is believed to bring good luck and wealth, to highlight its festive promotions in FairPrice Xtra supermarkets in Singapore.

Elsewhere in China, supermarket chain Hema also designed its stores to look like an outdoor market for consumers to soak up the atmosphere.

Whereas for product packaging, Kinder Bueno launched a limited-edition Chinese lion design for its chocolates sold in Singapore, while Carlsberg launched beer cans with four different designs and seasonal greetings. This was done to entice shoppers to buy all four designs to complete the collection.

“Every year, manufacturers create beautiful, thematic packs for their flagship products. These limited-edition packs are very effective in attracting shoppers' attention, often linked to positive phrases and encouraging collection of a series, giving shoppers another reason to buy more,” ​Zhu commented.

Retail experience

Besides attractive visuals and healthier food options, the report also noted that retail experience, such as free giveaways, participating in social media games, and a chance for shoppers help charities were the other key themes of this CNY.

In terms of freebies, ParknShop, a supermarket chain in Hong Kong has launched the limited edition Peppa Pig glasses, since this year is the year of pig according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

Seven-Eleven Hong Kong also provided carriers with the Chinese character “prosperity” for shoppers who bought oranges at their stores.

On the other hand, supermarkets across China, Thailand, and Singapore have progressed beyond the traditional lucky draw and offered shoppers a chance to win prizes via social media games instead.

An example is Hema, which asked shoppers to write down their CNY wishes on its official Weibo page.The post which garnered the most number of likes will be offered prizes such as online tuition courses or Lenovo notebooks. 

Thailand’s e-payment service provider TrueMoney also gave shoppers who downloaded its digital wallet app the chance to win money.

Lastly, to complete the retail experience, a number of supermarkets have also encouraged shoppers to give to good causes.

In Singapore, Giant hypermarket reminded shoppers not to forget about the less privileged by putting shelf displays alongside staples. The shoppers could buy and drop the items at the designated gift collection points within the store.

“There are some clear takeaways for suppliers and manufacturers to learn from during this critical trading period. Messages that revolve around attracting good fortune can be cleverly arranged in-store to magnify awareness of the range and drive appeal. Standing out from the crowd with innovative packaging ideas will also ensure that your brand stays visible.

“They should also consider the target shopper when offering prizes – tailoring the gifts can deepen engagement. And finally, giving shoppers the chance to help the underprivileged during this period will positively enhance your brand image,”​ Zhu concluded.

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