No compromise on taste: ‘Conscious indulgence’ trend observed in Chinese consumers

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers no longer look at calorie intake, but also scrutinise sugar levels, fat levels, additives and E-numbers ©Getty Images
Consumers no longer look at calorie intake, but also scrutinise sugar levels, fat levels, additives and E-numbers ©Getty Images

Related tags China Digitisation frieslandcampina ingredients Food labels

‘Conscious indulgence’, a trend that shows consumers actively reading food and drinks’ labels is widespread in China.

This is according to FrieslandCampina Ingredients first 2019-2020 report on the global trends in the F&B industry.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia​, Anneke van de Geijn, the global marketing director Food & Beverages at FrieslandCampina Ingredients said consumers were becoming increasingly aware of what is inside their food and drinks.

She said this had to do with the readily available information on devices and apps.

They no longer simply look at calorie intake, but also scrutinise sugar levels, fat levels, additives and E-numbers,” ​she said.

Many also look for information about how ethically and sustainable the food is produced. Not willing to give up on good taste, they want conscious indulgence​,” she added.

Breaking down the trend, van de Geijn referenced a Mintel market study. “53% (of consumers in China) look at whether food labels contain additives and preservatives, 46% want to know whether the food labels contain genetically-modified ingredients and 43% is interested in organic / green food certification.​”

Healthy indulgence

According to her, traditional indulgent foods like cake, ice cream, coffee, tea, were no longer what they used to be. As awareness of consumers increase, they desire to make the indulgence healthier.

Digitisation is also changing the food industry, influencing how people consume, what they consume, where they consume and when.

Moments of feeling good are still important and, at the same time, consumers demand that food and drinks become “better” for them, whether it’s healthier, more natural, more environmentally friendly or animal friendly​,” she said.

Different regions, different trends

van de Geijn added that there were some variation in the trends seen among consumers from different regions.

 “European and North American markets are more interested in vegan and plant-based options than Chinese and other Asian markets,” ​she said.

In North America, we see that consumers associate vegan and plant-based with animal-friendly products. In Asia, in general, as well as in China, we observe that fresh and natural aspects and a healthier product are the most talked about aspects of sustainable consumption – even more than vegan and plant-based​,” she observed.

Study design

The trend report is a combination of market studies as well as new data from FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ online listening programme.

We did this because there was virtually no global consumer data on the three trends available at that level. The additional listening study created a truly global, comprehensive view of the trends,​” van de Geijn said.

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