TIME HAS COME FOR CHINA’S CHEESE CONSUMPTION UPGRADE

As an imported product, cheese has entered the Chinese market for more than 20 years.

But it’s not until recently that the special flavored food was accepted by most of the consumers. On one hand, thanks to development of oversea education, international business and travel, more and more Chinese have the opportunity to experience the cheese and get used to Western-style food culture; On the other hand, with the 1980s and 1990s generations becoming the main consumption groups who have grown up eating hamburgers and pizzas, cheese consumption takes a rapid growth.

According to “Cheese – China 2016” by market research company Mintel, permeability of cheese has reached 79% in China. The report shows that market share of cheese retail is 24%, which is on the rise, but still has great room for improvement, compared with data in countries with more developed cheese market like Japan (41%) and Vietnam (73%).

Meantime, the Chinese consumers have a clear preference for cheese taste. They (58%) prefer softer reprocessed cheese instead of natural hard cheese. 53% of the consumers also express that sweeter cheese are more popular.
At present, the most popular are cheese slices (48%), which are followed by smear cheese (43%). Mintel food analyst Ni Qianwen said: “In intense and fast-paced urban life, modern consumers are keen to pursue timesaving but healthy diet. Meanwhile, with increasing purchasing power, the younger generation has more opportunities to try different types of cheese. Cheese slices and smear cheese are popular because they can be easily used to make all kinds of food. We believe that this also lays the foundation for future development of China’s cheese market.»