How to Sell Baby Food in China ?

China’s Infant food industry shows positive progress

On average, Chinese parents spend more money to feed their children compared to western parents because prices are higher for both powder milk and fresh milk. These higher prices can be explained by the vast demand that puts some pressure on the market since homeland producers don’t have the capacity to satisfy the demand. Moreover, they think that buying infant formula is better than milk.

One important fact that we should highlight concerns the end of the one-child policy. It implies that the demand will be multiplied. The consumption of babies also involves food supplements. Professionals advise mothers to give their children food supplements from 3 years old to 6 years old. In reality, there are different stages in which the child should eat the different products. From 1 to 4 years old, the child needs fortified food. Therefore natural lungs tonic and honey foods are welcome. Then from 4 to 6, the child expresses a need for bones. Parents can give them growth, vitamin, and mineral. From 6 –to 12, people are looking for products that could reinforce the immune system.  enhanced supplement foods. After the government opened the country, many brands made numerous advertisements to promote milk. As a consequence, mothers thought that infant formula was better than natural milk. According to an estimation of Market research, if one baby consumes 100g of food supplements per day, the baby food market scale will reach more than 80 billion yuan.

Chinese consumers’ preference for foreign brands

Like many other products, Chinese people are more likely to choose foreign powdered milk formulas rather than domestic ones.  Actually, the majority of milk in China is imported but most cereals, meals, and other products are produced locally. Compared to 2010, imports were multiplied by 4 reaching 225 tons.  Indeed, they have the budget for that and are willing to pay higher prices because first, they want the best for their children, and second, they earn more money, especially the middle class.

Increase in sales

Between 2010 and 2016, in terms of value, baby milk knew a rise of 79%.  Chinese consumers moved from premium brands towards super-premium brands. Concerning how to purchase the products, Chinese parents select online options to save time. Indeed, they can compare brands and products very easily and choose the best options. We need to remind you that in China, the e-commerce sphere is very developed, especially with payment facilities. Contrary to western countries, it is normal for people to purchase food online. The largest channel for baby food is now specialist mother &baby stores ( 46%). Food and general retailers have 21 % of the market. Today, more and more manufacturers have their own online shops. The sales get through C2C and B2C channels.  Indeed, delivery services, in general, are very common and popular. They are facilitated by big platforms such as Tao bao.

A Market feed by the rise of living standard

If producers keep satisfying the demand in a good way, the market will continue to grow. Indeed, there are many opportunities in this industry since the birth rate is expected to increase as well as parents living standards. We can notice the reduction of rural poverty by 12.32 million people. In parallel, Chinese consumers and their purchasing power keep rising. Chinese parents are more and more demanding. So they pay attention to the quality of products especially because it is for babies.

How could you sell your baby food products?

Choose a specific segment of the market

If you want to extend your brand to China or develop a new brand in china, your success will depend on your marketing strategy. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier baby food market is vast and there are subcategories. Consequently, it is better to target a specific category and to adapt your strategy. We can provide you with a good analysis of the market from the location to the way you should do your business and choose the accurate distribution channels. Actually, the Chinese market is very large. This is the reason why you need to reduce your market.

Build a strong image

Your brand needs to be a reference in Chinese people’s minds.  Because they are more and more demanding it is better if you qualify your brand as a premium or super premium brand. You should remind that in China good quality means high prices. It has to be a part of your strategy. If you decide to have your own e-commerce platform and website, it is very important to work on the design but also the content of your website. You need to pay attention to your image online but also offline because it contributes to your reputation.

Make people choose your brand

Even if,  parents have a comfortable income that permits them to pay high prices in order to have the best products, they will be happy to have a discount on the product. This is a way to make them get used to your brand. You should keep in mind that the competition is fierce, so you need to make a difference in order to attract them. Therefore they will make a good promotion for you and talk about your brand in a positive way to their friends and family.

If you want to start a business in the baby food market, feel free to contact us.

Read also: How to Sell Infant Formula in China?


  • Hello Olivier Verot, we are working on this topic as students, would love to learn more about your white book.
    Let me know if this is possible.

    Thanks you again for this article !


  • Hello, we are producing baby formula from Latin America, how to start selling in china?

    • Hello Pepe,
      We know how to do. We have a white book explaining the whole process, I will send it to you , and if you need we can have a call to explain to you the details of the solution. 🙂

  • Hi ,
    We are searching for Baby food products to resell in China, center, with good reputation in China.
    We are Chongqing General Trading Group; one of the largest firm in China for retail.
    contact us

    • María Au

      I work for a Chilean company that produces innovative products for babies and moms in the food category
      I`d like to contact you to explore business opportunities.

    • Mister Zhong I already added you to our database of Chinese distributors. Thank you

  • I would like to sell South African baby food and formula to China

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