Statistics have shown that the rising rate of nut consumption in China is much faster than other snack items and its sales of nuts in China were about 55.6 billion yuan ($8.14 billion) in 2014, and are expected to exceed 100 billion yuan in 2020 of which nuts and seeds comprise more than 80 percent of the total salty snack consumption. This domestic consumption of nuts is expected to increase in tandem with income growth and increased awareness of healthy foods. An industry survey indicates that the proportion of China’s middle class has increased from 7 percent of the population in 2010 to 17 percent in 2015.
WHY DO CHINESE PEOPLE LOVE NUTS, WALNUTS, PECAN?
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The Revenue in the Nuts & Seeds segment reached US$2,491m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 8.1% (CAGR 2018-2021).
Chinese Consumers are looking for diverse nut flavors and products. The consumption of shelled nuts is increasing much faster than in-shell counterparts. Younger consumers (ages 19 to 35), especially female professionals, have become the major force driving nut consumption. These young consumers prefer to shop online resulting in increasing volumes of sales generated online.
The consumption of fresh walnut kernels has become popular in northern China in recent years. Industry sources indicate that walnuts consumed fresh account for nearly 10 percent of the total walnut consumption. Fresh walnut kernels are also a popular cooking ingredient in restaurants and at home. In addition, newly developed snack foods, such as Chinese dates stuffed with walnut kernels, have also effectively increased the consumption of walnuts.
Sales in the industry have grown fast because people consider nuts as healthy snacks, and at the same time, nut snacks that are original flavor, organic, or packaged in small portions with mixed nuts are increasingly popular. Chinese consumers have become more aware of the health benefits of nuts and seeds. Now, it seems that eating nuts and seeds is no longer something to do to kill time while chatting with friends, but part of the overall pursuit of a healthy and trendy lifestyle. Chinese consumers have rising awareness of their sugar and fat intake. The growth rates of traditional sweet snacks, such as sugar confectionery, ice cream, and biscuits, are relatively slow, Therefore, more consumers are switching to fresh fruits and vegetables or precisely the whole family of walnuts for snacking. This suggests a growing opportunity for food and drinks brands that enjoy a healthy perception to tap into the snacking occasion by developing snack format products.
IMPORTED NUTS BRANDS ARE THE BEST
Most nuts consumed in China are imported, with the exception of walnuts. Pistachios and almonds have been the leaders among nut imports, but the market share of macadamia nuts is quickly catching up. China’s in-shell pecan imports have declined from its peak in 2012, but shelled pecan imports are increasing quickly. Imported snacks are gaining popularity among urban Chinese consumers. According to Mintel research, as many as four in 10 urban Chinese consumers are interested in buying imported products they’ve never tried before across a variety of purchase channels that specialize in selling imported snacks. As consumers continue to look for new and different flavor experiences, international snacks have become a sector that many consumers are gravitating towards. E-commerce is an especially important channel for international snacks. Here some example :
- Australian tree nut exports to China have grown from $6 million in 2010-11 to $63 million in 2015-16, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.
- Almonds, which are not native to China, are among the most in-demand nuts, with the vast bulk of supplies coming from the United States.
You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China
THIS IS THE MOMENT TO MARKET YOUR NUTS BRANDS
A search by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows that 85% of respondents are informed on the web, 66.1% on TV and 61.1% on newspapers. For those facing the sale of nuts in China, branding and online marketing are excellent strategies. The advantages are as follows:
- Good value for money
- Targeted marketing
- Easy control of the reputation
- Market feedback
There are two basic ways to promote and sell nuts in China on the web:
CREATE A WEBSITE IN CHINESE TO PRESENT YOUR BRAND
Nowadays in China, most of the sites for the sales of nuts are created by distributors. While this solution saves work to manufacturers, it hurts the building of the brand image in the long run, because sellers will focus primarily on sales while the company must spread its brand. With a site in Chinese you can:
- Increase the popularity of a brand
- Influencing consumers through content and design
- Create the image of a company
After creating a website for your brand you have to think about the promotion. A good site without visitors is useless. To promote the site the most widespread and effective solutions are SEO and SEM techniques that should be designed for Baidu not for Google.
USE SOCIAL NETWORKS LIKE WEIBO AND WECHAT
The Social Networking Service or Social Networking Sites (SNS) has become an important source of information. In particular, the main instruments used by the medium-high class, which is the one that mainly buys nuts, are:
The advantages of using social networks to sell nuts in China are:
- Building a community around your company
- Reaching a specific consumer target
- Quickly get feedback from these consumers
- Create a better company image
INFLUENCE OF KOLs
How influential the influencers are the evidence even one of the latest studies conducted by McKinsey & Company, confirm that Chinese consumers during the purchase decision find 4 of the 5 main points of contact with companies in the digital world: website, social networks and, indeed, influencers. Accustomed to having to move in a market where counterfeit products are the order of the day, the Chinese are very careful and before finalizing purchases they usually check information and products on different channels and sources of information. The purchase of trust is essential and influencers greatly facilitate the journey.
Looking for the right local influencers has a return of image, and therefore of business, very concrete. Followed, seen as points of reference for more or less large market niches, can strongly influence the impact of a product and of a Brand on a complex and multifaceted market. Often using a local Key Opinion Leader(KOL) can bring much more results than big budget adv on a too large market. The message arrives more directly to the heart of the target.
INTEGRATE THE CHINESE E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS
Do you want to increase your sales in China?
China is the largest e-commerce market in the world and is expecting to grow percent by 2020. The rapid development of smartphones and tablets in China quickly enabled 76% of connected Chinese to make purchases via their mobile. This internet implementation linked to the mobile equipment also reached the rural area in China since 2017.
There are several things to know if you want to reach the expectations of Chinese consumers: Before thinking offline, you have to be present online on e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, JD, Taobao… Chinese people buy everything online foods, clothes, appliances, beverages…In fact, China is the most connected country in the world. So before starting your business in China, you have to truly understand your target and how to reach them.
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