Food a way to reflect status for Chinese

Chinese families for whom snacks and beverages are indicative of social standing are unhappy with the product range currently offered in the market.

A study by TNS titled Food & beverage China found that Chinese consumers long for snacks or drinks that offer "multi-sensory enjoyment" over the basic requirements of quenching hunger or thirst.

Also, Chinese consumers view these daily staples as a social badge - an indicator of the importance of "face" or social status in the mainland culture, the report said.

Food & beverage China is based on a long-standing syndicated programme with 7,200 consumer interviews across the three tiers in China.

The study highlighted that consumers have moved beyond traditional functional requirements and are looking for richer experience that provides both individual satisfaction as well as social standing.

"The study reveals a significant unmet consumer need in China - teasing and pleasing the senses," Karla Van Wieringen-Wang, innovation consultant at TNS China, said.

"Mint, gum, and juice are a few categories that deliver the closest to this need. We also see a ton of opportunities for adjacent or even competing categories if they have the right products that cater to these needs"

Meanwhile, categories of coffee and chocolates, with their vast range of products, meet the market needs well, the report said.