Did you know that dairy consumption in China is on the rise? China has not historically been a nation associated with eating and drinking dairy products, but in recent years, tastes have changed and dairy products have become an excellent source of protein and calcium in the Chinese diet.
While Chinese people are becoming more focused on healthy foods from good origins, the quality of their food has become more important than the price. For this reason, great quality imports, such as Dansko dairy products, are becoming very popular in China. Irish dairy products have an excellent reputation in China, where the high food safety requirements and the grass fed environments combine to create the best dairy products available on the market today.
Cheese and butter are booming in China in their own right, and as ingredients in bakery and catering products, and the demand for foreign products is rising as a result. In order to supply our excellent quality products to this market, Dansko Foods visited Bakery China 2019, the biggest Asian bakery fair, in Shanghai at the beginning of May. This is a four day exhibition for local and foreign professionals in the food and bakery industry, and also attracts individuals who are embracing the rising trend in home baking in China.
Dairy products have never been a staple within the Chinese diet, but in recent years, butter has become highly popular and cheese has become an important ingredient in many dishes. In the past, milk and butter were hard to find in China, even in major cities, and cheese could only be imported at high cost from speciality stores. But things have changed, and China is now the world’s largest importer of dairy products, especially high quality products from suppliers such as Dansko.
Research from Innova Market Insights into dairy product launches in 2016-17 showed 44% growth, and within that, launches of cheese products grew by 688%, and this trend has continued. The Chinese dairy market is today valued at around $12 billion, and is expected to increase to $16 billion within the next year. This high level of growth reflects the huge increase in demand for cheese, which is predicted to rise by almost 13% every year until 2021.
So where did this change come from? The answer is, unsurprisingly, perhaps, the fast food industry that is responsible for so many of the global dietary changes we see today. Western foods, such as burgers, pizza and pre-prepared sandwiches and salads introduced dairy to China on a massive scale, bringing dairy products to the majority and changing the image of cheese as a specialist product for the wealthy.
Today, cheese is in demand due to the nutritional benefits of including it in the diet, particularly focusing on high quality, grass fed cheeses that are better choices for health. There is also a drive to include dairy in the diets of children, with school lunch menus reflecting this change. A high percentage of new cheese products are marketed with children in mind, and young adults in cities, who are more likely to be eating a Western diet, account for the remainder.
The recent changes in the Chinese diet reflect a greater interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyles, and a change in the consumer behaviour of certain social groups. Globally, foreign products have often been seen as a symbol of wealth and sophistication, and this is also true in China. The demand for top quality products is, therefore, met by suppliers such Dansko who value quality, heritage and taste above all.
Dairy products marketed towards children are becoming very popular in China, and this is reflected in the high amount of product launches of brightly packaged cheese snacks and desserts that are designed to appeal to youngsters and their parents. There is a focus on the nutritional benefits of dairy products in the diets of children, and flavoured cheese products are also extremely popular amongst Chinese consumers.
Innova Market Insights has explored the way in which Chinese consumers enjoy dairy products, and the research suggests that this is fairly evenly spread out throughout the day, compared with other countries, such as the United States, in which consumption is much higher at lunch and dinner times. In China, 32.4% eat dairy products at breakfast time, 26.1% as a morning snack, 20.7% at lunch time, 23.5% as an afternoon snack, and 16.8% at dinner time. This suggests a variety of opportunities to consume dairy products throughout the day, and is great news for marketers in this industry!
The future of dairy products in China looks very positive, with consumers set to continue the trends discussed here. It is clear that awareness about the health benefits of dairy products and the ways in which they can be consumed is growing. Rising appreciation of baked goods and other food ranges that rely on dairy products will continue to inform Chinese consumers, and it is likely that more diverse and exciting products will become available as a result of this.
Here at Dansko, we are delighted to be able to share our top quality Irish dairy products with consumers across the globe, demonstrating the superior taste and standards created in our local area. As demand grows, we believe that more and more people will benefit from enjoying the very best butter and cheese products on the market today.
Dansko is an Irish, family owned dairy company, established in 1986, specialising in great quality dairy products from Ireland. We are independent, with connections across the globe, enabling us to offer the finest quality Irish butter and cheese products to our global market. At Dansko, it’s important to us to supply only the best grass fed, pasture based, hormone free dairy products, and we can tailor our products to suit your needs. We have over 30 years experience, allowing us to quickly establish what will work for you and what will not, and the quality of our products speaks for itself. We have supply contracts with all the major dairy suppliers in the UK, Europe and New Zealand, and we are a certified Origin Green member, working to Lean Manufacturing principles in our BRC Higher Grade facility. We supply into foodservice, retail, industrial, bakery and confectionary sectors across Ireland, UK, Europe, USA, North and South Africa, and whether you are purchasing or selling, we can find the best solutions for your business