In recent years, China has seen significant changes in eating habits, shopping behaviors, and lifestyle habits, as consumer behavior responds to Western influences. Consumer packaged goods providers will capitalize on the trend of Westernization for new experiences and integrate more Western groceries onto their shelves, Canadean (canadean.com) predicts.
As the Westernization of the retail market is fairly new, products that are considered to be mid-range are more likely to be offered as premium products in China. Western commodities also serve as symbols of modernization and provide a sense of elevated status for consumers. As a result, Western brands of products such as fragrances, chocolates, coffee, cheese, ice cream, and carbonated soft drinks are becoming prevalent in Chinese retail markets.
Packaging manufacturers need to keep abreast of changes in the market
A typical Chinese supermarket in a developed urban area will stock more varied products in comparison to an equivalent US or Japanese store, thus increasing the choice available and offering more opportunities to choose Western products. This is an important trend for packaging companies. Also, domestic companies need to match the standards of Western packaging so they stand out against their counterparts.
According to Catherine O’Connor, senior analyst at Canadean: “Despite China’s growing interest in Western brands, foreign offerings do not always find it easy to integrate into the Chinese retail market. Earlier this year, Revlon and L’Oréal both pulled back from China, misunderstanding the needs of this lucrative market.” Consumer Packaged Goods' (CPG) providers will attract more custom by localizing products to Chinese tastes, for example, KFC has introduced a ranged of breakfast soups, and Oreos are altered in China to have flavors such as green tea, as consumers found the originals too sweet.
As well as reformulating products for the Chinese market, companies need to modify packaging to influence them at the shelf edge. O’Connor explains: “In particular, the use of colors is of paramount importance for the Chinese. Yellow is seen as royal color and red is chosen for good luck and happiness. However, these bright colors are mostly preferred for food products, while pastel or white shades are preferred for household items and personal care products.”