Revenge spending is sweet among the Chinese

Rapidly growing demand is attracting foreign chocolatiers to place more emphasis on the Chinese market. — Reuters

BEIJING: China’s consumption of chocolate and other sweets is witnessing robust growth this year, as more people pass by shops selling such products after a three-year pandemic kept many indoors for long stretches.

In September, Dongguan, Guangdong province-based snack maker Hsu Fu Chi reported a 30% year-on-year increase in its candy product sales. Specifically, sales of its soft candies surged 79%.

To meet growing demand, the company invested 120 million yuan (US$16.8mil) in the construction of a new gummy workshop in Dongguan.

The production facility, covering nearly 19,700 square feet, came into operation on Sept 28 and is capable of churning out over 10,000 tonnes of juice soft candies annually.

After the pandemic, increased outdoor activities and strolls through traffic-heavy retail spaces have boosted consumer purchases of candies and chocolates.

“Among all snacks, candy is one of the fastest-recovering subcategories. A major reason behind the sales recovery of candy is that consumers are getting back to outdoor consumption scenarios again,” said market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

Sales of chocolate have seen a robust recovery. At 1pm on a typical weekday afternoon, a Laderach outlet in Taikoo Li shopping centre, Shanghai, receives constant customer flows.

Priced at 99 yuan for 100 grams, or 399 yuan for 24 pieces, the Swiss-branded fresh chocolates, which are flown in from Switzerland, enjoy great popularity among Chinese consumers.

Such rapidly growing demand is attracting foreign chocolatiers to place more emphasis on the Chinese market.

In August, Italian chocolate and confectionery maker Ferrero Group appointed Zhang Suyi as its general manager of China. Zhang is the first local head since Ferrero entered the Chinese market.

The Italian firm said this appointment not only highlights its further attention to, and confidence in, the Chinese market also marks a new phase in Ferrero’s development in the world’s second-largest economy.

Zhang said that in order to better meet the needs of Chinese consumers, Ferrero will focus on developing new consumption scenarios, such as special occasions like Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day, for consumers to enjoy chocolate.

Meanwhile, it will further expand new emerging channels, including online-to-offline, wedding banquets, corporate welfare and group purchasing to boost sales.

In terms of product innovation, in September, Ferrero launched its new brand, Black Forest, in the Chinese market, which is from the Ferrara brand, acquired by Ferrero in the United States.

The launch of Gummy Bears and Juicy Burst was also the first time Ferrero entered the gummy candy market segment in China.

In addition to chocolate, Ferrero will introduce new products to help the company grow in the sweet packaged food market, said Zhang.

“Against the backdrop of the consumption recovery in China, the candy and chocolate market is witnessing a revival.

“Specifically, the country’s candy consumption market is far from being saturated. It is embracing an upgrade instead,” said Yang Yu, a senior retail expert and founder of online business information provider Yilan Commerce.

“In recent years, we invested 180 million yuan in the intelligent transformation of our production lines to raise output value,” said Liu Xinggang, president of Hsu Fu Chi. — China Daily/ANN

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