How to go global for Chinese food and beverage brands

On April 23-25, the FBIF (Food and Beverage Innovation Forum) 2019 was held in Hangzhou International Expo Center, with the theme "Start Exploitative Innovation, Regain Growth Potential", to discuss the future of food and beverage industry from various aspects.

Mr. Alick Zhou, President and Chief Customer Officer, Ipsos in China, held a round-table discussion with Mr. Zhang Xiqiang, President of Shanghai Totole Food Co., Ltd. and Mr. Cui Wudi, President and CEO of Nestle-Yinlu Foods on the topic of "How to go global for Chinese food and beverage brands".

Left: Mr. Alick Zhou, President and Chief Customer Officer, Ipsos in China
Middle: Mr. Zhang Xiqiang, President of Shanghai Totole Food Co., Ltd.
Right: Mr. Cui Wudi, President and CEO of Nestle-Yinlu Foods

On April 23, Mr. Alick Zhou, President and Chief Customer Officer , Ipsos in China, at the invitation of China Business Network (CBN), presented the current situation of Chinese food and beverage brands going global to the public in CBN's live studio.

Left: Mr. Alick Zhou, President and Chief Customer Officer , Ipsos in China
Right: Ms. Tu Chenhong, a reporter at CBN

Interview review:

Tu: Mr. Zhou, What is your opinion about the current situation of Chinese brands going global?

Alick: As far as I can tell, more and more Chinese brands are trying to go global. We have witnessed them more in the industries of food and beverage, dairy products, alcoholic drinks, snacks and condiments, but their popularity abroad is relatively low. They are just getting started, so there is a long way to go in the future.
Tu: What is driving Chinese food and beverage brands to go global?
Alick: First of all, there are policy factors. China's the Belt and Road initiative encourages Chinese brands to go to the world. In addition, with the increasingly fierce competition in the domestic market, the overseas market is large enough to expand the market share and develop international brands. At the same time, we can bring in overseas technology to promote the strength of our brands in China. All these have pushed Chinese food and beverage brands to go global.
Tu: What are the ways in which Chinese food and beverage brands go global at present?
Alick: There are mainly three ways. Firstly, overseas acquisitions. Big firms are integrating their supply chains upstream and downstream, acquiring source of raw materials, brands and so on. For example, Yili acquired Chomthana, the largest ice cream company in Thailand, and quickly opened up the foreign market by utilizing the overseas popularity of the latter.     Second, export by means of strategic cooperation and joint venture, the integrated cooperation from source of raw materials to intensive processing. Thirdly, export by e-commerce. China has become the world's largest producer and consumer of roasted seeds and nuts, and also the fastest growing country of such products in the world. Many nuts brands go global via those Chinese-style e-commerce platforms.
Tu: You just mentioned the issue of food safety, to which people are paying more and more attention. What is the current situation of food safety in China?
Alick: Consumers have increased confidence in food safety compared with previous years. Especially in the era of open and transparent Internet, when a business or brand is found to have food safety problems, it will be exposed immediately. According to Ipsos' White Paper on Adult Health Management in China 2018, more and more consumers put food additives as their top consideration, examples include whether yogurt is additive-free or low in calories and fat, or it is organic or not.
Tu: For enterprises and related authorities, how to strengthen food safety and enhance consumer confidence?

Alick: First of all, the government must make a difference and have relevant legislation in place.     The second is law enforcement. For food quality incidents, the government should speed up the processing speed, strengthen the efforts, and disclose to the public in time. These aspects can be further improved. My third suggestion is to introduce the support of a third party, such as a media producer or a third-party consulting company like Ipsos, to gain insight into the psychology of consumers and understand their needs.

On the afternoon of April 24, Mr. Alick Zhou was invited to attend the "Hello Foods New Product Awards" as a judge and present awards to the winners. New Hope brand glass-bottled yoghurt of city memory series won the Best Yoghurt Award in 2019. This yoghurt, adopting traditional fermentation process, with no artificial additives, environment-friendly in glass bottle, together with images of local landmarks in various cities, meet consumers' pursuit of health and find the responses that resonated most from consumers.

Left: Representative of the award-winning company, Hangzhou New Hope Shuangfeng Dairy Co., Ltd.
Right: Mr. Alick Zhou, President and Chief Customer Officer of Ipsos China

Ipsos has a wealth of practical experience in food and beverage industry, from user profile, product innovation, KOL marketing effect evaluation, consumer scenario segmentation, to brand positioning and many other fields. We are committed to providing a full range of innovative solutions centered on consumer needs, helping brand owners to become leaders in the industry through better changes and by meeting diverse needs of consumers. With its 18,000 professional research and consulting experts in 89 markets around the world, Ipsos hopes to help more Chinese enterprises achieve global growth and sustainable development with strong fundamentals.