What are the key trends of the Chinese beverage market in 2017?

Market analysts said Chinese consumers want healthy ingredients in their beverages. Pic: iStock/Kzenon

Several market research firms have predicted key trends that might be observed in the Chinese beverage market this year, including natural and energy ingredients.

Food and drink analyst from Mintel, Loris Li, told BeverageDaily Chinese consumers are becoming more and more interested in juice drinks with more authentic ingredients.

“’Made from 100% pure juice’ is a very attractive claim to consumers,” she said. “Meanwhile, products containing nectar are also popular. These trends tell the market that consumers are attracted to healthy ingredients.”

Soft drinks market will grow bigger

Mintel said aspirations for healthier and cleaner lifestyles are motivating global consumers to prioritize fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals.

“The emphasis on plant content reinforces the growing interest in vegetarian and vegan products, many of which are chosen by consumers for an occasional drink, snack or meal rather than as part of a wholesale change to a plant-based lifestyle,” Mintel wrote in its recent global food and drink trends report.

Mintel's data also shows that 35% of Chinese adults aged between 24 and 49, who are hoping to achieve a healthy diet, choose vegetarian food and 14% look for products with superfood ingredients.

Despite the mounting health concerns, China’s soft drinks market size will grow bigger and faster in 2017, according to a newly released data from Euromonitor Shanghai.

The data shows that the retail value of the domestic soft drinks market is expected to reach $102,880.2m, and the total volume will reach 94,808.4m liters by the end of 2017.

Monster ready to compete with Red Bull

Market analysts also believe there will be a continuous surge of sports and energy drink consumption in China this year.

“Chinese consumers drank an extra 545 million liters of sports drinks over 2014 and 2015, which is nearly four times the amount Americans drank,” Li said. That number also represents a 25% volume growth during the period, according to a previous report on this site.

“As the [Chinese] government has announced the plan of building an $850bn sports economy by 2025, sports and energy drinks have huge potential,” she added.

Currently, Red Bull, which is manufactured by a local Red Bull Wei Sheng Su Gong Neng Yin Liao (红牛维生素功能饮料), still remains the leading brand in China’s energy drinks market. But Li said Monster Energy is ready to compete with the brand in 2017.

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