Market for baby food rose by 23% between 2010 and 2016 to reach 396,000 tons, but fell for the first time in recent years in 2016. Although the market is still underdeveloped, it has benefited from greater consumer spending power, the rising levels of urbanization, and increased numbers of working women. At just 21.8kg - of which 18.7kg consisted of milks in 2016 -per capita consumption remains low by international standards. Sales reached CNY82.1 Billion (US$12.4 Billion) in 2016, 78% up on the 2010 level but slightly down on 2015.
Consumption increased in all sectors except drinks, although in value terms baby milks made the greatest gains, rising by 79% between 2010 and 2016. Sales have been boosted by the swing towards premium and super-premium products, as well as by rising per capita consumption up to 2015. Baby milks continue to dominate the market, accounting for over 92% of value and 86% of volume sales. Much of the remainder is made up of cereals & dry meals, which account for 4-5% of value and 7% of volume. Wet meals claim 2-3% of value sales, with finger foods and drinks together taking less than 1% of value sales.
The majority of milks are now imported, due to strong consumer preference for imported products, but most cereals, meals, and other products are produced locally. Imports of milks and cereals have risen strongly in recent years. In 2016, imports reached 225,000 tons, almost four times the 2010 level, and were valued at US$3.1 Billion. Imports of baby meals are much lower, reflecting the smaller size of the market. The Netherlands, Ireland, and New Zealand are the largest importers of infant formula. Exports remain low at present.
Distribution channels for baby food have changed dramatically over the past few years. The largest single channel for baby food is now specialist mother & baby stores (46%), while online sales account for a further 33%. Bricks & mortar food and general retailers now take only 21%. Online sales consist of C2C and B2C channels. The latter is now expanding more rapidly as all the major manufacturers have their own online stores, often selling directly imported products, while C2C sales are declining. Regulatory changes have accelerated this trend.
China has the world's second largest baby population and low per capita consumption, meaning, in theory, the untapped potential remains vast. Despite the one-child policy ending, the high cost of child-rearing and the lower number of women of childbearing age will restrain increases in births. On the other hand, once regulatory changes have concluded, sales should be boosted by the expansion of distribution and by rising incomes.
The report "The Baby Food Market in China 2017" provides extensive and highly detailed current and future market trends in the Chinese market.
In particular, this report provides the following analysis:
- Consumption data based upon a unique combination of industry research, fieldwork, market sizing work and our in-house expertise to offer extensive data about the trends and dynamics affecting the industry.
- Detailed profile of the companies operating and new companies considering entry in the industry along with their key focus product sectors.
- Market profile of the various product sectors with the key features & developments, segmentation, per capita trends and the various manufacturers & brands.
- Overview of baby food retailing with a mention of the major retailers in the country along with the distribution channel.
- Future projections considering various trends which are likely to affect the industry.
- Consumption of baby food in China rose by 23% since 2010 in terms of volume. Market value rose by 78% between 2010 and 2016.
- The bulk of baby food sales continue to occur in the major cities, although increasingly affluent consumers are emerging in second-, third-, and even fourth-tier cities, as well as the better-off parts of the rural community.
- The Chinese infant formula market is the world’s largest; now well ahead of both the US and the total market in Western Europe.
- The market is highly fragmented with a large number of foreign and local manufacturers active.
- The majority of milks are now imported, due to strong consumer preference for imported products, but most cereals, meals, and other products are produced locally.
- The major distribution channels for baby food have changed dramatically over the past few years. The largest single channel for baby food is now specialist mother & baby stores (46%), while online sales account for a further 33%. Bricks & mortar food and general retailers now take only 21%.
- Overall retail sales are forecast to rise by 51% between 2016 and 2022, while volume sales will increase by 26%.
- Evaluate important changes in consumer behavior and identify profitable markets and areas for product innovation.
- Analyse current and forecast behavior trends in each category to identify the best opportunities to exploit.
- Detailed understanding of consumption by individual product categories in order to align your sales and marketing efforts with the latest trends in the market.
- Investigates which categories are performing the best and how this is changing market dynamics.
Background to the Market
Production and Trade
Prospects and Forecasts
- Nestlé (China) Ltd
- Mead Johnson Nutrition Co Ltd
- Abbott (Guangzhou) Nutritionals Ltd
- Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd
- FrieslandCampina China
- Biostime Inc
- Feihe International Inc
- Hangzhou Beingmate Group