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Rising incomes and a growing middle class in China are fuelling demand for Western-style breakfast items such as butter, cream and cheese, says Fonterra.

To meet demand, Fonterra has boosted the availability of its Anchor Dairy Foods’ product range, increasing the number of stores it sells into from 1,400 to 1,700 in recent months and elevating the presence of its products on e-commerce platforms – a popular way of purchasing food items in China.

It also launched a mobile app campaign inviting users to share their favourite breakfast recipes using various dairy ingredients.

More than 8,000 recipes were shared during December and January by shoppers who bought Anchor products. Around 70 percent of the recipes shared were Western-style dishes such as breakfast paninis and omelettes, while 30 percent were Chinese-inspired dishes such as sweet potato cream soup, toast rolls with peanuts, and cheese and egg breakfast cups.

“Breakfast as we know it is changing in China,” said Chester Cao, Vice President of Brands for Greater China. “As incomes rise and the middle class grows, we are seeing greater demand for Western-style breakfast items such as butter, cheese and cream.

“Fonterra has supplied these products to the foodservice industry here for many years, but now we are focusing more closely on shoppers, encouraging them to see dairy products as a healthy, protein-packed start to their day.”

To promote dairy as essential, everyday breakfast food, Fonterra’s campaign also involved a number of chef demonstrations, including one by Michelin star holder Steven Liu who staged a cooking event in Shanghai in December. 

The campaign also included digital advertising and activation with China-based food delivery app Eleme, which generated 89 million impressions among app users.

“It’s great to see a high level of engagement with our campaign and with our products,” said Christina Zhu, President for Fonterra Greater China. “It reaffirms that there is a growing appetite in China for more high quality dairy ingredients.”

Data from China Customs shows that imports for butter, cream and cheese all rose significantly in the first eleven months of 2016 compared with the year prior, with cream up 57 percent, cheese up 31 percent and butter up 21 percent.

“This increase in demand is significant,” said Ms Zhu. “It’s driven by factors such as urbanisation, rising incomes and a greater desire for more premium items. We’re committed to meeting this demand with the right products in the right places.”

Glenn Baker

Professional writer/editor with 35-plus years experience - including radio copywriting, various television writing/production roles, and writing for business magazines. I have also co-owned a wholesale food distribution business.


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