Chinese-style goods helping bakery sector grow

The market size of baked food in the domestic sector is projected to grow by 7.6 per cent year-on-year to 307 billion yuan this year, and nearly 352 billion yuan by 2025, according to a report


Chinese-style pastries, such as date paste cakes and mung bean cakes, are gaining popularity in festival markets. PHOTO; CHINA DAILY

October 3, 2023

BEIJING – The market for Chinese-style pastries is projected to expand in the future, spurred by increasing demand among young adults and the growing pursuit of more wholesome diets among the people.

The market size of baked food in the domestic sector is projected to grow by 7.6 percent year-on-year to 307 billion yuan ($42.1 billion) this year, and nearly 352 billion yuan by 2025, said a report released by iiMedia Research, a data analysis institute based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in late August.

Amid the boom, Chinese bakery products such as mung bean cake, pineapple pastries, sesame seed cookies and buns made with glutinous rice are becoming increasingly popular, partly because of promotion by social media influencers who throng to give reviews of Chinese-style bakeries and make recommendations, said the report.

It added that consumers of Chinese baked products are mainly young adults and the middle-aged. They tend to purchase baked products as many as six times a month, spending around 50 to 100 yuan each time. “As people are attaching greater significance to healthy lifestyles and diets, Chinese makers of pastries are also adjusting their product portfolios to highlight more healthy foods that are low in sugar and fat,” said the report, adding that Chinese bakers have an advantage in that they can incorporate traditional healthy ingredients such as black sesame seeds into bakery products.

Gao Nan, a resident in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, said that one of her favorite snacks during this sweltering summer is mung bean cake- a traditional Chinese cake made with minced, cooked mung bean.

“In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, mung bean can dispel internal heat and relieve hot weather ailments,” she said. “Mung bean cakes are sweet enough to satisfy my cravings. I also feel less guilty having them as a snack compared to ice cream.”

According to a report released by the China Association of Bakery and Confectionery Industry in August, consumers are looking for healthier substitutes for mooncakes — the signature dish of the Mid-Autumn Festival that falls on Sept 29 this year.

The report said that three traditional mooncake styles will continue to dominate the domestic market this year. They are the dense Cantonese version with glazed crust and salted egg yolk filling, the flaky iteration originating in Jiangsu province and Shanghai and the Beijing variation stuffed with nuts, red bean paste and date paste.

However, it added that mooncakes with lesser salt, sugar and fat are increasingly becoming popular among consumers. There are also many takers for a fusion of Chinese mooncakes and Western pastries, such as mooncakes with cheese fillings.

The report added that China’s bakery and pastry industry has recovered rapidly ever since China lifted most COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions at the start of this year.

In the first half of this year, the total income of enterprises above the designated size, generating more than 20 million yuan in revenue annually, in the industry reached 55 billion yuan, up by 5.5 percent year-on-year.

“Their total revenue stood at 3 billion yuan, up by 58 percent from the same period of last year,” said the report. “The jump in this year’s revenue is largely due to a relatively low total reported last year amid the pandemic.”

The report said that operating costs of bakery and pastry businesses remain at a high level and the consumer market is relatively weak.

“With a series of supportive policies in the second half of this year, the development of the industry is expected to trend high, bringing its total production, sales and revenue to pre-pandemic levels,” it said.

Ke Qingyi, a white-collar worker in Beijing, used to order a box of Cantonese mooncakes online to send to her family in Hefei, Anhui province, as a gift for the Mid-Autumn Festival. “But this year, I decided to buy some pastries at the Luxihe Pastry store near my apartment,” she said. Luxihe Pastry, a bakery chain founded in Jiangxi province, sells a variety of Chinese-style baked goods.

“I quite like its taosu (Chinese shortbread cookie), its cake with cream cheese filling and its mini cream puffs,” she said. “Compared to traditional mooncakes, these baked goods are less heavy but tasty and sweet enough. They also cost less and there are no brick-and-mortar stores selling them in my hometown. I think those are the best things to share with my family during the festival.”

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