Three ways to sell luxury food in China


The luxury food market in China is a market with huge potentials but still not deeply developed. More and more foreign brands has already arrived in China but is still unsure how to break into the industry.

Attractive market of high-class food

More and more Chinese families are beginning to care about the safety and quality of their food, and they are likely to spend more to ensure good quality. As described by the CEO of a high-class online mall, China’s high-class food market will exceed 1.6 billion USD this year.

high class food

high class food

The high profit margin, more brand added value and promising future are luring all the food enterprises in China.
What’s more, for high-class food, customers are more willing to pay the high price, which reduces the price wars with aggressive local companies.
However, the branding of most players in this field are still new to the market. Except for some Chinese cigarette brands and Baijiu brands, you can hardly find any other high-class brand.

Concept of healthy food

In the recent few years, the increasing public concern for the safety of food and beverage has boosted a market of healthy food. As reported by the Wall Street Journal: Ink, dye, bleach, wax and toxic chemicals: These are just a few of the substances that have been found recently in food products in China, reigniting fears over food safety despite repeated government pledges to crack down on tainted eats.

Chinese healthy food

Chinese healthy food

With the demand from both customers and Chinese government, more and more companies set their target on this market. And some of them position themselves as luxury food producers and they usually take the use of some high-tech concepts such as organic food or nano-tech farming. For example, Tong’s Farm is one of the first companies who tried organic food. As it introduces itself as following:
Tony’s Farm is Shanghai’s only organic farm exhibiting in the Expo, with a booth located in the Pavilion of Future in Zone E of the Expo site. The booth itself was designed by the same team that worked on the Germany Pavilion and is a breakthrough in the traditional presentation style of agriculture, allowing visitors from around the world to gain a greater understanding by immersing themselves in an organic ecosystem.

benz tong's farm

Tong’s Farm invited Benz

In fact, they promote the image of their food as luxury, healthy food also via other ways: inviting luxury brands like Hermes, Ferrari and Benz to their farm; inviting people to their farm to pick strawberries and visit their high-tech environment-friendly buildings.
An integrated marketing of Tony’s Farm works: most news about Tong’s farm is surrounding the idea of healthy food, luxury food.

Cultural value

The vinegar blending scandal shook entire China vinegar industry in August, 2011. The vice chairman of “ShanXi Vinegar Industry Association” was fired because he told the press that 95% of all the vinegar produced in Shanxi is blended. It caused huge attention from customers. 10% vinegar consumers take ShanXi Vinegar as their first choice, introduced by foodnavigator-asia. How can it take that big share of the market which worth over $10 billion, even the quality Shanxi Vinegar is not so good? The answer is probably the cultural value is its culture.
Shanxi mature vinegar (Shanxi Lao Chengcu), named the best vinegar in the world, is known in China as one of the four most famous kinds of vinegar, along with vinegar in Zhejiang, Sichuan and Fujian provinces. It originated in 770BC and has a history of more than 3,000 years. (source: chinaculture)

traditional way to produce Shanxi vinegar

traditional way to produce Shanxi vinegar

In fact, the strategy has been used by a lot of companies in food industry, not only in Vinegar field, but also in other fields, especially those traditional Chinese food producers like mooncake, zongzi and so on.

Community management

The purpose of community management is to build, grow and manage communities around a brand. Usually, it starts from KOL (Key Opinion Leader). Community management is useful for all the companies, especially those companies in food, tourism, sports industries where consumers make their decision more according to their feeling.
In high class food industry, community management has become a must for all the players here. For example, the organic vegetable producer Tony’s Farm tries to manage community by inviting people to come to their farm and experience and let them spread the message they get to their circles. Another example is New Yu Lin, a sea slug seller. Sea slug is considered as one of the top food in China. And most sea slugs are sold as gift, mostly for high-class people.

seaslug club

seaslug club

So New Yu Lin opens a club about sea slug which is an exclusive club only for the rich or powerful  so that they can focus on this specific targets.

Do you want to sell high class food in China? What’s the character of your brand? What marketing strategy you will use in China food industry?