Yogurt in China is promicing in 2018. Yogurt consumption has significantly increased in China, by appropriation of Western cultures and their eating habits. The craze of Chinese for yogurt is not a simple matter of taste : often in China, food consumption will be justified by its supposed health virtues.

Yogurt, not a Chinese product?

yoghurt honey beijing

It is wrongly thought that the Chinese did not consume dairy products until they were influenced by the West. While the sale of yogurts has boomed since the opening of China in the 1980s, honey yoghurt in China was already a Beijing tradition. These yoghurts are easily found in North China but also in Shanghai, where they are sold in well-established street shops. They are recognizable by their shape of small craft pots whose lid is held by a string. Honey is also famous in China for giving a beautiful skin. Many Chinese ladies drink a glass of hot water with honey every morning, a true grandmother’s recipe for complexion!

Certainly, if dairy products were consumed at the imperial court in ancient China, this luxury was not within the reach of the entire population. Yogurt in China production has long been a craft. China has now clearly showed its desire to become the world’s largest milk producing country, in order to provide for the needs of its folk. An ambition that has gone through the purchase of farms and dairy cooperatives abroad, in France particularly but also in Switzerland and especially in New Zealand and Australia, geographically closer. A target for China: become self-sufficient to no longer depend on these exporting countries.

Domestic milk production has to hold high quotas, but still suffers from the distrust of Chinese consumers, scalded by the resounding scandal of melamine milk in 2008. Co-operatives abroad – even led by Chinese investors – enjoy a boost of greater credibility.

Chinese consumers, between lactose intolerance and dietary deficiency

yoghurt consumption China

While much of the Chinese population still suffers from lactose intolerance, yogurt presents the advantage of being fermented, which makes it digestible.

Chinese people usually eat soy milk or even coconut milk. To succeed in the Chinese market, the brand Danone has chosen to highlight the calcium deficiency among Chinese population, arguing in favor of cow’s milk. Funny anecdote if you compare the current movement in Europe, which tends to back down to sheep milk yogurt and soy milk beverages to counter the Europeans’ new intolerance to lactose!

 The virtues attributed to yoghurt

fitness china

Why this yogurt rush? The eating habits of the Chinese have evolved in contact with the West. The main argument in favor of yoghurt: its content of probiotics, which strengthens the immune system and makes it the health ally against stomach problems and female hormonal discomforts.

There is no doubt that Chinese parents, always very concerned about the health of their only child, are particularly sensitive to a product long known in Europe to strengthen the bones of growing children.

Chinese sports coaches and health professionals are now even recommending the consumption of cow’s milk yoghurt to strengthen the body in sport practising and even to develop muscle mass faster in fitness, just like eggs and meat.

A yoghurt for longevity

Fun fact, the Bulgarian Momchilovtsi village has become very popular in China since a Chinese company uses its name to sell yogurt. These Chinese yoghurts are supposed to contain the same lactic bacteria as the small yogurt producers of the Bulgarian village, which would have the incredible power to extend the life expectancy of the consumer. Proof of it : this village would count many centenarians! It was then enough to straight organize tourist stays of yoghurt tasting and make famous the name of Momchilovtsi.

How dairy products are consumed in Chinatapioca pearl yoghurt

For Chinese consumers, yogurt is a product that gets carried away: if it does not come in the form of a bottle to drink, the yoghurt solo will be sold with a straw or a plastic spoon, which allows to eat it in walking in the street. A real boom in the market, high-sugar milk drinks are increasingly marketed in China.

The tastes that please the most? Strawberry and nature first, then tropical fruits like coconut, kiwi, mango or pineapple. We then find blackberry and peach. Tapioca pearls are trendy, added to milk drinks as does the famous brand Yi Dian Dian.

Implant your yogurt brand in the Chinese market

Foreign products are judged by Chinese consumers as better quality products than domestic products. This quality image actually defines the strict hygiene controls that surround milk production in Europe; this is why Chinese consumers place greater reliance on imported products.


Being a foreign brand is a more significant way to highlight your products in the Chinese market. Be careful however: it would be wise to anticipate the wave coming from Europe which decries cow’s milk as a product harmful to health, largely due to lactose intolerance. If currently China has cow milk in high esteem for its calcium intake and its food supplement action to the sport, the boomerang will return the other way. More and more Europeans are favoring goat or sheep milk for yogurt, and this turning point will inevitably reach China within a few years.

The best strategy to adopt? Export yoghurt made of goat’s milk and bet on a communication of prevention to lactose intolerance. China is not closed to a new niche market. Consumers always fond of new trends and willing to test any mystical method for better health and beautiful skin. Donkey milk in exported cosmetics is already in the beauty department of Chinese supermarkets, right next to… snail beauty care!


Why my advertising has to go through Chinese social networks

While e-commerce is timidly taking off in Europe, the Chinese are hyper-connected consumers who pay their purchases by mobile payment and carry out their shopping on Taobao via their Smartphone.

It has become essential for a brand to be visible on Chinese social networks and traditional e-commerce platforms, such as Tmall and Taobao. Wechat has become the best way to be aware of promotions and brand launches; it is a digital fumble where to find new and used products, good deals and sales of all kinds.

The transition to digital is essential for your business. Fortunately, we can guide you to the best choices for your business plan.

Chinese city-dwellers aspire to a healthy lifestyle combining sports and balanced food. In this, the agri-food in China is a market that has the advantage of being able to develop jointly with the sports market.

To fully understand the Chinese market on which you want to make your brand known, many companies like yours choose to join our Gentlemen Marketing Agency, which brings them the most innovative digital strategies. We help companies on a daily basis to develop their business in China by optimizing their digital communication on Chinese social networks.

Want to know more ? Do not hesitate to contact one of our experts.

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