In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level “Vitality Forest”?

They all said to find the next “Vitality Forest”, who will be the next one?

0 Sugar sparkling water, how hot is it now?

The vitality forest sparkling water, featuring “0 sugar, 0 fat, 0 card”, opens up the outlet of “0 sugar sparkling water”. In 2020, Genki Forest’s performance increased by about 270% year-on-year, and the annual sales volume reached 3 billion yuan, of which the sales of sparkling water accounted for more than 70% . [1]

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Yuanqi Forest Sparkling Water and Burning Tea

Image source: Vitality Forest

In addition, many brands have also joined the “0 Sugar Sparkling Water” track. Last year, the hi tea launched hi bubble tea water, KellyOne launch angry Bobo. In June of this year, Pepsi introduced the bubble water brand bubly to China.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Angry Bo Bo Bo, Bubly Smile Fun Bubble

Image source: KellyOne Tmall flagship store, bubly smile fun bubble official blog

Zong Qinghou once said: “The beverage industry is outdated and will always be a sunrise industry .” In the current Chinese beverage market, the vitality forest has risen, and major domestic brands have launched new products one after another, which confirms the vitality of the beverage industry.

But they all say that they are looking for the next “Vitality Forest. Where is the next vitality forest-like phenomenon-level brand?”

Based on the sharing of Kantar Consumer Index Greater China General Manager Yu Jian and Kantar Insights China Managing Director Zhang Lin at the FBIF2021 Food and Beverage Innovation Forum , we will analyze some beverage products in order to attract others. Three ideas for discovering Chinese beverage innovation and even launching the next phenomenon-level product:

1. Cut into the incremental market of mature racetracks by segmenting the bright spots;

2. To meet the anxious needs of consumers in a certain aspect;

3. Establish a strong connection between the brand and the consumption scene.

01  Opportunity behind the explosion of vitality forest: 1 big track + 1 subdivision highlight

After the bubble water of the vitality forest exploded, everyone was “looking for the next vitality forest”, but who would be the next?

The reason for the success of the “0 Sugar Bubble Water” represented by Yuanqi Forest Bubble Water can be analyzed from many angles. This time, we split the “0 sugar bubble water” into two parts, “bubble water” + “0 sugar”, to discuss the idea of ​​using ” 1 big track + 1 subdivision highlight ” to create a large beverage single product.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Genki Forest Sparkling Water

Image source: Yuanqi Forest Tmall flagship store

In China’s beverage industry, there are many small and beautiful beverage categories with good growth. Because matcha is loved by people because of its refreshing taste, it has been added to various foods such as ice cream and snacks, and it has also become a new idea for beverage brands. In April of this year, Yuanqi Forest announced on its official WeChat account that it would launch green jade dew green tea, using the “Yulu green tea + ground matcha” double tea formula.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Yuanqi Forest launches green fried jade dew green tea

Image source: Yuanqi Forest Official Weibo

In August last year, Yongpu also launched a new concentrated matcha liquid when it launched its concentrated drink, and sold more than 1.34 million cups in the four months of its launch. But matcha is still a niche category in the beverage industry, and it is difficult to produce a large single product. Therefore, to create a phenomenon-level product, you must first choose a big track to ensure a certain volume.

Yuanqi Forest chose the “carbonated drinks” track, laying the foundation for the category [2]. It’s not enough to have a big track alone. How to break through in the same category of products? Yuanqi Forest chose another bright spot, starting from the subdivision of “sugar-free products”. Through “a big track + a subdivision highlight” to bring “sugar-free + carbonated beverage bubble taste”, create explosive products.

In addition to carbonated drinks, what other tracks are worth watching? The Kantar Worldpanel report pointed out four beverage categories with high penetration rates, namely carbonated drinks, sports drinks, ready-to-drink milk tea, and sugar-free ready-to-drink tea. Today we will take these four categories as examples for you Analyze how the brand combines the big track and segment highlights to create explosive models.

1. Carbonated drinks track + sugar-free

Coca-Cola has been in China for more than 40 years, but the Coca-Cola and Pepsi brands currently on the market are still dominated. Yu Jian, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel Greater China, said at the FBIF forum that Chinese companies have been making Coke, but the Coke market has not been doing it. In addition to the product itself, how can we really cut into the minds of consumers? This is very important .

Nowadays, the pattern of the carbonated drink track has changed because of the “0 sugar sparkling water”. A survey by Kantar Worldpanel reveals the penetration rate of several major categories of outdoor consumption in 2020, among which the sugar-free carbonated beverage category ranks second with a penetration rate of 57% [3].

“0 Sugar Sparkling Water” captured the big track of carbonated beverages, and cut into the highlights of the “sugar-free” segmentation, to gain insights into consumers’ desire not only to get the bubbles of carbonated beverages, but also to be sugar-free and healthy for their mentality. 

At present, the market is very confident in the prospect of sparkling water. The report of the Institute of Foresight Industry shows that the overall domestic sparkling water market is expected to reach 32 billion in 2025 [4]. At present, many brands have already adopted the “0 sugar” angle to cut into the carbonated beverage track where the sparkling water is located to seize the market.

In July 2020, HiTea launched HiTea sparkling water. With the highlights of the carbonated beverage track and the 0 sugar segmentation, this product has also captured consumers. According to the data released by Hey Tea for 2020, Hey Tea Tmall flagship store sold about 1.4 million bottles of Hey Tea sparkling water. [5]

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Hi Tea Sparkling Water

Image source: Xixiaoping’s official Weibo

Pepsi, which occupies a large number of loyal customers in the carbonated beverage market, also sets its sights on “0 sugar sparkling water”. In June 2021, Pepsi launched the bubble water brand bubly for the first time in China. This “0 sugar, 0 fat, 0 card” bubly sparkling water had sales of 116.3 million U.S. dollars in 2019 before entering China. [6]

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

bubly smile fun bubble

Image source: bubly smile fun bubble official Weibo

According to Kantar’s category monitoring, due to the impact of the epidemic, the share of juice, Chinese tea, herbal tea, and packaged water in the entire beverage has declined, but the brand has not given up on the pursuit of innovation. In May of this year, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Group also launched a new product for Wong Lo Kat Fuchao in conjunction with Guangzhou Onion Group . The innovation of this series is to design zero-sugar bubble herbal tea through the “bubble” and “0-sugar” highlights.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Wanglaoji bubble herbal tea and sugar-free herbal tea

Image source: Onion Group

2. Sports drink track + sugar-free

Speaking of sports drinks, the brand you can think of is pulse, activation, or Gatorade? The electrolyte water launched by the Alien brand under Yuanqi Forest has broken through the traditional old sports drinks and has become the choice of many young people.

The Alien brand first chose the sports drink as the basis for this big track. Also according to the penetration rate survey data of outdoor consumption in 2020, compared with carbonated beverages, the sports beverage track is even larger, with a penetration rate of 67% [3]. So how does Alien electrolyte water differ from traditional sports drinks? In addition to choosing the big track, the Alien electrolyte water also used the “0 sugar” details to capture the consumer’s fear of excessive sugar intake after exercise. By using erythritol, a sugar-free exercise was created. Drink.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Alien electrolyte water

Image Source: Alienware Flagship Store

3. Instant milk tea + special tea raw materials

Young people cannot live without milk tea. However, it is worth noting that under the current situation where all kinds of new tea brands are becoming more and more involuntary, instant milk tea will reach 40% of outdoor consumption penetration in 2020, becoming the third largest track [ 3].

The launch of milk tea with zero sucrose in the Yuanqi Forest has attracted widespread attention and discussion from the society. We have to mention a ready-to-drink milk tea that once exploded: Unified Assam milk tea. How did this milk tea, which went on the market in September 2009, succeeded in selecting the ready-to-drink milk tea on the big track?

The brand mainly starts from the detailed description of the tea raw materials to reflect the advantages of this ready-to-drink milk tea. Under the unique climate environment of the Himalayas , the monsoon rainwater of the ocean, the nutritious clay of the river valley and the abundant sunshine climate environment of 24-28°N latitude work together to produce high-quality Assam tea.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Assam Milk Tea

Image source: Unified official website

4. Sugar-free ready-to-drink tea + original leaf extract

Sugar-free ready-to-drink tea, once known as the “most difficult drink”, is becoming more and more popular due to the high degree of people’s attention to “0 sugar”. In the outdoor consumption survey in 2020, the penetration rate of sugar-free ready-to-drink tea category is 25% [3]. Among the sugar-free ready-to-drink teas, one of the classic products is the Oriental leaves launched by Nongfu Spring .

After seizing the big track of sugar-free ready-to-drink tea, how does Oriental Leaf differentiate itself from other products by subdividing its highlights? Similar to the ready-to-drink milk tea mentioned in the previous article, Oriental Leaf cuts into the subdivision with emphasis on “raw leaf extraction” and emphasizes “not using tea powder” to ensure the original color and fragrance of tea.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Oriental Leaf Jasmine Tea

Image source: Oriental Leaf’s official Weibo

From the analysis, it can be seen that the explosion of these single products is to ensure the size by choosing a large track, and at the same time, adding a subdivision highlight to create a breakthrough in the category and seize the minds of consumers. We look forward to more adoptions in the future. Ways to explode the brand.

02 Under the “meshed” of the beverage category, how can brands capture the new demands of consumers?

Nowadays, people are called consumers who want and want: not only good food, but also healthy, but also experience. A variety of new teas, fruity coffee and other categories have launched a “meshed” in order to compete for consumers. A single product line can no longer satisfy consumers in this session. How the brand can seize the unmet needs of consumers has become a breakthrough in creating explosive products.

In his speech, Yu Jian also pointed out that phenomenal new products and new brands in the Chinese market are not uncommon, but from the perspective of a long time span, the real challenge is how to keenly capture the new needs of consumers in the long-term and continue to invest in construction. brand.

1. New tea drinks and new coffee pay attention to taste iteration

In 2021, how involved is the tea and coffee industry? After the niche fruits such as oil tangerines exploded, the brand continued to dig out yellow peels and coconuts to make new drinks. Luckin’s raw coconut latte was robbed, and the hand-made lemon tea launched by Heycha rushed to the hot search on Weibo . New tea drinks and new coffee continue to create “net celebrities”, each time bringing consumers a unique taste experience.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Luckin launches raw coconut latte

Image source: Ruixing official Weibo

Why do new teas and coffees need to be rolled up and continue to develop new products? When consumers buy new products, they will focus on the taste factor. The Kantar Consumer Insights survey shows that “have tastes that consumers like” is the second most important decision factor for purchasing new products.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Taste is the core decision factor for buying new products

Image source: Kantar Consumer Insights

More importantly, today’s consumer demand for taste is more than just a single “good drink”, but it also needs to have iterations of flavors . As a niche fruit, oil citrus beverages have been popular for more than 4 months since Naixue launched the domineering citrus in March. After Naixue launched the domineering jade oil orange, based on consumer feedback, he launched a low-sugar version of the domineering jade oil orange.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Domineering jade oil orange

Photo Credit: Nayuki’s Tea

When Hey Tea launched its King Fried Youkan product line, it also made iterations of flavors. It launched four different flavors: Double-pressed Carambola, King-pressed, Super-rich King, and Double-pressed Olive Oil. Different sugar content and concentration are also provided, and there are options of thickened version, standard sweetness, and less sweetness. The brand continues to update and iterate tastes to meet the new needs of consumers this year and continue to capture the customer base.

2. Compound flavor

In addition to looking forward to the iteration of new tastes, consumer tastes are no longer as single as the original ones , and are more inclined to be complex . In response to this consumer demand, the brand no longer considers a single salty or sweet taste when launching new products, but chooses to launch a variety of mixed flavors such as “salty and sweet mix”.

In April, health Lippo launched refers orange cold beer taste microbubbles water, through a rare citrus fruit refers to orange, and beer combinations bring a different taste levels to sparkling water beverages. In June, Hankou No. 2 Factory launched a new product of bayberry aspirating tea. The tea, juice and sparkling water were mixed in proportion to create a triple taste.

In the same month, Hey Tea used juice tea as its second new bottled beverage after 0 sugar sparkling water, and launched two flavors of Mediterranean Peach Peach Golden Phoenix and Iberico Grapefruit Green. Brand said the flagship series of tea juice and a half “Cup Zhenguo juice” plus “true original leaf tea now and Crafts,” a combination of complex flavors to consumers.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Hi Tea Juice Tea 

Image Source: Hi Tea

Because of the explosion of “0 Sugar Bubble Water”, the vitality forest has also taken into account consumers’ demand for complex flavors when designing new products, and launched a limited sea salt pineapple flavor. The brand emphasized the “salt soda” and “pineapple fruit fragrance” during the promotion, highlighting the uniqueness of the salt-sweet complex taste.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Yuanqi Forest Sea Salt Pineapple Flavor Sparkling Water

Image source: Yuanqi Forest Tmall flagship store

In addition to salt-sweet mixed flavors, complex flavors can also be realized from the “crossover” of beverages. Nescafe Coffee launched a special fruit extract series, containing four flavors of grapefruit, passion fruit, peach and strawberry. The brand hopes to bring a richer taste to coffee through the combination of fruit and coffee.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Nescafe Fruit Extract Coffee

Image source: Nestlé official flagship store

3. Healing drinks

Under the increasingly fast pace of work and life, people will consider choosing food and beverages to adjust their emotions in order to relieve stress. The “healing economy” came into being, and it was also rated as the annual by Zhimeng’s “2019 China Consumer Trends Report” One of the top ten consumer trends. More data show that 84% of Chinese consumers make themselves happy by eating snacks, and 48% of Chinese confectioners buy chocolate to improve their mood [7]. In addition to food, beverages have also begun to take the “healing system” route.

In the United States, many food and beverage companies have begun to pay attention to the health and healing properties of their products. The healing sparkling water launched by Recess, a very popular DTC brand in the American beverage market. The brand said that since the epidemic, its online business has grown fourfold. [8]

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Recess sparkling water

Image source: Recess official website

So how does Recess sparkling water get consumers’ attention? The ingredients of Recess sparkling water have a “healing feeling”. According to the brand, each jar of sparkling water contains 10 mg of broad-spectrum cannabis extract as well as ginseng, lemon balm and L-theanine. These ingredients can help consumers calm down and relax, and the calories are less than 20 calories. People drink Recess in the morning to stay calm but concentrate during work, or to reduce stress after get off work as a substitute for alcohol. 

Brands can consider not only satisfying consumers’ demands for new and complex tastes, but also seizing consumer demands from the spiritual level of healing. 

03Where can  brands compete for consumers? Look for them in the scene!

Every brand wants to capture consumers, but where are the consumers?

We can find corresponding groups of people with different demand characteristics from different consumption scenarios. Brand posted a near-field scene spread products, but also easy access to consumer acceptance. So how do brands compete with each other in different scenarios to capture consumers? We have selected three common scenarios for discussion.

1. Outing scene: self-cooling beverage/self-heating beverage

When going out in the hot summer, I often hope to have a glass of ice drink. Self-cooling beverages are aimed at this outdoor scene. Through the “self-cooling” design, consumers can “cool down” anytime and anywhere. American 7-Eleven convenience store’s own brand launched a limited-edition cold brew sparkling coffee drink Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew, which has three flavors: caramel, vanilla, and coffee.

How is the “self-cooling” effect achieved? Imagine being outdoors at a high temperature of 38 degrees, after walking for half an hour. Consumers only need to flip the coffee can up and down, and then turn the bottom of the coffee and wait for a minute or so, and they can drink iced coffee just like they have just taken out of the refrigerator. What a delightful experience.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew

Image source: sprudge

Although everyone likes to drink hot drinks in winter, it is very troublesome to carry hot drinks when going out, so self-heating drinks have also become a big idea for the innovation of outdoor drinks in winter. Nongfu Spring’s charcoal coffee is equipped with a “heating kit” with a self-heating cup and a self-heating bag. The user only needs to put the self-heating bag into the self-heating cup, pour a certain amount of water, wait for the water in the self-heating cup to heat up, and wait 6-8 minutes to harvest a cup of hot coffee.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Charcoal coffee

Image source: Nongfu Spring Tmall flagship store

2. Work scenario: health preservation

In addition to outdoor beverage demand, when indoors, the work scene also derives new beverage demand. Nowadays, “workers” often stay up late to work overtime, sit for a long time and lack exercise, but at the same time, this part of the population is also paying more and more attention to health. Not only have brands launched “healthy pots” for consumers to cook “healthy tea”, but also tea brands have also targeted the work overtime scene and introduced beverages related to health and wellness.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Hetian Shuipu Health Tea 

Image source: Hetian Shuipu 

The health-care tea brand “Hetian Shuipu” has launched a “stay-up moisturizer” containing whole ginseng for the scene of staying up late and working overtime. It also launched a “feather clothes detox water” for those who are sedentary and lack exercise but want to manage their body. The brand said that for young people’s workplace pain points, its brand is based on the concept of “medicine and food , and instant health preservation”. It has received two rounds of financing in three months, including Meihua Ventures, a new consumer head institution.

3. Sports scene: unburdened drinks

Body management and health management through exercise have become the goal of many people. Therefore, in sports scenarios, consumers will pay special attention to hydrating and controlling calorie intake.

Drinks with 0 sugar and 0 calories have become a new choice for consumers . “0 Sugar Sparkling Water” can not only replenish water, but also reduce consumers’ sense of burden when drinking. The sparkling water with 0 sugar and 0 calories launched by DASH in the United Kingdom also has a fruity taste. When the brand promotes this product, it focuses on the concept of hydration and no sugar and no calories. When promoting on social media, the brand also uses many outdoor sports scene advertisements to bind this bubble water with sports scenes to help consumers establish connections. Perhaps the future breakthrough of “zero sugar bubble water” can be cut from the scene, highlighting the properties of hydrating and low-calorie beverages.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

DASH WATER showcases sports hydration scenes on social platforms

Image source: Instagram screenshot

The Alien brand under Yuanqi Forest also launched energy bomb drinks in May this year, with a focus on high-efficiency and refreshing. This product also focuses on reducing sugar, using added erythritol to reduce calories, and contains ginseng and wolfberry ingredients. When the brand launched this product, it connected it with the sports scene, emphasizing its 100ml packaging specification, highlighting the characteristics of energy bombs that are easy to carry and suitable for replenishing energy after exercise.

In the future of Chinese beverages, where is the next phenomenon-level "Vitality Forest"?

Alien Energy Bomb

Image Source: Alienware Flagship Store

For a variety of different scenarios outdoor scenes, scenes work, such as sports scenes, consumer demand for the brand can seize for temperature, nutrition, without the burden associated machine will point to create innovative drinks.

04  Conclusion

Returning to the question raised at the beginning of the article, where is the next “zero sugar sparkling water” in the future of Chinese beverage innovation? Now there is a preliminary answer.

If you want to create a hot product, the brand can choose a big track and add a subdivision highlight to gain an incremental market. It is also possible to innovate beverages by satisfying consumer taste iterations, compound tastes, and healing the direction of consumer anxiety. In addition, brands can establish a strong relationship between new products and consumption scenarios, allowing consumers to choose this product in a specific scenario.

Let us look forward to more and more “Vitality Forests” in the outdated beverage industry.

Reference source:

[1] start “Fourteen five” business as new vitality Senlin Tang Shu Bin Sen : focus on product development and continue to lead the sparkling water Speedway, May 28, the People’s info

[2] “GBT10789-2015 General Rules for Beverages”, P3

[3] Innovation opportunities in the Chinese beverage market, Kantar Consumer Index

[4] “Analysis Report on China’s Soda Water Industry Market Development Prospects and Investment Forecasts from 2020 to 2025”, Qianzhan Industry Research Institute

[5] Hey Tea announced its 2020 data: 304 new stores opened, and Hey Tea sold over 1 million cups

[6] Bang, Bubly and G Zero are among 2019’s top innovations, says IRI,2020年6月2日,FOODDIVE

[7] Recharging the brain power-innovation in the age of brain power in the Asia Pacific region, Mintel

[8] Recess launches direct to business wholesale online platform for CBD-infused beverages, revamps DTC site, 2020年5月19日,Food Navigator

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