Asia saw strong double digit growth in medical health in 2011 and consumers are increasingly aware that 'Prevention is better than cure', therefore, consumers are beginning to make lifestyle choices through exercising and the way they eat and drink in order to stay healthy.
Together with all the other factors which I have just mentioned, consumers are taking health eating and drinking as an approach to reduce the demand for expensive health care and high medical costs in the future.
China is more developed in its pro/pre biotic yoghurt consumption. In 2011, China saw the largest increase in terms of absolute sales & took up one-quarter of the total sales for pro/pre biotic yoghurt in Asia.
While Pro/Pre Biotic Fruited Spoonable Yoghurt saw the fastest growth of 57% in 2011, 75% of its pro/pre biotic yoghurt is contributed by pro/pre biotic drinking yoghurt, where Yakult is the main player. Yakult has been aggressive in expanding its business in China, by setting up more factories as well as expanding its distribution network to more states in China.
In addition, the company is constantly reminding consumers on the benefits of drinking their product regularly, reinforcing brand loyalty.
Currently, many of the Health and Wellness products are still largely targeted at the higher income group in many countries in Asia. However, the middle & low income consumers are also interested in eating and drinking well.
Therefore, in order to grow the market further, companies will have to look into expanding their consumer segment, by reaching out to the middle & low income consumers as well. To do so, companies will have to provide quality products which taste good, and at the same time balances both convenience and price.
All-in one products can be introduced, allowing consumers to have multiple functions in their product, saving time. On the other hand, manufacturers and retailers will have to ensure that such products can be integrated into consumers' daily budget.
Also, a possible solution could be to work on the packaging. For example, developed Asian countries like Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, can have family pack size or multi packs to push consumer to consume more, while developing countries like Indonesia, Philippines, can have single-serve packaging, or smaller pack size, so that the cost per purchase is low, fitting the product into their daily or weekly budget.
To conclude, we will also see the market moving towards polarisation, where the existing health and wellness consumers will grow to be more sophisticated, moving up the value chain. This is also where we will see health and wellness developments and innovation.
At the same time, we will see existing HW products being repositioned to target middle and low income consumers. Ultimately, given a choice, everyone will want to be able to eat and drink well. Download our full presentation from China Food and Beverage Executive Summit