Food for brands

Food brands inspired by the name of their home region is easy to grasp. When a local product starts being promoted elsewhere, branding it with the name of a famous city or region of origin can help push the brand name quicker than when a completely new brand name is forged.

Some of those brand names become so common, that the average consumer gradually forgets that it is a geographic name. Good examples are Worcester sauce or Dijon mustard.

The reversed situation, regions being named after their most famous food or drink, is much rarer.

Chinese local governments, in particular cities, have discovered the power of local foods in increasing the (inter)national awareness of their home region.

Tea city

PuerTeacity

In an earlier post, I introduced how Pu’er tea has been so important for its home region in Yunnan province, that the central city in that region decided to change its name from Simao to Pu’er. The text on the stele in the picture says ‘China’s city of tea’.

Spiritual airport

MaotaiAirport

The Wuliangye Group, the producer of Chinese most famous type of baijiu, made headlines a few years ago by proposing to change the name of the airport of its home town of Yibin to Wuliangye Airport. This has so far remained an idea.

Its competitor Maotai Group in Guizhou has been more successful. Renhuai county will soon open its Maotai Airport. The picture shows the ceremony celebrating the start of the construction.

Let’s hope that the pilots departing from it will not sample too much of this local specialty.

This post is still relatively short, but I intend to add examples as they occur.

Eurasia Consult Food knows the Chinese food industry since 1985. Follow us on Twitter.

Eurasia Consult Consulting can help you embed your business in Chinese society.

Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975.

 

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China’s top food brands in 2014

The following list shows the food brands among the latest release of China’s top 100 brands.

The list includes the brand, the product type, the value of brand in USD mn and the change of the value compared to 2013.

 

Brand industry value(usd mio) Change(%)
Moutai distilled 10,504 -19
Yili dairy 5,068 86
Mengniu dairy 3,105 30
Shuanghui meat 2,679 60
Yanghe distilled 1,977 new
Tsingdao beer 1,921 40
Changyu wine 1,443 -53
Bright dairy 1,012 42
Wuliangye distilled 937 -66
Luzhou Laojiao distilled 923 new
Snow Beer beer 764 13
Harbin Beer beer 720 20
Yanjing Beer beer 518 -11
Fulinmen cooking oil 450 14
Gujing Gongjiu distilled 430 new
Sanquan snack food 308 New
Swellfun distilled 268 New
Quanjude peking duck 259 New
Pearl River beer 234 New
Yonghe King fast food 152 New
Yashili dairy 132 New

 

12 of these 21 brands are alcoholic beverages, making it by far the largest industry. The next industry is dairy, with 4 brands.

A salient feature of this list is the high number of newcomers; 9 out of 21. This seems to indicate that the Chinese food industry is highly volatile. This is further corroborated by the relatively high decrease of value of some of the brands. All of these are alcoholic beverages, and the reason for the decrease is very well known. The new central government has started a serious attack on spending of public funds by state owned enterprises. Famous distilled liquors like Moutai and Wuliangye were the first to suffer from that campaign. Interestingly, one of the newcomers, Swellfun (a.k.a. Shuijingfang) is owned by a foreign investor: Diaogeo.

Yanjing Beer (Beijing) also seems to fall victim to this austerity drive. However, Qingdao (Shandong), China’s oldest beer brand, is still growing. There must be different things going on in the Chinese brewing industry.

In that respect, we also see two smaller brands of distilled liquor appearing in this year’s list for the first time.

So apart from the slowing down of feasting on the State’s account, we also see a number of established brands having a hard time competing with newcomers, which are perhaps led by better educated managers.

Also see the food companies in the list of the 2014 China Top 500 Enterprises. The companies in that list are ranked according to turnover of 2013, while the above list is based on estimated brand value.

Eurasia Consult Food knows the Chinese food industry since 1985. Follow us on Twitter.

Eurasia Consult Consulting can help you embed your business in Chinese society.

Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975.