The convenience store market in China is rapidly expanding due to the large number of single-person households and an increasing middle class. The food sold in Chinese convenience stores is also becoming more diverse, with many Korean products being offered. Younger people, the main consumers, are familiar with Korean culture, so the demand for Korean products is high.
In line with this trend, MAFRA (the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs) and aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp.) invited managing directors of Chinese convenience stores to consultations with Korean companies. Fifteen major store chains operating in China—such as 7-Eleven, Lawson, Yorker
, 35 supply buyers, and 55 Korean exporters participated in the consultations which focused on instant rice, cup kimchi, seaweed snacks, beverages, and other products popular in convenience stores. The negotiated volume is estimated at US$12.6 million. Reporters of Korea AgraFood also attended the event to hear about sales of Korean food directly from managers of Chinese convenience stores.
1. Zeng Tao of Ministop in Qingdao
“Sales are easy thanks to the convenient packaging and outstanding design”
We work with Japanese distribution companies present in Qingdao, such as Ministop, Jusco, and Avan. We have a relatively high ratio of Japanese products, but these days, we are interested in Korean products not only because of the Korean Wave but also because they are comparable in terms of quality to European products—which are considered high quality products in China—and surpass them in design. Many Korean products sell well in convenience stores because of the packaging. It is natural for consumers to be interested in snacks packed in cups, small bags of nuts, and seaweed snacks that are nicely designed, conveniently packaged, and easy to carry.
2. Wang Peng of Beijing Quanshi Sanluwu in Beijing
“Korean coffee-flavored milk is a great coffee beverage for convenience stores”
My company sells Korean crackers and ice cream in over 350 stores in Beijing. Today, I came to the consultations looking for Korean milk products. Nowadays, high-end coffee products are very popular in Beijing’s convenience stores and Korean coffee-flavored milk can be sold as a premium coffee beverage. It is offered in luxurious packaging and, in contrast to other imported products, uses fresh milk.
3. Liling of 7-Eleven in Shanghai
“Popular among the trendy Chinese”
We already carry Shin Ramyeon and Shrimp Crackers of Nongshim and banana-flavored milk of Binggrae in 131 7-Eleven stores in Shanghai but we would like to find more diverse Korean products to sell. Chinese consumers are very sensitive to the latest trends and Korean products tend to reflect the trends more quickly than other imported products, so when we display Korean products on the shelves, the sales volume tends to increase. Today, I am especially curious about Korean traditional teas such as citron tea or Hallabong tea in disposable packages.
Additional Information/Top 5 Korean Food Products Selected by Management of Chinese Convenience Store Chains
The following products received the most positive reviews from managing directors of Chinese convenience store chains who participated in the consultations.
1. Caramel with Perilla Seed and Red Ginseng by Gongsikpoom
The use of perilla seed and red ginseng in caramel is unusual. Chinese managers especially liked the unique nutty flavor of caramel with perilla seed.
2. Fruit & Vegetable Juice by Grape Village of Gyeongbuk University
This product caught attention of buyers with its strong grape flavor. They also appreciated its packaging, appropriate for convenience stores sales.
3. Dosirak Seaweed by Hanmirae Food
Products in this series received good reviews for a wide range of seasonings added to seaweed. Many buyers inquired about the product with tangy wasabi flavor.
4. Bbororo Crackers by TrueTrading
Thanks to the efficient use of Pororo and Doraemon characters, the product is praised for its design. There are also many positive evaluations of the crispiness of the thin crackers.
5. Cereal Products of Babijoa
Chinese managers pointed out that the processed grain products were convenient to eat anywhere and anytime. They estimate the products can become very popular if Chinese consumers become aware about the health benefits of the embryo buds of rice.
Kim Hyo Jin firstname.lastname@example.org
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