Executive Summary

Aug 2018
More cheese types and flavours on supermarket shelves

In Hong Kong, cheese is widely used and flexibly applied to various Western dishes, ranging from pizza, sandwiches and salads and even red wine. With growing Westernised eating habits among Hong Kong consumers, more and more new cheese types and flavours are emerging on supermarket shelves.

Cheese combinations for Western dishes

Despite ongoing innovation, Hong Kong consumers tend to possess very limited knowledge of cheese and they find it hard to distinguish between different types. To erase confusion and stimulate consumption, key players have made strong efforts to educate consumer on cheese and its applications.

Growing popularity of on-the-go cheese snacks

Aside from cooking applications, key players have explored new opportunities for cheese consumption. Cheese snacks, generally in stick or cube form, have gained an increasing market presence because of their portability and positioning as a “healthy snack” option rich in calcium.

Competitive Landscape
Kraft endorses nostalgic brand image

Kraft (Kraft Foods Hong Kong), which claims to be the leader in terms of global sales, is a well-established brand in Hong Kong. Rather than product innovations, Kraft puts more emphasis on branding strategy to bolster consumer bonding.

Anchor drops into cheese

The giant dairy brand Anchor, present in butter and drinking milk products, entered cheese in Hong Kong with Candy Cheese in May 2017. Moreover, it launched new product lines of processed cheese, Lite Processed Cheese and Cheddar Processed Cheese, in January 2018 to strengthen its market presence.

La Vache Qui Rit offers new cheese snacks

As on-the-go lifestyles spread in Hong Kong, La Vache Qui Rit (Unibel) launched new product lines of cheese snacks: Cheese Spread Belcube; and Cheese Dippers with breadsticks. The aim is to offer unique snacking experiences to Hong Kong consumers.

Pursuing healthier and “greener” diets

Hong Kong consumers are opting for healthier daily diets. Among the younger generation, there is an increasing preference for drinking milk products that are more natural, with no preservatives or antibiotics, highly nutritious and environmentally-friendly, with no animal base.

Flavoured milk drinks features taste and packaging promotions

While adhering to rising health trends, key players are focused on creating taste and packaging excitements. Trappist Dairy, for example, regularly launches seasonal flavours, such as guava in summer, ginger in winter and white chocolate for Valentine’s Day.

More intense competition in shelf stable milk

There is also growing competition in shelf stable milk in Hong Kong, with more international brands, such as Seoul Milk, Emmi, Mengniu and Magnolia, occupying more shelf space in supermarkets. Alongside aggressive in-store promotions by existing companies, players present in other dairy categories, such as the condensed milk brand Black & White, also diversified their product portfolios by launching shelf stable milks and heavily promoting them throughout 2018.

Competitive Landscape
Vitasoy pushes health trends in soy drinks

Vitasoy International Holdings is the long-standing key player, and owner of several brands, in soy drinks.

Calci-Plus goes beyond health benefits

Another of Vitasoy’s non-refrigerated brands, Calci-Plus, not only aims to provide health benefits, but also storage convenience to Hong Kong consumers. In addition to frequent innovations to Calci-Plus High-Calcium Soy Milk, such as an “advanced formula” to reduce cholesterol levels and offer unsweetened flavours, it has provided innovation through other plant-derived alternatives, such as Calci-Plus Coconut and Almond High-Calcium Healthy Drink.

Dutch Lady appeals to families and children

Royal FrieslandCampina, which has maintained a strong presence in Hong Kong since 1938, was crowned Hong Kong’s Most Valuable Company in 2018. Through Friesland Foods Hong Kong, the key Dutch Lady brand is renowned for its high-quality products and long-term advocacy of the family.

Newly defined as a “healthy snack”

Yoghurt has generally been perceived as a functional product for digestion only; and not commonly seen as a daily consumption option. With the rise in Westernised eating habits and growing health and wellness awareness among Hong Kong consumers, yoghurt received wider acceptance and grew its presence in 2018.

Entrance of fresh milk giants

Given relative category saturation and stable consumption patterns, some drinking milk products players have diversified their product portfolios by entering yoghurt, where they see better prospects in terms of profit. Kowloon Dairy and Trappist Dairy, well-established players in both fresh milk and flavoured milk drinks, launched entirely new product lines in drinking yoghurt and plain yoghurt, respectively, from 2017.

Keener competition in drinking yoghurt

While Yakult is the long-time dominant brand in drinking yoghurt, more international brands increased their shelf presence on supermarket shelves by 2018. Brands like Yoyi C (mainland China), Bifido (Taiwan), Meiji (Japan) and Maeil (South Korea) have increased the pressure on Yakult, which witnessed retail value share losses throughout the review period.

Competitive Landscape
Not just a milk brand

Well-established Kowloon Dairy remained the leading player in fresh milk in 2018. In mid-2017, the company launched another product line by introducing drinking yoghurt in both original and green apple flavours.

Nestlé’s healthy snack positioning

Dairy Farm (Nestlé Hong Kong) initiated “Finally We Got This Healthy Snack!” as a marketing slogan in mid-2017, newly positioning itself as a “healthy snack” option for children. The marketing claims that Dairy Farm contains no preservatives, but has active lactobacillus, which is good-for-digestion.

Yakult Honsha launches a new brand in Hong Kong

In mid-2017, Yakult Honsha introduced another good-for-breakfast drinking yoghurt brand, Joie, especially intended for children in Hong Kong. Adding milk to the original recipe of Yakult, Joie aims to bring new excitement and provide more health-functional ingredients, such as calcium, vitamin D and probiotics.

Coffee whiteners faces challenges

There is growing concern over potential health risks associated with coffee whiteners among Hong Kong consumers. They have started to perceive the “extra ingredients” in coffee whiteners, including sugar, sodium, corn syrup and food colourings to mimic the qualities of milk and cream, as unhealthy, as they can increase trans-fat and calorie counts.

Packaging innovations in plain condensed milk

Plain condensed milk also faced numerous challenges in 2018. Apart from the dropping demand among the growing base of health-conscious consumers, usage of plain condensed milk is still limited to breakfast options, traditional dishes or drinks only.

New applications for other dairy

Alongside packaging innovations, players have pushed different application opportunities for other dairy, both offline and online. Président (Groupe Lactalis), for instance, organised “Mum’s Cooking Competition” in mid-2018, which encouraged participants to share their recipes with its dairy products to win a prize.

Competitive Landscape
Nestlé moves away from Coffee-mate

Nestlé focused more on other coffee-related areas, rather than Coffee-mate in 2018. For example, a focus on all-in-one instant coffee boosted Nescafé, underpinned by its convenience, affordable pricing and wide variety of tastes.

Packaging and marketing support for Eagle

Eagle (Nestlé), the leading condensed milk brand in Hong Kong, has launched several innovations to catch the latest trends. Regarding rising health and wellness awareness, the brand launched two new series of skimmed milk and “light” condensed milk containing less than 1% fat.

Black & White pioneers milk tea trends

Black & White, an evaporated and condensed milk brand, which devotes most of its business to food and beverages, entered the retail channel in 2014. The brand has driven Hong Kong-style milk tea culture for over 70 years.

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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.

Butter and Spreads


Drinking Milk Products

Other Dairy

Yoghurt and Sour Milk Products

Packaged Food in Hong Kong, China - Industry Overview


Packaged food registers consistent growth in 2018
Convenience and on-the-go eating remain major trends
International brands remain unchallenged at the top of packaged food
Internet retailing becomes more important due to demand for niche products
The health and wellness trend set to be a strong influence over the forecast period


Sales to Foodservice
Rising interest in eating out for breakfast supports growth in breakfast cereals and baked goods
Instant noodles continues to register declining foodservice volume sales as sales of frozen noodles boom
COFCO remains at the forefront of the supply of packaged food to the consumer foodservice industry
Consumer Foodservice
Convenience remains the number one priority for Hong Kong’s extremely busy consumers
Premiumisation and healthier eating set to remain major consumer trends
Independent restaurants continue to present greater challenges to chained players


Table 1 Foodservice Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Volume 2013-2018
Table 2 Foodservice Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Volume Growth 2013-2018
Table 3 Forecast Foodservice Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Volume 2018-2023
Table 4 Forecast Foodservice Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Volume Growth 2018-2023


Table 5 Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Volume 2013-2018
Table 6 Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Value 2013-2018
Table 7 Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Volume Growth 2013-2018
Table 8 Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Value Growth 2013-2018
Table 9 GBO Company Shares of Packaged Food: % Value 2014-2018
Table 10 NBO Company Shares of Packaged Food: % Value 2014-2018
Table 11 LBN Brand Shares of Packaged Food: % Value 2015-2018
Table 12 Penetration of Private Label by Category: % Value 2013-2018
Table 13 Distribution of Packaged Food by Format: % Value 2013-2018
Table 14 Distribution of Packaged Food by Format and Category: % Value 2018
Table 15 Forecast Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Volume 2018-2023
Table 16 Forecast Sales of Packaged Food by Category: Value 2018-2023
Table 17 Forecast Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Volume Growth 2018-2023
Table 18 Forecast Sales of Packaged Food by Category: % Value Growth 2018-2023


Summary 1 Research Sources