Drinking milk products has been negatively impacted by the measures taken to control COVID-19, although the level of impact varies within the different categories. In terms of shelf stable milk, which is the largest category, sales were hit by the impact on Chinese New Year celebrations.
Fresh milk has fared somewhat better in 2020 due to its healthier image and strong investments being made by leading domestic dairy producers. Key to the future of fresh milk has been the entry of domestic dairy giants Yili, Junlebao and Mengniu at the end of the review period, which should help expand the reach of fresh milk by shortening the supply chain, as well as providing increased competition.
Soy drinks had been benefiting from the long-standing tradition of soy consumption in China, a growing interest in plant-based nutrition and the convenience offered by such products. However, traditional soy drinks produced by regional manufacturers have struggled to maintain sales during COVID-19 due to the typical shelf life of such products being about three days.
Supported by the government drive to encourage greater consumption of dairy products, milk is expected to see a swift recovery in 2021, with growth set to continue throughout the forecast period. Fresh milk is set to continue its strong performance, backed by the recent entry of three domestic dairy giants.
With Yili and Mengniu retaining a stronghold over drinking milk products overall in 2020, it is expected that Bright Dairy & Food Co Ltd’s lead in fresh milk will come under mounting pressure over the forecast period. Bright Dairy looked to address this through new product launches at the end of the review period, such as the upgrading of its super premium fresh milk brand, Zhiyou to Zhiyou Juanshan.
Milk alternatives is expected to struggle over the forecast period with demand increasingly shifting to milk, which is seen as healthier and more nutritious. Milk alternatives is led by Hebei Yangyuan Zhihui Beverage Co Ltd with its Yangyuan range of walnut milk.
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