Free from packaged food, which had been recording positive value growth throughout the earlier years of the review period, registered declining sales in 2020. Dairy products do not have such rigid demand as some of the other areas in free from, and consumers became more price-conscious due to the impact of COVID-19, switching to cheaper packaged products or even unpackaged products.
Plant-based meat manufacturers were accelerating their product and market development in 2021. Beyond Meat’s first local plant was completed and started production in Jiaxing, Jiangsu Province.
Free from allergen products, which is made up entirely of hypoallergenic powder milk formula for babies, have continued to record positive value and volume growth rates. These products enjoy rigid demand and have therefore not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are seen as necessities, with parents usually keen to ensure they have such products in stock at home.
After a marked decline in its sales in 2020, free from dairy milk saw a strong rebound in its performance in 2021, with retail innovation, such as mixed protein products, helping to drive growth. For example, Vitasoy launched mixed protein new product developments, offering Oat + Quinoa and Almond + Macadamia.
Taste and the ability to be used in local dishes will be important factors for plant-based meat products in their struggle to win over Chinese consumers. While plant-based meat producers and investors regard the category as a promising one, acceptance among Chinese consumers still remains relatively limited.
At the end of the review period sales of free from gluten products remained negligible. Wheat forms a huge part of the local diet in China, with a presence in popular products such as noodles as well as most Chinese condiments, including soy, oyster, bean and hoisin sauces.
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This category includes free from gluten, free from lactose, free from allergens, free from dairy and free from meat products. This excludes foods which are certified ‘free’ of a specific product when this is based on use of sterilised equipment.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Food Intolerance research and analysis database.
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