In line with most other dairy products, condensed milk and cream both experienced a significant surge of demand in 2020 and 2021 stemming from anti-COVID-19-pandemic home seclusion trends and increased at-home eating. Chinese-style dishes that Hong Kong consumers traditionally cook at home seldom feature cream.
Coffee whiteners saw a slight annual retail volume decline for much of the review period, as consumers increasingly replaced these products with drinking milk products due to these being deemed more natural and healthier. In 2020 and 2021, however, home seclusion forced many office workers into working-from-home, especially those working in multinational service companies that can afford and allow flexible work arrangements.
The foodservice volume decline of condensed milk and cream was much less significant than that of most other dairy products in 2020. This is because the foodservice channels in which they were mainly used were generally buffered from the impact of consumers shifting from foodservice to home eating.
Condensed milk in Hong Kong is largely mature with a consolidated competitive landscape and a limited number of long-established key players. Loyal consumers were mainly Generation X and Baby Boomers who enjoy its sugary taste and often spread condensed milk on bread or enjoy it in hot beverages.
HKTV Mall has been driving rapid growth in grocery e-commerce sales in Hong Kong since 2018. More small-scale suppliers and retailers were encouraged to join and set up a digital store on HKTV Mall.
Other dairy products were traditionally seen as a side ingredient with limited usage, with most consumers having long accepted that condensed milk and coffee whiteners are indulgent cooking ingredients mainly used in very specific applications such as on toast or in beverages. Many consumers were thus fairly indifferent to the healthiness and nutritional content of these products.
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