This report provides an overview of premiumisation in snacks, and applies this trend to the context of Southeast Asia. Through the example of the successful salted egg snack phenomenon, this report aims to distil the success of Irvins Salted Egg and The Golden Duck Co by providing a framework to analyse how the performance of these companies and their brands is much more than simply the salted egg flavour that they are known for.
Premiumisation refers to the use of characteristics, traits or features to elevate the consumer perception of a product or service, creating a willingness to pay more. These characteristics can be broken down into three categories – channel, ingredients and packaging. Context is a very large determinant of how premiumisation in snacks will take form, as consumers’ perception of a snack is largely defined by what they have available to them in terms of existing snacks, for example packaged versus unpackaged, how much they earn, and what flavours and textures they prefer. A Southeast Asian consumer’s perception of a snack is likely to be very different from a US consumer’s perception of a snack. Even within Southeast Asia, consumers from different countries, for example Singapore versus Indonesia, might have a very different idea about what a snack is, and how much it should cost.
Furthermore, premiumisation does not simply refer to “more expensive products”. There must be an added value to the product, and consumers need to be able to understand that added value. Consumer education, be it in terms of labelling or advertising, is especially important in Southeast Asia.
The reasons why The Golden Duck Co and Irvins Salted Egg have been able to disrupt the snack market in Singapore, and to expand their presence in Southeast Asia, is much more than just the salted egg flavour. The use of salted egg in Singaporean cuisine is not new, so other factors had to play a part in the success of these brands.
The Golden Duck Co and Irvins Salted Egg were able to sell savoury snacks to both Singaporean consumers and tourists at 2-3 times the price of typical savoury snacks in the market. How were they able to do so? Was it due to the perception of demand that they created by distributing their snacks through exclusive outlets, or was it due to their positioning as premium products?
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