China’s ice cream market is becoming huge; in 2019 this segment already reached 138 billion yuan (~USD 21 billion). A group of new and small ice cream brands has been going viral since 2016. To grab a share of the market, ice cream brands make efforts to upgrade taste and design, co-branding, and using natural ingredients.
Some brands put more work into the designs of the ice cream itself. For instance, Chinccream, a premium ice cream brand, resembles a Chinese roof tile. Since then, “China chic”, China’s native fashion trend, started spreading in the ice cream industry. Not long ago, dairy products giant Yili launched 3D round fan milk ice cream, which was inspired by the Kesi flower and bird round fan.
Co-branding with other brands has also become a common way to introduce new products and attract consumers’ attention. Dongbei Daban launched a “big fishtail” ice cream and co-branded with the hot broadcasted show – The Blue Whisper (与君初相识).
Tea drinks and desserts are naturally complementary to ice cream in China. As a result, many brands borrowed some elements from tea drinks and desserts. Some examples are the “black garlic ice cream” launched by Liubiju, Beijing’s oldest sauce manufacturer, and the pineapple ice cream by Dongbei Daban, both are offering a new tasting experience to consumers. Mengniu’s brand, Suixinguo, has added a “7-layer” ice cream with a chocolate coat wrapping blueberries, chocolate beads, and orange sherbet.
The market demand to improve health values in food has opened a window for brands to upgrade their products. Bright Dairy launched a series of “谷风“(Valley Wind) ice cream that contains dietary fiber, grains, and even traditional natural ingredients such as Goji berries, gray jujube, and mulberry leaf.
There is no doubt the involution in the ice cream industry will continue. To keep abreast with the time, brands can learn from “hot” ice cream success stories and adjust production, marketing, and sales channels.