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Health Trend – Western Material, Chinese Pastries

12th October 2020

Hongyu (Erin) Ren, Market Fellow China, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board

With an attractive appearance, pastries are an important part of celebration of Chinese holiday, like Chinese New Year, Mid-autumn Festival. Every family will buy at least one box of pastries and the delicate bake is also a popular gift, during the traditional holiday.

However, the high content of sugar and oil keeps the young generation away from pastries, who are more concerned with health. Especially, as the oil used in Chinese pastries is lard, which lead pastries to be a decoration on the table in traditional holiday, but not a part of consumers’ daily diet.

With the regard of health, the sales volume of dairy product has rocketed in post - COVID 19.  For example, COVID -19 add extra $1.6bn to milk sales in China in 2020. (Cornall, 2020) Additionally, the Chinese government encourage the public to intake more dairy product for enhancing immune systems. (Neo, 2020)

The Chinese pastries chefs combine dairy product and traditional Chinse pastries well.  They use butter to replace the lard, which can taste similar, but healthier. Besides that, the Chinese cultural and natural elements are added into the bake.

The concept ‘West material, Chinese pastries’ attracts a lot of creative private bakeries whose customers are not very sensitive to price, rather they are willing to pay more for attention on health. The creative private bakeries are home kitchens, which target the niche market among acquittance and brand by word-in-mouth. But there are huge volumes of private bakeries in China, who flow to the bake school to improve their skills and get inspiration. But the franchised bakes move slowly in this trend, because they have to keep prices competitive.

According to old experience, how to use cheese and butter is always a big problem for Chinese end users. For example, the highest popularity of mozzarella is in the pizza industry. Therefore, the foodservice is the priority distribution channel for cheese. The below is a comparison between dairy consumption of Chinese, Korean, Japanese. Obviously, there is huge potential in Chinese cheese market. As we know, Japanese and Korean localize the usage of cheese, such as Korean cheese hotpot.

Under different cultural contexts, the western food ingredients can’t match eastern stomachs easily. In the Chinese dairy market, Irish dairy products are followers of the leaders, which means a lower margin for Irish companies. It’s hard to take the lead position, but involving the localization of western food ingredients is an effective way to locate the niche market.


Cornall, J. (2020, 9 29). Retrieved from Dairy Reporter: https://www.dairyreporter.com/Article/2020/09/29/Covid-19-to-add-extra-1.6bn-to-milk-sales-in-China-in-2020

Neo, P. (2020, 7 15). Retrieved from Dairyreporter: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2020/07/15/China-milk-momentum-Growth-in-awareness-attributed-to-public-belief-in-immunity-benefits