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FrieslandCampina Kievit releases findings on consumer preferences around the perfect milk tea
FrieslandCampina Kievit, one of the leading global manufacturers of beverage and food ingredients, published results of a study that analyses the perfect milk teas as well as current offerings in the milk tea segment across Greater China. The study, part of a large-scale effort to provide customers with sensory data on the ever-growing Chinese beverage market, looks at what is inside milk tea and identifies individual elements that make up the perfect, consumer-preferred milk tea in different regions. With these findings, FrieslandCampina Kievit customers have access to data on key elements to combine, at the appropriate intensities, to create the perfect milk tea for their local consumers.
As the world’s leading hot drinks market, specifically when it comes to tea, the importance of the Chinese market cannot be overstated. The driver of that market’s continued growth is the rise of consumer disposable income. This demand is unlikely to slow down, with China’s projected market size for the coming few years estimated at well over 10 billion USD.
FrieslandCampina’s research points to several findings to help customers create the perfect milk tea.
Serving a market the size of China with one type of milk tea is not viable. Consumers have different preferences per region. When looking at how consumers experience their ideal taste for milk teas, they can recognise differences in milk teas, but have a harder time identifying which specific elements are dissimilar. To understand the makeup of the ideal milk teas per region, the study broke down individual elements in the most popular milk teas and compared them to products that are currently offered in the market. The result is a perfect harmonisation of completely irresistible flavours.
In the Chengdu region, consumers show a preference for an intense milk taste. However, the current offerings in the market typically consist of a medium milk intensity. This gap presents a clear opportunity for customers to tap into.
Across greater China, black tea is the standard tea base for milk teas. The study shows that other types of tea see polarizing reactions, when using green tea for example. Knowing where it is liked and disliked gives customers the obvious benefit of enabling new milk tea development or adapting current milk tea offerings to match differing consumer tastes.
From the research, it appears that consumers in Chengdu prefer a sweeter taste that ranges from very intense to medium intense. Yet, milk teas with medium intensity sweetness are currently largely what is sold in the market.
Other elements such as the right mouthfeel also make a difference.
FrieslandCampina Kievit’s portfolio for greater China includes unique ingredients that tap into these consumer preferences, examples include the Kievit classic creamer, which Chinese customers have used for nearly fifteen years. Another is the Vana®-Lata FM870, which addresses the clean label trend and the Vana®-Blanca M480, which includes a unique caramel flavour.
Research combined with Kievit’s unique ingredients enables customers to create the perfect Chengdu, Guangzhou and Taiwanese milk teas, among others. Want to find out more? Contact FrieslandCampina Kievit for more information.
FrieslandCampina Kievit will also be present at the Shanghai Hotelex, from 1-4 April 2019. You can find them at Booth N5G52, Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Make an appointment to meet them at the Hotelex via the website to discuss the study and opportunities for your local consumers.
About the study
FrieslandCampina Kievit’s has conducted extensive research in five key regions of greater China: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Taiwan, Wuhan and Shanghai. Over 100 products from multiple leading brands were examined in a variety of sensory focus groups that consisted of consumers on the one hand and in-house and external milk tea experts on the other.
 Passport (2018) Tea in Asia Pacific, p.6
 Passport (2018) Tea in Asia, p.22