Apr 14, 2022|

Eight Consumption Trends of Staple Foods in China


by Vivian Yang

In the past three years, JD’s omni-channel supermarket JD Super has seen robust sales growth of staple foods including the categories of rice, flour, and other grains by 52%, cooking oil by 29%, dry food by 65%, and condiments by 49% (CAGR 2019-2021), according to a report released by JD Super on April 8th in conjunction with its annual promotion of staple foods that will last from April 8 to 21.

The report, based on JD Super’s shopping data from 2019 to 2021, identified Chinese consumers’ eight consumption trends of these product categories as the following:

  1. Sales of staple foods with low fat, low sugar and of grain variety increased significantly on JD Super in 2021, with corn, brown rice, low/zero fat sauce and zero-calorie sweetener growing by 184%, 120%, 92%, and 85% respectively year on year.
  2. Organic foods rise in popularity. The volume of certified organic products on JD Super increased 110% and sales grew by 78% YoY in 2021.
  3. Agricultural products with the national geographical indication(GI) are favored by Chinese consumers. For example, Wuchang rice, Ningxia wolfberries, Gutian mushrooms, and Shanxi aged vinegar have seen sales growth by 105%, 78%, 60%, and 56% year on year.
  4. New instant food categories such as dried mushrooms soup packs, freeze-dried white fungus, wolfberry syrup, and vacuum-sealed fresh corns are becoming trendy. Sales of dried mushrooms soup packs surged by 18 times in the past year.
  5. New types of cooking oil are gaining traction. Avocado oil grew at a GAGR rate of 302%, making it the fastest-growing oil product on JD Super; safflower seed oil increased by 70%, and rice oil by 61% year on year.
  6. In terms of consumption trends geographically, people from China’s Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Liaoning provinces consumed the most cooking oil in the year 2021, with Liaoning being the fastest-growing province in spending on this category. Additionally, Guangdong, Beijing, and Jiangsu are the top three provincial-level regions that showed the highest demand of staple foods.
  7. There’s the great market potential for these categories in the lower-tier cities (third to fifth-tier cities) in China as the report data revealed strong demand momentum in both staple foods and condiments in these areas.
  8. Household users are the main spenders on staple foods, for those living in cities and in smaller towns, their consumption of staple foods accounts for 22% and 19% respectively of their overall yearly expenditures. It is also noteworthy that the percentage of consumers over the age of 46 in the category has grown to 12%, indicating that online shopping has become a main channel for them to buy daily necessities.

Thanks to the quality and healthy product varieties that JD Super consistently offers to Chinese consumers, it has become China’s leading omni-channel supermarket and the go-to place for more and more people to buy staple foods and other groceries. According to Nuo Xiao, general manager of the department of staple foods, oil and condiments of JD Super, the company plays an active role in stabilizing China’s food market and acts as an effective promoter and incubator for brands and products.