Ken Donaldson, head of Nestlé's ice cream business unit in China, announced the firm will launch 29 new ice cream products onto the market, targeted at consumers of all ages.
According to an article in yesterday's China Daily Nestlé hopes to attract new consumers with "low-priced products as well as take-home items, which are specially designed for kids, teens and adults."
The daily newspaper cites a report by Sinomonitor International that foreign giants Walls, Nestlé and Meadow Gold boast 30 per cent of the Chinese ice cream market, while the two domestic brands Yili and Mengniu hold 27 per cent.
Global suppliers of flavours, sweeteners, texturants and dairy ingredients (for example,Givaudan, Ajinomoto, Danisco and DMV International) can expect to benefit from news of a high growth ice cream market.
Growing affluence in China is transforming the landscape for food: industry sales took off in the mid 1990s rising from under 100 billion yuan (€9.2bn) in 1991 to well over 400 billion yuan (€37bn) just ten years later.
Driving the market is the increased spending power and changing eating habits of China's 1.3 billion people who are gradually changing the country's food sector, both domestically and in foreign trade.
There has been an increase in per capita income levels, and the consequent increase in disposable incomes has brought about a shift in favour of branded and packaged food.
Changing lifestyles and growing urbanisation in larger cities have also contributed, bringing a wider acceptance of newer products and driving sales for foods like ready meals, pasta and frozen food.
Ingredients players are looking east to prop up tougher markets in Europe and the US. The Asia Pacific region, supported by China, is slated to advance at about 7.3 per cent, year on year, until 2008. This compares to western Europe and the US with 3.7 and 3.3 per cent growth respectively.