Growth in the Chinese economy is having a knock-on effect on eating habits and consumer preferences, as more people are seeking Western style foods that fit in with busy lifestyles. Snack foods, beverages, dairy goods and meat products are recognised as categories that hold particular interest in China.
Robertet, which has its headquarters in the southern French town of Grasse, recently established a new factory in the suburbs of Beijing. The new flavours will be of interest to food and beverage manufacturers developing product for the high-potential Chinese market – whether domestic or multinational.
Honorine Riffard, flavour marketing at Robertet explained to FoodNavigator.com that flavour expectations differ considerably between different countries and regions, and the company aims to deliver variations that meet local preferences.
For instance, in China boiled meat flavours are preferred to roasted flavours that are popular in Europe and the United States. Citrus flavours for China tend to be sweet and zesty, and sweet Muscat grapes are preferred over other varieties. Chinese chocolate tends to be mild and creamy, with notes of vanilla.
The new flavour range, called ‘Made in China’ was developed in Grasse but is manufactured at the factory in Beijing.
Riffard explained that the process involved sampling and tasting Chinese products, and consultation with experts in the Chinese market and consumer tendencies.
The range includes the likes of orange, milk, butter, honey, citrus, coconut, lychee, grape, as well as typical Chinese foods like red bean and green bean, and many others.
Robertet is also renowned for its expertise in tea, which fits in well with the Chinese programme as a number of varieties, such as oolong, Darjeeling and orange pekoe into the Chinese programme.
In addition to Robertet China in Beijing, the company also has premises in Japan, Vietnam, India and Singapore.