Summer often comes when the freezer is opened.
Take a few mouthfuls of Coke, and then cover your head to feel the "small pain" caused by the coolness. This is the happiness that belongs to summer alone. Before the high-temperature mode was turned on, businesses selling beverages and happiness had already launched fierce competition for the C position on the shelf.
In the past, carbonated sugar water represented by Coca-Cola, with its pungent sweetness, could become a winning general. But as young people's tastes become more and more critical and more complex, the business of bottled beverages has become quite challenging.
Old-brand beverages such as Jianlibao, Wanglaoji, and Nutrition Express have all disappeared from sight, as if they were only worthy of being active in childhood memories. Instead of them as the new favorites of summer, freshly made tea represented by milk tea, as well as tea in packaged beverages and low-sugar and sugar-free carbonated beverages.
Paradoxically, while young people are keen on high-sugar and high-calorie milk tea, they also abandon sweet bottled beverages in favor of sugar-free and low-calorie products.
Have you thought about why this contradiction arises? What influences our choice of drinks? What kind of business is hidden behind this? In this issue, DT is here to uncover the secrets behind these "random" consumer choices.
When we summarize the trend of beverages today, we can find that whether it is packaged tea beverages or carbonated beverages, it seems that only when low-sugar and no-sugar are indicated in the ingredient list can they have a chance to win favor.
Nowadays, the concepts of "sugar quit" and "sugar cut" that are popular on Weibo and Xiaohongshu have enabled some consumers to consciously reduce their sugar intake and regard it as the first step towards health. According to data from the China Business Industry Research Institute, under the trend of health, 80% of Chinese consumers now pay attention to the ingredients of food and beverages, especially the proportion of sugar in beverages.
In a convenience store randomly selected in downtown Shanghai, a considerable amount of tea drinks and mineral water occupy a relatively central position on the shelf.
Nowadays, the tea beverage market, which represents health, is very active, especially in countries with tea drinking habits. The Japanese beverage giant Itoen pointed out in the 2017 financial report that the share of tea beverages at that time exceeded 939 billion yen.
In addition to tea beverages, sugar-free carbonated beverages are also rapidly emerging. Family Mart’s China Commodity Department told DT Finance, “Family’s summer beverage SKU will still be mostly tea drinks and sugar-free carbonated beverages, and will continue to add new products to these two categories this summer.”
除茶饮料外，无糖碳酸饮料也在迅速兴起。 Family Mart中国商品部对DT Finance说：“家庭的夏季饮料SKU仍将主要是茶饮料和无糖碳酸饮料，并将在今年夏天继续为这两个类别添加新产品。”
In the eyes of convenience stores, what replaces the traditional Coke and Sprite in the front line of popularity is the new carbonated drinks, including soda water, fruity sparkling water and other products.
The entire market is emphasizing sugar-free and healthy from top to bottom, so consumers really lose interest in sugar?
In the Douban group "Drinking Research Institute" with 110,000 members, we collected the most popular 157 posts in April. From the headings of these posts, we can see that milk tea and milk are still the most concerned drinks.
Most of the topics about beverages on the Internet also revolve around fresh tea. Internet celebrity brands such as Heytea, Lelecha, and Naixuenocha make high-sugar and high-calorie drinks, and they also create high-profile topics. For example, Succulent Yangmei rushed into the hot search list as soon as it went on the market, and it was still hard to find a cup within a few days after the sale.
And the sugar and calories of a cup of succulent bayberry are comparable to traditional sugar water drinks.
Carbonated sugar water with a bad reputation has often become the first "object of revolution" for consumers to move toward a healthy life. For the composition and sugar content of freshly made tea, young people often show the generosity of "of course choose to forgive TA".
How did this contradictory situation happen? What is the fundamental impact of people's attitudes towards sugar?
Just like the pursuit of healthy meals, it is difficult to determine when we started to be wary of sugar. When the daily diet was gradually surrounded by industrialized foods, people's fear of sugar also began to grow little by little.
Industrial production has made sugar production and consumption increasing wildly, but people are gradually discovering that refined sugar brings many health risks, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Sugar reduction and sugar removal have long been the number one issue considered by diet giants. Coca-Cola launched its first sugar-free product as early as 1982-Diet Coke
But at the same time, traditional carbonated beverages still account for a considerable part of the revenue of large companies. Regarding sugar-free cola, many consumers also questioned that it is not as good as the original cola.
Finding and making better sweeteners is actually not an easy task. Big companies have spared no effort to launch a variety of low-sugar beverages and transform their classic formulas. Is it really out of consumers' health considerations? Is this a good deal?
In the pursuit of health today, low-sugar and sugar-free beverages can almost become the new face of these beverage giants, helping beverage giants continue to consolidate their market position in the following three aspects.
In 2016, Coca-Cola will use the slogan "Open Happiness
This low-sugar, no-sugar strategy is successful. In fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019, the sugar content of Coca-Cola carbonated beverages decreased by 1.7% and 4.0%, respectively, and sales increased by 1.6% and 2.2%.
From 2017 to the present, Coca-Cola's four main product lines have increased in the Asia-Pacific region. The low-glycation strategy makes the carbonated beverage line with the thickest and most powerful family background become the best performer. The benefits of the product line expansion strategy are fully reflected here: the timely introduction of appropriate new products can promote overall sales growth.
Therefore, under the demonstration of large companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the trend of de-saccharification of packaged beverages has swept the world, including the domestic market. When all low-sugar and sugar-free beverages appear on the shelves, it is difficult for beverage manufacturers not to force themselves to keep up with global trends.
This is why in recent years, it is almost difficult for us to see innovations other than low-sugar beverages. The sweet drinks developed by beverage companies more than ten years ago or even decades ago have gradually quieted down under the new wave. Even though the carbonated sugar water represented by the original Coca-Cola still has many fans, it can hardly represent a trend.
When the packaging beverage industry is in full swing, the popularity of ready-made tea has left us with a huge paradox.
In fact, the reason is quite simple.
“If we don’t think about the eating habits of the collector’s ancestors, it’s hard to explain why we can’t resist the sweetest and most oily foods. They lived on the grasslands or in the forest, and high-calorie sweets were very rare. The supply will never exceed demand." Yuval Harari wrote in the book "A Brief History of Mankind".
In fact, it is only the past few decades that human beings completely get rid of hunger. Memories of food shortages and famine remain in the human brain. Therefore, when we are faced with sweet foods that provide high calories like sugar, it is often difficult to resist.
Mintel's research report pointed out that although consumers say they want to eat healthier, only 16% of people are really willing to spend a little more money on natural sugar substitutes when buying things. Compared with granulated sugar, sugar substitutes are more expensive, but their sweetness is often less satisfying than the latter. At the same time, many studies have questioned the health of low-sugar beverages——
Therefore, when we buy low-sugar drinks from convenience stores and supermarkets, we can easily fall into a kind of self-satisfaction of "I drink very healthy", and then turn around and be easily pleased by the freshly made tea with a lot of fruit and sugar. .
This does not seem to be a win-win situation for brands and consumers. We are obsessed with the "health fantasy" brought about by sugar-free, and at the same time, we can't help turning our love for sugar into the purchase of milk tea.
"We didn't think about healthy meals before, because we think everything we eat is healthy." This sentence comes from a respondent in the 2009 documentary "Food Company".
Faced with numerous choices, we don’t seem to be healthier. At the same time, we paid more to read the nutritional composition table, hoping to find products that seem to be healthy. And for unhealthy delicacies that can bring happiness, we are used to paying more for them.
Can you have both health and happiness? This may be the biggest worry of modern people in diet. However, we need to be clear that no matter how beautiful the slogan is, the modern food industry obviously cannot solve this problem for us.
What we should be wary of may not only be sugar.
Author | Ami
Editor | He Shuyao, Xiao Tang
editor | he Shu要, ξ AO tang
Design | Qi Zhen
design | Q i Z很