Mersol & Luo Insights
A Focused View of the Juice Market in Asia
Overview of Key Markets
Mainland China accounts for over 18% of juice sales in Asia; however, on a per capita basis it still punches well below its weight compared to markets like Japan and Korea. This means there’s considerable room for growth as disposable incomes continue to increase among China’s health-conscious buyers.
Cool and refreshing juices are a feature of daily life in Taiwan, where summers are long, hot, and humid. Demand is strong and enjoying steady year-on-year growth even as the market matures. Hidden in this growth is the shift away from juice drinks with high amounts of added sugar to 100% fruit juice beverages.
Hong Kong & Macau
High incomes, hot summers, and a health-oriented outlook among young consumers in Hong Kong and Macau are supporting continues growth in these markets even as underlying demographic trends shift. Tourism and international business further support demand.
In many ways similar to Hong Kong and Macau, Singapore’s relatively young population, high disposable incomes, and exposure to internationally available juice options continue to drive strong demand for high-quality 100% juice products, particularly those that are organic or boast health benefits.
Low-cost juices indigenous to Asia account for most sales in this product category; however, interest in and willingness to pay for less common imported juices is growing, particularly among Malaysia’s young consumers and people in larger urban areas generally.
Demand for lesser-known or non-indigenous juice varieties has been strong in high-income markets like Singapore and Hong Kong for decades; however, this trend is finally arriving in major emerging markets like Mainland China and Malaysia where disposable incomes are still rising quickly. Demand for berry juices, in particular, which are known to contain high levels of antioxidants are seeing rapidly increased demand among young, urban consumers with incomes matching upper middle class or above.
Desire for foods that match healthy lifestyles
With so many indigenous fruit juice options to choose from, overall consumption of juices in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other Asian markets has always been high, yet much of this has taken the form of juice drinks with high levels of added sugar. With obesity, diabetes, and heart disease on the rise as diets begin to match those in many wealthy economies, more and more consumers are seeking fruit juices with high health benefits, low sugar, and overall better quality. This trend is strongest among young consumers.
Increased demand for organic juices
Globally, there is a long-term trend in favor of organic foods, which are viewed as more natural, healthful, and safe. In Asia, this trend has arrived later but developing most strongly in markets where food health and safety are ongoing concerns, such as in Mainland China. Although still modest in size, the market for organic juices is lucrative, enjoying double-digit year-on-year growth, and anticipated to continuing to do so at least through 2030.
Mangos are ubiquitous in Asia and, therefore, cheap. They can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores everywhere either as 100% juice beverages or juice drinks with added sugar. Nearly 10% of all juices and juice drinks sold in Mainland China are mango flavored. Sweet and familiar, it suits local tastes and also features heavily in many local dishes. Despite saturation, there is room for innovative brands to shake up the market and take market share from traditional options.
Although well-known in Western markets for decades, vegetable juices have historically been bit players in much of Asia in favor of sweeter options (of with added sugar), such as mango and pineapple. With health concerns increasing at the fore of consumers’ minds when making purchase decisions, vegetables juices are enjoying a steady increase in overall demand. Brands offering ‘super food’ vegetable juices or others with strong pro-health profile can tap into this increased demand.
In most Asian markets, berries are neither widely grown nor, because of the cost of importing, eaten regularly. In line with the general trend in large Asian markets, such as Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, this is changing consumers’ understanding of the health benefits of benefits has increased along with incomes. Despite still accounting for a small percentage of demand, this is changing fast—particularly in China where the trend in favor of pro-health lifestyles is picking up steam.
The Case of Royal Berry
Royal Berry is a large Latvian producer of juices, juice drinks, purees, and other fruit-based products with a focus on high-quality, healthful, and all-natural products. It exports to other EU markets, Australia, the United States, China, and Hong Kong.
Royal Berry is a relatively recent entrant into the Asian market. With the support of Latvian and EU government funding set aside for the purpose of supporting promising businesses within the EU, it was able to invest in expansion into Asia. In partnership with a local consultancy, it chose to enter Mainland China and Hong Kong, employing a dual strategy in order to succeed in two very different markets.
It turned its competitive pricing and extensive product line—both organic and non-organic—to its advantage in each market. In Hong Kong it was able to tap into high demand for high-quality organic juices among wealthy young consumers for which health and wellness trumped cost concerns.
In Mainland China, consumers and the target customer were both different. Chinese consumers want quality but remain price-sensitive. Additionally, most buyers were making purchases for families. Employing a strategy that leveraged its own brand image, competitively priced products, unique offerings, and overall reputation of Latvia as a source of high-quality and safe agricultural products Royal Berry was able to generate strong demand for its juices.
This dual strategy allowed it to make a successful initial entry, develop positive brand awareness among their target customers, and generate a positive—and growing—revenue stream. Royal Berry demonstrated how an unknown brand can, with support and proper strategy, develop a successful business in these markets.
Asia is a huge source of growing demand for juices. Increasing disposable incomes and awareness of imported and overseas options will reinforce this trend.
Market and consumers characteristics differ greatly across different markets. Demand in Mainland China and Malaysia—with similar per capita incomes—remains focused on well-known varieties and lower-priced options, but demand for high-quality, health-focused, and organic options is increasing. Wealthier markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong are already showing strong demand for these higher priced and health-focused options where consumers are less price sensitive and place higher value on fostering a healthy lifestyle.
Although indigenous juices—such as mango and pineapple—have outsized shares of Asia’s juice market, demand for ‘super food’ juices, organics, berries and other juices from outside of the region is growing rapidly.
Overall, the future is bright for juice brands that can offer what an increasing share of these consumers are looking for: healthy, safe, high-quality products that fit into their positive lifestyle image.