Riddet Institute Study Unveils Diversity in Milk Consumption Within China

Riddet Institute Study Unveils Diversity in Milk Consumption Within China

We know better than anyone that milk has long been admired for its nutritional benefits, serving as a cornerstone in diets worldwide. In China, the evolving dietary landscape continues to witness a remarkable shift, particularly among its aging population. A recent study from the Riddet Institute that has been making headlines sheds light on this transformation, revealing the complex patterns of milk consumption across different regions, also offering insights into the changing standard of health and nutrition in China. When asked about the why in regard to drinking milk, 80-90% of survey participants claimed health and nutrition as the primary reason across each city.

At the heart of their findings is the predominant choice for cow’s milk due to it’s nutritional value and accessibility. Older adults prefer consuming milk at home, primarily during breakfast times, a practice intertwined with family routines and the pursuit of health.

One of the study’s most compelling findings is the regional differences in milk consumption, from the type of milk favored to the preferred fat content and brand choices (an example used in the study was that  low-fat milk, particularly popular in Guangzhou, could be associated with the general lower fat content of the regional Cantonese cuisine). This variation is not a matter of taste but hints at the broader socio-economic and cultural factors influencing dietary preferences.

The study emphasizes milk’s role in promoting health and nutrition among China’s aging population. Yet, it also highlights the evolving consumer preferences and signals a shift towards more personalized dietary choices. This change is not only reshaping the dairy market in China but also offers valuable lessons on the importance of understanding regional preferences in tailoring health and nutrition strategies. It is interesting to note that the study mentioned the impact of gender and age was mostly noticeable in the different ways milk was consumed, rather than the overall amount. Women and younger people tended to use milk in a variety of ways, not just drinking it straight. For example, they were more likely to be regular drinkers of milk tea and were more open to combining milk with Western-style foods, compared to older and male participants. This suggests that younger and female participants have a more diverse approach to consuming milk, which is something to consider for dairy brands marketing their product in China.

This study not only calls attention to the diversity in dietary patterns but also opens up the conversation for a deeper understanding of the socio-cultural dynamics shaping China’s dietary future, supported by the presence of family-related sociological well-being messages on the pack of milk products targeting older adults. It is clear that there are many new avenues for market segmentation and product innovation in the future that will need to cater to the variation in preferences of different regions. While the entire study is linked above, below you will find three fascinating tables that continue to help paint the demand landscape in China with domestic brands taking on the lions share of consumption preferences in each of these top cities: