Instant meals, single-person consumption, place of origin, and cross-category products (i.e. products made from collaboration with non-food and beverage brands) were the other four key trends.
The e-commerce giant made the forecast based on the consumption statistics from last year, where the middle-aged, elderly, females, and consumers born post-1995 were core spenders.
As a whole, the market size of health-nourishing foods expanded at a faster rate than the general food and beverage products for the last two years.
Last year, the middle-aged and elderly were the biggest spenders on health foods, especially on adult milk powder.
In particular, the sales of goat milk powder have grown steadily from 2017 to last year, while camel milk powder saw a sudden popularity surge last year.
On the other hand, the growth rate of health foods consumption was largest amongst females.
In terms of beauty-from-within and health-nourishing products, females spent the most on fish maw.
Collagen and edible bird’s nest beverages were the two fast-growing categories in terms of market size growth.
Amongst the post-95s, sesame pills were in demand for alleviating hair loss.
Last year, the consumption rate of sesame pill grew by 272% for this group of consumers, while the growth rate was only 60% in general.
Besides providing a snapshot across different age groups, the report also zoomed into the consumption patterns of two niche categories, including food for children and sports nutrition.
1. Mothers’ choice
Mothers were most interested in products that contain dietary fibre for promoting digestive health when purchasing products for their children.
Other demands include 1) supplementation of micronutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium, 2) contain probiotics for digestive health, 3) boost immunity, and 4) aid cognitive development.
The survey conducted by Tmall also revealed the top three considerations that mothers make when purchasing snacks for their children.
They are 1) natural, additive-free/ less additives, 2) the nutrient composition, and 3) the product’s shelf life.
2. Meal replacement
Meal replacements have become the go-to option for weight loss and muscle-building.
Miss Zero, a Beijing-based biotech firm specialising in meal replacement products, has become a well-known brand as a result.
According to Tmall, 220,000 boxes of the brand’s flagship ‘Three-day calorie-burning meal’ were sold during the double 11 and double 12 shopping festivals, earning the top spot on Tmall’s fat-reducing meal replacement category.
Energy bars from brands such as BE-KIND, Good Bar, and Huang Lao Wu were also popular items for gym-goers for fat-reducing and muscle growth.
Plant protein beverages saw phenomenal growth.
Last year, the market size of plant protein beverages on Tmall had skyrocketed by over tenfold. Market leading brands included Vitasoy, Oatly, and Dou Ben Dou.