Broadening horizons: China’s Yeyo looks to expand reach beyond Tier 1 cities with nationwide premium supermarket launch

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Yeyo has set its sights on consumers in markets beyond its Tier 1 strongholds with a new nationwide launch. ©Yeyo/Marvelous Foods
Yeyo has set its sights on consumers in markets beyond its Tier 1 strongholds with a new nationwide launch. ©Yeyo/Marvelous Foods

Related tags China Coconut Yoghurt

Chinese coconut yoghurt brand Yeyo has set its sights on consumers in markets beyond its Tier 1 strongholds with a new nationwide launch in Ole, the largest premium supermarket chain in the country.

Yeyo​ lays claim to being the first coconut yoghurt specialist brand in China, and is best known for its lifestyle-focused collaborations with big brands such as Nike and Lululemon.

The firm has strong presence in the China Tier 1 cities such as Shanghai due to the presence of many of its key target consumer audience i.e. fitness-loving Gen-Y females between age 25 to 35, but it has now set its sights beyond these cities with a stronger offline presence.

“This is not Yeyo’s first offline launch as we have presence in stores such as Aldi, CitySuper and BHG, but these were more Shanghai-focused, and the launch in Ole is definitely on a larger scale as it is the first that is rolling out nationwide,”​ Yeyo brand owner Marvelous Foods’ Founder and CEO Christiana Zhu told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“This is crucial for us as we are looking to expand beyond Tier 1 cities now, particularly with consumers in Tier 2 cities now having increased disposable income and purchasing ability alongside a demand for more international products.

“The maturity in these cities is rapidly catching up, and plant-based milk has also been laying a solid foundation in terms of consumer education here, so moving to products such as plant-based yoghurt is the logical next step.”

Ole is the biggest premium Chinese supermarket chain in the country, with 100 stores spread over 31 cities nationwide.

Yeyo started off with an online presence, launching its first flagship store​ on Tmall in 2021 and working to build the brand significantly from there – and this step-by-step expansion strategy appears to have paid off well for the brand.

“[The Tier 2] markets are ready for new products, but we know that it is not the best idea to just go headlong into it – even with this Ole launch, the plan is not to just blast yoghurts out to the whole country at one shot,”​ she added.

“What we will do is to work closely with them to activate different markets and cities piece by piece, and make sure we enter locales and regions that make sense with a solid plan in place.

“2022 and 2023 were tough for F&B in China, [but] the time is right now post-COVID-19 as offline sales and foodservice demand have come back more solidly, and it has become more important to connect with consumers via experiences and allowing them to directly connect with the food products to purchase these.”

Yeyo will start rolling out in Tier 2 cities such as Suzhou and Hangzhou in the summer season this year around June to August.

China’s carbon dream

In accordance with China’s national carbon neutrality goals, ESG targets are very tangible for food brands and retail outlets such as Ole, which in response has announced plans to set up low-carbon concept stores across the country as well.

“The whole idea of brands telling eco stories and stores being sustainable and carbon neutral is still quite nascent in China, so there is definitely a direction to be built here,”​ she added.

“It’s one of the reasons Ole has been so interested in Yeyo as it really falls in line with what they are trying to establish, and it is also why we are first going to be launching with them in Beijing as that’s where one of the low-carbon concept stores will be situated as well.”

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