Tianjin Updates

Unilever seeks to ride boom in sales of condiments

(China Daily)

Updated: 2023-03-29

British consumer goods company Unilever Plc said in the post-COVID era, the domestic catering sector has witnessed a boom, making the company highly confident in the growth potential of its condiment products in the Chinese mainland market, and it plans to continue to increase investment.

Currently, China stands as the largest market globally for Unilever's condiment business. In the past two decades, its condiment sector's compound annual growth rate has been in double digits.

"In China, we mainly focus on businesses related to Chinese food and sales of condiments products in the Chinese fast food category grew the fastest. We will continue to strengthen efforts in local research and development and manufacturing," said Star Chen, chief executive officer of Unilever Food Solutions.

"China's catering pattern is huge. Chinese consumers are pursuing healthier diets in the post-pandemic era and a lot of classic cuisines are back in fashion. Our management team of the category is composed of Chinese people who deeply understand the local cuisines," Chen said.

The company launched a second-phase production line of seasoning sauces at its Tianjin manufacturing site, which went into operation last year. The estimated annual output value of the second line is 740 million yuan ($108 million), and the company's integrated manufacturing site of condiments in Tianjin now stands as the biggest such plant in North Asia.

The site makes products such as chicken sauce, chicken powder, spicy sauce and salad dressings. The total annual output is expected to exceed 80,000 metric tons, the company said.

"China's condiment sector is experiencing rapid growth and new products have been constantly emerging. The category structure has also shifted from single to composite," said Bai Yan, general secretary of the China Condiment Association.

"Chinese consumers have shown a demand for new consumption concepts and brought new challenges to the catering sector. Major industry players should share their experiences in advanced digital R&D and production, and help the whole sector with transformation and upgrading," Bai said.

Meanwhile, the Tianjin plant has been selected as a "lighthouse factory", becoming the first such factory in the condiment sector globally. Lighthouse factories refer to cutting-edge manufacturing sites that are pioneers in sustainable and profitable growth. It was recognized by a global initiative launched by the World Economic Forum and consultancy McKinsey in 2018.

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