CHICAGO — Market research firm The NPD Group has found in a study that breakfast is the foodservice industry driver in the People's Republic of China. Half of all foodservice traffic in China occurs before 9 a.m., according to the study, which was conducted in seven of China's coastal cities and gathered behavioral and attitudinal data through focus groups and consumer diaries.
The study also found that just 13 percent of traffic occurs between the peak lunch hour of noon and 1 p.m., and only 12 percent occurs between the peak dinner hour of 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Steamed or pan-fried buns and soybean milk, a typical morning meal, are the foods Chinese consumers most often purchase to eat away from home, according to the study. Other top foods include fried-dough products, noodles, clay-oven rolls, boiled dumplings, milk, vegetable dishes, soup, and fried rice with meat or vegetables.
NPD found that half of all foodservice visits in China went to a class of restaurants called vendors, which can be small restaurants with counter ordering and tables, shop windows that open street side, or street carts. Twenty percent of purchases occur at fast-food outlets and 16 percent at restaurants. Ten percent occur at retail outlets and just 3 percent at bakeries or coffee shops.
NPD plans to launch its Consumer Reports on Eating Share Trends (CREST), which tracks consumer purchases of prepared meals, snacks and beverages, in China in early 2009. CREST currently tracks consumers' use of commercial foodservice in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, U.K., the United States and Canada.