Nestlé launches premium ice cream brand in China

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ice cream Nestlé

Swiss food maker Nestle has launched the premium ice cream brand
Movenpick on the Chinese market, where it says it sees growing
demand for luxury food products.

The product, to be distributed initially in top hotels and restaurants in Shanghai, will cost 46 yuan for a single serve pot, significantly higher than the cost of ice cream sold in most Chinese retail outlets, which can be as low as 3 yuan. However Nestle says it plans to stake out a position as a leader in China's 'super-premium' ice cream market. "With the rapidly expanding foodservice and retail sectors and the increasing demand for premium food products by Chinese consumers, we believe that the super-premium ice cream category offers a significant long-term business opportunity for Movenpick,"​ said Ken Donaldson, head of the group's ice cream business in China. "There are many consumers, especially in Shanghai and other major metropolitan areas, that are willing to pay more for top quality ice cream,"​ he added. Movenpick ice cream was first created in the early 1960s by Swiss chefs in the kitchens of the famous restaurants of the same name. It became available in retail outlets in the 70's and then became a separate business when Nestle bought the rights to the brand in 2003. Although it is available in more than 30 countries worldwide, it does not yet have a large presence in Asia, launching first in Singapore last year.However the Chinese market is key to Nestle's growth strategy. Although it only has a 9.1 per cent share of the country's ice cream market, according to Chinese market research, it has tended to target the upper end of the market. China experts have warned consumer goods companies to pay attention to the country's rising middle class. A recent report by consultants McKinsey said that by 2011, the lower middle class will include about 290 million people, or about 44 per cent of the urban population, defined as households with annual incomes of RMB25,001 to RMB40,000. A decade later the upper middle class, with annual household incomes of RMB40,001 to RMB100,000 will contain around 520 million people. Nestle is also focusing on innovation, launching more than 20 new products in Beijing in March to keep Chinese consumers interested. It will see rising competition from domestic dairies however looking to grab a share of the premium product market.

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