Mooncake makers go crossover to boost sales ahead of Mid-Autumn Festival

(People's Daily Online) 16:20, September 28, 2023

As China's traditional Mid-Autumn Festival coincides with the National Day holiday this year, the country's mooncake market is experiencing a major seasonal boom. To fully capitalize on this trend, both newcomers and traditional mooncake producers across the country have been racing to launch innovative products.

Many museums have introduced creative mooncakes featuring their artifacts, successfully meeting consumer demand while piquing interest in museum exhibits.

Workers make mooncakes in a food company in Taizhou city, east China's Jiangsu Province, Sept. 13, 2023. (Photo/Tang Dehong)

The Palace Museum's online store on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao has rolled out mooncakes adorned with motifs inspired by a stamp that belonged to Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Sanxingdui Museum in southwest China's Sichuan Province has launched mooncakes featuring patterns inspired by a bronze mask and a bronze sun wheel, both important cultural relics in the museum.

Suzhou Museum in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, has collaborated with renowned local restaurant Songhelou to create mooncakes inspired by an ancient painting depicting rabbits under the moon.

The National Museum of China has rolled out mooncakes that incorporate motifs such as the moon, mountains, rivers, trees, and the mythical Jade Rabbit, highlight its "moon-lit autumn night” theme.

Other museums, including Nanhai Museum in south China's Hainan Province, Nanjing Museum in Jiangsu Province, Luoyang Museum in central China's Henan Province, and Beijing Art Museum, have also launched creative mooncakes featuring their exhibits.

Crossover collaborations are one of the most popular marketing approaches being used these days, and have been fully utilized as popular brands tap into the country's huge mooncake market.

Chinese ice cream brand Zhong Xue Gao has collaborated with Panda Factory, a Chinese manufacturer of high-quality, lifelike giant panda plush toys, to launch giant panda-themed mooncakes that combine traditional mooncakes and modern ice cream.

Bright Dairy, a leading dairy producer in China, and Chinese liquor brand Luzhou Laojiao have jointly rolled out a mooncake gift set featuring mooncakes with the aroma of liquor, a crisp chocolate crust, and the texture of ice cream.

Famous beverage brands Starbucks, Nayuki, and Luckin Coffee have all launched mooncake products. Nayuki and digital collections app Mints released a mooncake gift set featuring pop singer Jay Chou's album "Fantasy".

Many listed companies have also rolled out mooncakes through crossover collaborations, leading to an influx that has further intensified competition in the market.

Guangzhou Restaurant, an up-scale restaurant in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, saw its revenue from mooncakes, one of its key products, drop by 33.8 percent year on year in the first half of 2023.

"Although this year is believed to be a bumper year for mooncakes, we are cautiously optimistic about the production and sales of mooncakes this year," said Xu Weibing, chairman of the restaurant.

Wufangzhai, a time-honored Zongzi brand referred to as "the No. 1 Zongzi brand listed on the Chinese A-share market", also faces plummeting mooncake sales this year. In the first half of this year, the company's mooncake sales revenue was 10,200 yuan ($1,396.3), a significant drop from 134,900 yuan during the same period last year.

China has over 21,000 mooncake enterprises. With an annual output value exceeding 10 billion yuan, the country's mooncake industry faces fierce competition, according to industry insiders.

In order to establish better connections and interactions with the younger generation, many brands have launched innovative mooncakes through crossover collaboration, said Zhu Danpeng, an analyst in China's food industry.

The mooncake market remains highly profitable, which is why many companies are eager to get a slice of the pie, according to Zhu.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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