China's fascination with 'stinky foods'

China's fascination with 'stinky foods'

Travellers to China may be familiar with such regional delicacies as stinky tofu, snail powder and durian. Despite their pungent scent, China’s ‘big 3’ smelly foodstuffs are growing in popularity amongst the younger generation of Chinese consumers, driven in part by their viral status on Chinese social media.

China’s ‘gateway pungent snack’ is seeing renewed interest on social media; the hashtag #durianblindboxchallenge has been shared more than 200 million times on Weibo. Various posts displaying user’s reactions to slicing a fresh durian fruit have gone viral, with brands taking advantage of its revived commercial popularity, leading to innovations such as durian whisky appearing on Tmall.

"81% of Chinese consumers are more willing to pay for food that is ‘visible’ and ‘smellable’."

Demand for snail powder increased significantly in 2020; the food product was searched a record 220 million times on Taobao after going viral on social media. To capture this online traffic, Chinese brand Hi-Po has released ‘lemon and coriander flavoured snail powder’, aimed at the Gen-Z consumer.

In this digital age where ‘experience’ is so demanded, consumer brands should be thinking less about themselves and more about how they line up their propositions with the experiences sought by their consumers. 81% of Chinese consumers are more willing to pay for food that is ‘visible’ and ‘smellable’ – expect to hear more about how innovative brands are speaking to this demand.