New research from Mintel reveals that breakfast is still the under penetrated day-part for foreign fast food outlets.
Only one in five (21%) urban Chinese consumers eat at fast food restaurants in the morning (4am-11am) - as opposed to 75% during lunchtime.
Tan Heng Hong, senior China research analyst at Mintel, said: "Despite having the upper hand in quality, safety and service, foreign fast food still has much work to do in flavour, affordability, health and variety in order to compete more effectively against Chinese fast food, which has the largest share of the fast food sector.
"To increase consumption of foreign fast food, more has to be done to unlock opportunities in the breakfast market where usage is the lowest.”
Mintel’s research has found 86% of respondents have eaten at Chinese fast food restaurants compared to 68% at foreign fast food restaurants in the past year. However, inclusion of local menu items could help bridge this gap.
Mintel’s research finds nearly three quarters (76%) of consumers express an interest to see more fast food options with local flavours on the menu. When asked about what consumers would like to see more of at foreign or Chinese fast food restaurants, the majority of consumers selected the introduction of food with local flavours as their top pick (15%).
China’s foreign fast food sector grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% from 2006-11 to reach a market value of RMB 75.1 billion or 11.8% of the overall fast food sector. Mintel forecasts the sector to increase to RMB 171 billion by 2017, growing by about 95% on the expected value for 2012 or a CAGR of 14.3%.
More women (71%) claim to eat at foreign fast food restaurants than men (66%). This is due to the fact that their dining out occasions are social ones, with children and friends, colleagues and other family members present.
“Finally it seems that when it comes to what is being eaten, women are more adventurous than men. Indeed, 75% of Chinese consumers overall claim to be willing to try new fast food products - this amounts to 72% of men versus 79% of women.