The overall consumer purchase volume of dairy products in China plummeted by 54% during the worst week of the recent melamine in milk scandal when compared to the same week in 2007, according to recent findings by TNS Worldpanel, which specialises in global consumer purchasing information.
However, despite the initial dramatic response to the news of the melamine contamination, when measured over a period of four weeks up to 3 October, dairy purchases were down only 18% compared to 2007.
Consumers have actively been seeking safer milk and have shifted their purchases from standard to premium products; and from local to international brands, particularly when buying infant milk products.
For international brands, this has led to market share gains, according to TNS Worldpanel, even though prices were increased by an average of 26% and 33% for infant milk.
The largest impact was felt in smaller cities, as many of the local brands that previously had a strong presence had to withdraw their products from the shelves, giving way to international brands.
Dumex, a widely distributed international infant milk brand with factories in China, saw its market share in lower tier cities increase from 9.8% to 20.1%.
Another winner was the local manufacturer, Ausnutria (Aoyou), whose market share shot up from 2.6% in 2007 to 6.8% in the same four-week period in 2008, indicating consumer appreciation for Aoyou sourcing its raw materials from Australia, which it emphasises in its marketing.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019