In 1996, Kraft (third largest food company in the world after Nestle and PepsiCo) introduced Oreos to China customers. However, the cookie was not well accepted by Chinese there and the sales had been flat. Nine years later, the marketing team finally did a study and found out some interesting findings. The traditional Oreos were too sweet for Chinese too.
The team has developed 20 prototypes of Oreos which are less sweet. After rounds of feedback, Kraft decided to relaunch a reduced-sugar Oreo specifically for China market. Since then, the revenue has doubled and Oreo has become the number one cookie in China. If you look at this from the business perspective, it is indeed a smart move, though 9 years late. While many US companies are still trying to find foreign markets using their existing products in US, Oreo has learned its lesson. So, the successful ones are those who localized their products in global market.
Now, I wonder whether other foods are having too much sugar in them too. A quick check actually confirmed what I said. Breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread and soups are among those foods which are getting sweeter than they used to be 30 years ago. Referring to the chart below, if you look at Kellog’s cereal, the sugar was 9.6 gram (per 100 gram) in 1978 and it has increased to 17 gram in year 2007; the sugar content in wholemeal bread has increased from 2.1 gram in year 1978 to 3.7 gram in year 2007.
Many health watchdogs are encouraging people to cut down on the amount of sodium (salt), but not many are asking food companies to cut down on the use of sugar. Food companies have been using sugar to make up for the lower salt or fat level. May be, you should not blame them. After all, everyone is trying hard to increase sales in the competitive market.
Going back to Chinese Oreo, I am not sure whether the consumers there will slowly upping the sugar eventually. When kids start eating them, their tolerance on sugar may slowly go up to the level same with original Oreo sold in US. The other thing, disliking sweet food does not mean Chinese are healthier. Chinese eat salty, oily and spicy foods and they are not exactly low fat cuisine.
OK, one Oreo, please.
Category: Fitness News
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