Potential of the Chinese Prune Juice Market Amidst Heightened Health Consciousness
BY Rita BaoMar 22, 2024
Chinese consumers’ increased focus on health has driven a growing demand for health-focused products. Prunes, rich in sorbitol, xylitol, and dietary fiber, contribute to promoting intestinal peristalsis and improving intestinal microbiota, making prune juice products highly sought after in the Chinese market.

On February 26, 2024, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) announced the cancellation of registration for JERRY&SONS PHARMACEUTICAL INC, who was found to provide false materials during the registration process. GACC also stated the absence of customs declaration records for products from this company. Therefore, consumers are strongly advised not to purchase any beverages from this company, including TiQ Prune Juice, a popular beverage in the Chinese market. 

TiQ Prune Juice

The TiQ Prune Juice was once a big hit on the Chinese live streaming e-commerce. According to Chanmama, a live-streaming data service provider, the total sales volume of TiQ Prune Juice on Douyin exceeded 1.5 million units. The surge of this brand can be attributed to the rising demand for prune juice products in the context of Chinese consumers' heightened health consciousness. While TiQ Prune Juice's non-compliance has brought negative publicity to the prune juice market, industry insiders remain optimistic about future prospects of the market.

Consumers' increased focus on health has driven a growing demand for health-focused products. In the fruit and juice segment, products rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C have won consumers preference. iResearch's report Insights into Chinese NFC Fruit Juice Consumers1 reveals that 91.6% of consumers purchase NFC fruit juice for health benefits, with 57.9% seeking to supplement daily vitamin intake. Among the desired nutritional ingredients, dietary fiber (76.8%) and vitamin C (74.8%) rank the highest. Prunes, rich in sorbitol, xylitol, and dietary fiber, contribute to promoting intestinal peristalsis and improving intestinal microbiota. These benefits address the needs of consumers with irregular dietary habits, sedentary office staff, and pregnant women suffering from constipation, making prune juice products highly sought after.

Chinese Consumer Preference for Nutrients in NFC Juice (2023)

According to Winwin Network, an offline retail data service provider, prune juice products have not yet entered the Top 10 list of room temperature ready-to-drink fruit juice, but they experienced a noticeable increase in both SKUs and market share from January 2022 to November 2023. Besides, data from MKTindex, an online retail data service provider, revealed that prune juice ranked the first among the Top 20 fresh beverages (NFC and FC fruit and vegetable juice) in 2023, surpassing popular beverages such as coconut water, orange juice, and blueberry juice.

The market potential of prune juice has spurred the emergence of brands such as INBAYJAN and Yuanjiuso.2 Take INBAYJAN for instance. Founded in 2016, INBAYJAN has become a dark horse in China's beverage industry with its prune juice offerings. Its flagship product , Probiotic Prune Drink, was sold over 10 million bottles within the first 100 days after its launch. Additionally, during the 2023 Double Eleven E-commerce Shopping Festival, INBAYJAN made its debut in the Top 10 list of best-selling beverage stores at the 7th, surpassing brands like Suntory and Chi Forest.

INBAYJAN prune juice

Traditional beverage enterprises like Huiyuan have also entered the arena by leveraging their production and distribution strengths. Huiyuan, who once faced severe losses, introduced its NFC prune juice in 2021, effectively turning this product into a new growth point. According to MKTindex, the sales of Huiyuan NFC prune juice reached 5.12 million yuan within one month after its launch on Alibaba platforms, contributing to a 597.6% YoY increase in Huiyuan's overall sales on Alibaba platforms.2 Moreover, Huiyuan's performance disclosure showed that revenue of NFC juice products increased by 27% YoY in the first seven months of 2022, with most contributions from prune juice and sea-buckthorn juice. In 2024, Huiyuan has launched NFC prune juice exclusively available in offline channels, aiming to capture a larger share in the offline market.

Huiyuan prune juice

Furthermore, some overseas brands like Mom's Garden from Italy and Sunsweet from the US have entered the Chinese prune juice market through CBEC channels, and have gained a foothold.

Overseas juice brands

The rising demand for prune juice has also prompted dairy brands to introduce prune-flavored options, such as Blueglass' prune-flavored yogurt and Lightup's prune-flavored dairy beverage. Additionally, dried prunes and prunes preserves also benefit from prune juice' growth momentum. For example, Liuliumei's prune preserves achieved a revenue of over 200 million yuan in 2022, and was expected to exceed 300 million yuan in 2023, capturing a market share of over 40%.

other prune categories

In conclusion, the soaring popularity of prune juice is a result of the burgeoning trend of health-focused consumption in the food and beverage market. However, it's undeniable that the prune industry faces some challenges. Illegal practices, such as the addition of laxatives to enhance product efficacy, tarnish the industry's reputation. The TiQ Prune Juice incident alerts brands that compliance has always been a keyword in their development path. 

 Disclaimer: All images used in the article are from the Internet. 

Rita Bao
ChemLinked Regulatory Analyst
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