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September 21, 2021

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Chinese lap up trendy mooncakes

LIKE most people in China, a mooncake is a must for Wang Qiong for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is usually marked by family reunions, enjoying the full moon and eating the delicacy.

But this year, she decided to bring ice cream mooncakes home from Haagen-Dazs.

“They have a strong sense of design in and out, and I have long wanted to buy some,” Wang said when picking up her reserved mooncakes in a Haagen-Dazs store in Taiyuan, the capital city of north China’s Shanxi Province.

In August, Haagen-Dazs China and France’s Louvre Museum jointly rolled out seven sets of specially designed ice cream mooncakes, featuring iconic museum collections including the Louvre Pyramid and “Mona Lisa,” the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.

The trendy products soon went viral among young Chinese, bringing new dynamics to the traditional mooncake industry in China.

Foreign competition newcomers have sensed the new bonanza for the traditional Chinese festival.

The US fast-food chain Pizza Hut co-launched mooncakes with the Summer Palace, a vast imperial garden of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a popular tourist attraction in Beijing, while Hyatt Hotels Corp teamed with the Shanghai Museum to display ancient Chinese art through the pastry.

Besides, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, the Shanghai Museum, as well as the Chinese snack food chain LYFEN, designed mooncake gift boxes inspired by cultural relics.

The gift box contains elements inspired by world-renowned paintings in the outer package and mooncakes with patterns akin to museum collections.

Notably, common ingredients in Western countries’ kitchens such as oats, black truffles and cheese can also be tasted in the mooncakes, according to LYFEN.

China’s mooncake market is riding high as statistics released by iiMedia Research have suggested that the total sales volume of mooncakes soared from 13.18 billion yuan (US$2.04 billion) in 2015 to about 20.52 billion yuan in 2020. The figure is expected to reach 21.81 billion yuan this year.

Mooncake products that combine traditional and foreign elements and contain fashionable ingredients will continue to top the charts as the most sought-after in the consumption market, according to Zhang Shuai, vice chairman and secretary-general of the China Association Of Bakery & Confectionery Industry.

“The popularity of mooncakes with rich cultural content reflects the changes in Chinese consumers and the continuous upgrade of the country’s consumption structure,” said Zhu Danpeng, a Chinese analyst focusing on the food industry.


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