The savory bakery category includes crisp breads, rusks, soda crackers, cream crackers, cheese crackers, savory or unflavored rice cakes, cracker dip products and any other cracker type product. Savory bakery in China and Southeast Asia – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – is growing slowly in value and volume amid declining NPD overall. China leads the region in NPD but Indonesia shows strongest NPD growth, at eight percent CAGR, 2014-2018.
The food industry in the region is changing, with alternate baked grain products such as breads and rice-based snacks growing rapidly and taking market share away from savory bakery. Still, the category demonstrates bright spots for future growth.
- Value is growing better than volume, 4 percent compared to 2.4 percent CAGR, 2010-2022F. Companies are introducing value-added products as a way to increase profits and deliver the variety and novelty that consumers desire.
- Companies are expanding into new flavors that reflect western influences. Among the top 10 flavors in 2018 were chive, chili, BBQ, and onion, four flavors more common in western regions than in Southeast Asia. Other top flavors from both 2018 and 2014 include the western-inspired flavors of cheese, cheddar cheese, and red tomato.
Seaweed continues to be popular in China and Southeast Asia; its popularity has spread to western regions of the world also. Chicken and shrimp, once popular flavors in savory bakery products in Southeast Asia, no longer appear on the list of top 10 flavors. New products with savory meat flavors and combinations of meat and vegetable flavors target consumers looking for bold flavor experiences.
Below: Uncle Pop Crispy Rice Cakes With Seaweed Flavor (China, Jul 2019), individual packs of crispy rice cakes with seaweed flavor. AFC Beefsteak Crunchy Crackers (Vietnam, Jun 2019), individual packs of beef flavored crunchy crackers. OT Oops Limited Edition Crispy Crackers With Baked Chicken Tomato Flavor (Indonesia, Jun 2019), baked chicken tomato flavor crispy crackers.
‘Tapping into Texture’ is among Innova Market Insights’ top trends for 2020. The filled wafer format that is popular in cookies appeals to the consumer in Southeast Asia who is looking for the texture contrast of crunchy layered with smooth and creamy cheese in a savory bakery snack. Indonesian company Nabati specializes in wafer style savory biscuits flavored with real cheese.
The savory bakery marketplace in Southeast Asia is dominated by multinational Mondelēz International and its combination of global and local brands. Satisfying a range of flavor preferences, it recently launched both TUC Salty Crispy Biscuits with Salted Egg Yolk Crab flavor, a popular flavor in China, and Cheese Wafer Rolls, with a more western style creamy cheese filling.
Below: Richeese Nabati Cheese Cream Wafer (Malaysia, Sep 2019), multipack of individually wrapped cheese cream filled wafers. TUC Salty Crispy Biscuits With Salted Egg Yolk Crab Flavor (China, Sep 2019), individual packs of salty crispy biscuits with salted egg yolk crab flavor. Ritz Cheese Wafer Roll (Thailand, Oct 2018), three ready-to-go packs of wafer rolls with cheese flavored cream filling.
Singaporean company Khong Guan is the most prominent local company with operations across the region, although its NPD is relatively weak compared to Mondelēz. Khong Guan focuses on adding new flavors with local appeal, including shredded beef and seaweed. Hong Kong based Garden Company incorporates Mediterranean flavors into its Garden Plus++ soda crackers with olive and coriander varieties.
Flavors help differentiate savory bakery products, a category where health and clean label claims are uncommon in this region.
Category Insider: Savory Bakery – China & Southeast Asia is a report from Innova Market Insights, which brings together consumer research, market sizes, company analysis and a review of new product trends and activity to demonstrate just how the picture has been changing and to suggest where the future opportunities can be found.