China C-Stores Test Unique Coffee Flavors

The new brews borrow flavors from crabs, eggs and sweet treats for adventurous consumers.

October 19, 2020

BEIJING–Some convenience stores in China are experimenting with unique, creative coffee drinks infused with hints of crabmeat, eggs, popular mooncake fillings and other tastes in a big to attract adventurous young consumers, China Daily reports.

Beijing-based Bianlifeng created the Dazhaxie, or hairy crabs, and salty egg yolks brewed coffee flavors using arabica coffee beans. The $1.78 coffee drinks don’t contain the actual products, just the flavors.

The chain has more than 1,500 locations and recently installed Swiss-made self-serve vending machines so customers can make their brewed coffee in less than a minute. Delivery customers can order via Bianlifeng mobile app or WeChat.

“Coffee sales in business districts or near office buildings have been impressive, with U.S. coffee and latte being the most popular,” Xue Enyuan, executive director of Bianlifeng convenience stores, told China Daily.

There were 126,000 on-premise coffee outlets in China last year, and the market is expected to notch an annual growth rate of 11.9% during the next five years, according to research firm Mintel Group. Li Chen, deputy director for food and beverages at Mintel, said brewed coffee at convenience stores is often sold with food, especially during the morning daypart. Price conscious consumers look to the c-store channel for affordable coffee options.

C-store chains expected to share in the strong growth in the coffee channel include FamilyMart’s ParCafe and Sinopec’s Easy Joy C-store, which recently introduced Easy Joy coffee houses.

“Coffee at convenience stores has grown well in China, boosted by their competitive prices compared with those of traditional coffee chains,” said Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, China Daily reports. “Brewed coffee at convenience stores offers immediate satisfaction for consumers. The new retail model that enables delivery to consumers’ homes or offices from convenience stores is also attractive,” Yu said.

Beijing last year released a plan to boost the total number of chain convenience stores in the city to 6,400 by 2021, according to China Daily.