Chinese ice creams in shapes and hues ranging from Terracotta Warriors to buildings showcasing China’s culture, and even Qipao — a classic tight-fitting dress — caught people’s fancy at the ongoing Ice Cream China 2021, which opened Monday in north China’s Tianjin Municipality.
“These ice creams have become more than just common products, they are delicate artworks,” said Feng Chunyu, a visitor at the event. I see hundreds of ice creams in different shapes. None of us can resist these cute ‘sweet temptations’ with traditional Chinese elements,” Feng said. “They are not just ‘eye candies’, but also delicious.”
China’s ice cream industry is gaining steam with innovative momentum amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies in the ice cream industry sought new ways by adding traditional Chinese elements to their products.
“Our company designed hundreds of creative molds and ice cream products with traditional Chinese elements, such as ice cream shaped like buildings and figures depicting ancient Chinese culture,” said Han Jun, CEO of Nicole Mold, a silicone mold manufacturer.
“Although many scenic spots were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cooperated with more than 300 of them in China, launching unique ice cream products in the shape of iconic buildings or cultural relics, which attracted tourists,” Han said. The company’s sales saw robust growth in the first nine months of this year, nearly double that of last year, according to Han.
Over 300 companies, including Nicole Mold, gathered at the three-day fair to show their latest innovative products.
“Ice cream is not only a special summer delicacy but meets the aesthetic and social needs of more and more young people in leisure,” said Huang Ying, deputy director of PR of Chicecream, a popular ice cream brand in China.
Chicecream now has a dozen ice cream flavors and comes out with new ones every year to meet fresh demand. “Ice cream flavor is still the most basic requirement. However, Chinese customers pay more attention to health nowadays,” Huang said.
The ice cream branch of Bright Dairy & Food Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading dairy producers, launched an ice cream with the flavor of a time-honored creamy candy brand that caused a stir in the country.
“We also export this ice cream, which has been welcomed by many foreign customers,” said Wang Liuyi, a company employee.
“Ice cream manufacturers are pursuing unique shapes and packaging to meet rising demand, making us produce suitable automatic machines with more special functions,” said Sha Qingtian, General Manager of the Nanjing Puyuan Ice Cream Machinery Manufacturing Company, who attends the fair every year.
“China is a big producer and consumer of ice cream. Though the COVID-19 pandemic affected the ice cream industry, it has encouraged related companies to innovate products and change their sales patterns,” said Zhang Jiukui, president of China Association of Bakery and Confectionery Industry.
With an optimized industrial layout, the ice cream industry enjoys a good development momentum, Zhang said.
According to Zhang, in the first half of 2021, the total output of 127 enterprises above the designated size in the frozen drinks industry reached about 1.35 million tonnes, up 0.46 percent year on year, with the main business income of about 16.96 billion yuan (about 2.63 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 10.96 percent from the same period last year.
“The future of ice cream industry is very promising in China,” Sha said, unique ice cream products will be more attractive to young customers, and this is an opportunity for the entire ice cream industry chain.’