September is right around the corner and that means Mooncake Mania in China.
Back in 2010, I wrote a post about China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, which is also the time of year for giving and eating mooncakes. At the time, I had no idea that Haagen-Dazs sold the most sought after modern version of this Chinese traditional treat.
My wife learned from a friend in China of the popularity of Haagen-Dazs and mentioned the mooncakes, so I did some scooping for this post. Mooncakes are traditional gifts to friends, family and clients during the Chinese mid-autumn festival, and Haagen-Dazs’s Mooncakes have shown a 25% annual growth in sales since they were first introduced in 1997 and represented 28% of Haagen-Dazs’s revenue every year!
Fast forward to 2015 and over 50% of the Chinese people have now heard of Haagen-Dazs—that’s more than 650 million people or more than twice the population of the United States.
Mooncake Mania for China’s September Holiday
Kai Ryssdal reported for American Public Media’s Marketplace that China’s mid-Autumn Festival and tradition of eating mooncakes has become an underground business possibly worth billions.
Marketplace’s Shanghai correspondent Rob Schmitz says mooncakes carry about a thousand calories and most of the cakes bought are gifts as a way to show respect to business partners and people you want to be close to.
Imagine the size of the market—more than 1.3 billion people, which explains why Starbucks, Nestle and Dairy Queen got into the business of selling mooncakes in China too. In fact, Starbucks offers espresso and hazelnut mooncakes; Godiva promotes a chocolate variety; Häagen-Dazs features cookies-and-cream ice cream mooncakes.
2009 Haagen-Dazs Chinese Mooncake Commercial
Industry groups estimate that mooncakes bring in $2 billion in annual sales in greater China, accounting for 200,000 metric tons (about 220,400 tons) of production each season. – New York Times
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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