“The top-selling candy flavours online are not commonly found at foreign in-store competitors. Oatmeal chocolate is the top performer online in China, for example. Chinese manufacturers are adding oatmeal—for health appeal—or black plum—which tastes slightly sour—to sugar and chocolate confectionery products” – Sam Gao, Analyst – Consumer Foods at Rabobank
Data from China’s leading B2C platform Tmall shows sales of oatmeal choco in China in 2012 reached RMB 250 million. Among the leading players are Mai De Hao (麦德好), Jao Qin Jia (好亲家) and Ma Da Jie (马大姐). The unique selling point of oatmeal choco is it is seen as nutrition because it is primarily made from oatmeal and it is moderately sweet, good for those who does not want to consume a sweet snack. It also has a chocolatey taste from the use of either cocoa butter substitute or cocoa butter. Oat choco is targeted at office snacking, leisure and on the go occasions.
Apart from eating on its own, consumers are encouraged to dip and dunk it into milk.
How long the popularity of oatmeal choco will last in China is hard to predict but it is currently well and alive as Singapore-based snack company Kee Wee Hup Kee Food Manufacture (EGO) is exporting similar products into China. The EGO oatmeal choco is made in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, data from China’s Quanzhou city in Fujian province shows the city’s confectionery exports to Malaysia surged 66.33 times in 2014 to USD 11.31 million. The growth is largely attributed to the popularity of oat choco in Malaysia. Exports of oat choco from Quanzhou to Malaysia, the Middle East, Africa and other countries rose by more than 70 times in 2014 to USD 14 million. This shows most of the oat choco ended up in Malaysia. As Malaysian companies start to produce their own oat choco, there will be a time when Malaysians will begin exporting similar products to neighboring countries thus spreading the reach of oat choco and its popularity in the region.