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Trends Hub: Taobao Maker Festival 2019 Showcases Innovative Chinese Foods

  •   18 Sep 2019
  •    Shine Hu
  •   Post a comment

    The 4th Taobao Maker Festival was unveiled on the eve of Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. As expected, Hangzhou, headquarters and birthplace of Taobao founder Alibaba will again play host to this year’s festival.

    More than 1000 avant-garde products from all over the world are being presented during this offline carnival which lasts 14 days until September 25.

    Science and technology, national heritage, fashion design and creative foods have made this festival a feast for the eyes and for the taste buds.

    Among them, new-to-the-scene foods chock full of innovation have garnered widespread attention amongst Chinese foodies. The veritable smorgasbord of delicacies on offer during the festival has become an annual favorite amongst Chinese and expats alike, many of which travel to Hangzhou from the far reaches of China to get a taste of the future of food in China.

    Plant Based Meat Substitute OmniPork Debuts to Mix Reviews

    OmniPork, a kind of meat substitute produced by Hong Kong company Right Treat made its debut in the mainland. As one of the highlights of this year’s festival, the plant-based meat substitute has attracted a lot of visitors, all of which are willing to stand in long queues to have a taste.

    Photo shows OmniPork, a plant-based meat substitute making its debut in the Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Omnipork uses peas, soybeans, mushrooms and rice to offer consumers a guilt free, tasty experience almost indistinguishable from the real thing but with less cholesterol and saturated fat. However, according to many “ the actual taste and texture are not quite the same as the real meat”.

    Another fan favorite and big hit amongst the thousands of children in attendance is ice cream and this year, there are numerous innovative and creative products on offer. ChemLinked was there to get the scoop on ice cream innovation in China.  

    Maotai liquor, vinegar, soy sauce and even spicy crayfish flavored ice creams are all on offer and unsurprisingly have divided those brave enough to sample them. Maotai, a type of Chinese rice wine known as baijiu (pronounced “buy joe”), is a particularly strong liquor (usually 40% to 60% alcohol) and is considered the national drink of China.

    Photo shows the booth of Maotai liquor flavored ice cream during Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    The combo photo shows the spicy crayfish flavored ice cream(Left) and the vinegar flavored ice cream(Right) on sale during the Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Also catching people’s eyes are chocolates in multiple odd forms. They are made in the form of the human body and a variety of three-dimensional cartoon images. More like miniature works of art than something thoroughly delicious. 

    Photo shows human-shaped chocolates on display during Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Photos shows chocolates in forms of three-dimensional cartoon images during Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Traditional Chinese historical themes feature strongly in this year’s festival. Overtones of the Chinese classic novel, A Dream of Red Mansions adorn the packages of snacks and pastries packed in exquisite antique-style boxes which are another big attraction and big seller.

    Snacks and pastries are packed in exquisite antique-style boxes printed with figures from Chinese classic novel A Dream of Red Mansions during Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Macaron, a kind of lovely, light little French almond meringue cookie, have gone viral in China, initially online and then later in the market. During the festival one booth is offering eye-catching Chinese-style macarons, combing pastries with packaging designed using the Chinese traditional mythological figure Yuelao, the god who unites persons in marriage.

    Photos shows Chinese-style macarons during during Taobao Maker Festival 2019.

    Taobao Maker Festival is a symbol of innovation, imagination and creation. Chinese people, especially those from generation Y (millennials) and Z (95-2010) are particularly receptive to new ideas and innovative foods. The Taobao festival offers food innovators a chance to try out risky new concepts and marketing strategies and gives consumers a chance to expand their palates and their food horizons. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates on this exciting Alibaba festival.


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    Research analyst at ChemLinked, focusing on market and regulatory updates of imported products in China, mainly covering food and cosmetics.

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