New Zealand government scientists are to start studying what food the Chinese eat and why.
A new research program would look at the factors - including attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles - that motivated Chinese consumers to buy food that improved their health, the government's Food and Plant Research institute said Tuesday.
The research would allow New Zealand companies to create new products that appealed to the market, research leader Roger Harker said.
It would support the development of products with scientifically-validated health and wellness benefits tailored for the Chinese market in the key health areas of metabolic health, gastrointestinal health, immune health and infant nutrition.
The research would look at four aspects of consumer behavior: what health and wellness meant for Chinese consumers; the role of social media and other factors in influencing buying behavior; how to convert intentions into actions when developing new consumption habits; and the profile of the future Asian consumer of New Zealand's health and wellness products.
"Asia, and particularly China, has the potential to be a huge market for New Zealand's future food and beverage products," said Harker.
"By building a better understanding of the kinds of products that appeal to the consumer, as well as how they make their purchasing decisions, we can support the development of products in this space that will be viewed as more acceptable in these markets," he said.
"The role of social media and online purchasing of food is becoming part of everyday life for younger Chinese consumers. Successful companies are trusted and experts at listening and communicating with consumers via these networks - we need to constantly improve our ability to gather consumer insights from this online community."
The research was being funded by the government through a program to develop "high value nutrition."