In-depth research of Chinese oat market guides geographical expansion for leading oatmeal company

The client in this project was an agricultural cooperative with a dominant market position in Northern Europe. The client was looking to expand into the Chinese market. As a result, ARC Consulting was approached to conduct research on the Chinese market for oat products to help the client to define their market entry strategy. The client was particularly interested in eight segments:  instant oatmeal, quick cook oatmeal, rolled oatmeal, infant formula, instant oat congee, powder oat drink, oat muesli, and oat granola. The final report included detailed information on major market trends, distribution channels, both online and offline, competitive analysis, etc.

Bowl of oats with strawberries

China is the most populated country in the world and has over the past 30 years enjoyed strong economic growth. As the quality of life has improved, the demand for safe, natural and nutritious food has increased. The health trend offers tremendous opportunities in the food and beverage sector.

However, as the Chinese consumer market poses certain complexity and challenges, ARC Consulting was approached by the client to assist in gaining a better understanding of the Chinese customers before initiating and defining the market penetration plans. The assignment was to collect market data in order to get a clear picture about the current conditions of the Chinese market in terms of distribution channels, customer preferences, and current competitive position.

The project was structured based on the 2 main distribution channels:

  • Offline Supermarket research:
  • ARC Consulting was set to visit the 10 main supermarkets in the Shanghai region (Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Ole, City Shop, Century Mart, New Century Mart, Yuanhua Supermarket, RT-Mart, Vanguard/Tesco, and Metro) and focus on the 8 target segments listed above.
  • Collection of primary data was conducted by taking photographs of the products and recording relevant data of interest like such as price, origin, package, size, and flavor etc.
  • Online shopping platform data analysis:
  • ARC Consulting conducted online research among the primary shopping platforms such as,, and
  • Collection of data was performed on product names, origin, packaging, flavors, size, additives and pricing.
  • In addition, samples were gathered and shared with the customer: which were purchased from,,, direct-sales shops and supermarkets.
  • The criteria for offline supermarkets were decided to be only brands that were on the shelves of at least 2 outlets.

ARC Consulting provided a comprehensive and detailed analysis of each of the 8 selected segments to the client. For each of the segments the report outlined detailed information on:

  • General Segment Description
  • Competitive Information: competitor, number of flavors, sales channels (online or offline) and product origin, logos, price comparison per sales channel
  • An analysis of most frequently found packaging designs (can, bag, pail, or individual packs)
  • An analysis of most frequently found package sizes by weight
  • An analysis of different flavor offering to the consumers (ie. Original, red beans, nuts, fruits, etc…)
  • An analysis of additives and organic content (ie. Organic, calcium, vitamin D, iron, etc…)
  • Pictures of sample products in the market

Based on clear and fact-based information, our customer was able to better understand the market for oat products in China and define their market penetration strategy.

  • A detailed and updated market report of both offline and online retail and distribution channels in China.
  • Market knowledge based on collected quantitative and qualitative data.
  • An overview of the development and trends on the Chinese market for the 8 selected market segments.
  • Up-to-date knowledge and market information for fact-based business decisions on strategy and development.
  • Guidance on market entry and strategy for both offline and online distribution channels in China’s various regions.

Some sample slides from the report:

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