Aiming to grab a piece of the NT$3 billion (US$98.26 million) gift market for the Mid-Autumn Festival, local restaurants and convenience stores have launched ranges of mooncake boxes and other gift products ahead of the festival on Sept. 19.
Gourmet Master Co (美食達人), which operates the 85°C (85度C) bakery-and-coffee chain, has been conducting a pre-sale campaign of its mooncake boxes in Taiwan and China since Aug. 9, earlier than any of its competitors.
Gourmet Master launched nine kinds of products for the Taiwanese market this year — the largest number yet — in the hope that its sales next month will set a new company record.
In September last year, the company saw sales reach their highest level ever at NT$1.35 billion, partly driven by mooncake box sales, statistics showed.
“We have targeted year-on-year growth of between 8 percent and 10 percent for mooncakes in Taiwan this year, with a corresponding 20 percent expansion in China,” Gourmet Master public relations and sales director Cathy Chung (鐘靜如) told reporters earlier this month.
ONE MILLION MARK
The company sold between 140,000 and 150,000 boxes of mooncakes in Taiwan last year, with the number sold in China standing at more than 1 million boxes.
This year will mark the first foray into the mooncake box market for Wowprime Corp (王品集團), which operates 14 restaurant chains with about 310 outlets on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Wowprime has launched a mooncake box line under its cafe chain brand Famonn Coffee (曼咖啡), sales of which it has forecast will generate NT$2 million for the company this quarter.
The company has also launched two kinds of meat boxes for the Mid-Autumn Festival via its barbecue restaurant chain Yuanshao (原燒), citing the Taiwanese custom of barbecuing at home during the festival.
“We hope to sell 1,500 meat boxes this year,” Yuanshao vice president John Wu (吳憲政) told reporters.
The nation’s two largest convenience store operators, President Chain Store Corp (PCSC, 統一超商) and Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利商店), are also playing a big role in the competition, with their combined sales usually taking about 10 percent of the gift market during the festival.
FamilyMart has seen pre-sales of its mooncake boxes grow more than 20 percent from a year earlier since it launched the campaign last month, after introducing boxes in cooperation with familiar global restaurant brands, such as Maxim’s Caterers Ltd (美心食品) of Hong Kong, Haagen-Dazs of the US and local French restaurant Maison de la Truffe.
PCSC is peddling its mooncake boxes in cooperation with 17 local bakery brands, with average prices of the products ranging from NT$300 to NT$400.