March 14, 2006

Consumer Behavior: The belly of snacking is only a skewer away

Filed under: Marketing — Administrator @ 4:39 pm

Guangdong Zhu, or in English “Guangdong Boil”, might be the most popular snack food in Shanghai, if not in China, and can be found in almost every single convenience store in Shanghai. Essentially, Guangdong Zhu is a bucket of boiling liquid filled with skewers of tofu, fish balls and vegetable like substances.

From a foreigner’s perspective (non-Asian) I wanted to know not only what made Guangdong Zhu such an attractive snack food, but also if there was a big difference in quality from store to store. And so, today, I decided to interview three receptionists in my office and ask them to tell me a little bit about Guangdong Zhu.

“So, what do you think of Guangdong Zhu?” I asked Vicky, my office receptionist.

“I like it very much…” Vicky responded “…I eat it every day for a snack…”

“And, sometimes Vicky eats it for breakfast, too, tee-hee…” interrupted Carrie, the other receptionist.

“Vicky, if you had a choice between potato chips, cookies or fish balls on a stick, which one would you go for? I asked.

“…I feel potato chips and cookies are not healthy…I would pick fish balls on a stick…” she replied.

“But what about all the oil they cook the fish balls in? Or the fact that it doesn’t look so clean…I mean there is no cover on the Guangdong Zhu and it sits next to the open door…what if someone sneezes in it…” this time I was asking Carrie who had been nodding in agreement.

Carrie replied, “…sometime we eat dirtier food…this is clean…and it isn’t oil in the Guangdong Zhu, it is just water…”

“In Hong Kong, we bake cookies at home for a snack, would you make Guangdong Zhu at home for a snack? Or is it just something you eat on the street…” I asked snatching my head.

“…no, just on the street” both girls agreed.

Turning to Selina, the third and final receptionist, I asked “which convenience store has the best Guangdong Zhu?”

Lawson’s, Lawson’s has best Guangdong Zhu…everyone knows this in Shanghai…the food seems healthier,” said Selina

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