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Chinese Customers are Angry at the Ice Cream "Assassins" this Summer

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Jul 06,2022

Chongqing- Recently, the heat of the “ice cream assassin” has been the boiling summer in China. When customers pick an ice cream out of the freezer without checking the price, they will be surprised by the money to pay, but too embarrassed to put it back. These high-priced ice creams give some consumers a blow at the checkout, so-called “ice cream assassins”.

What’s the price?

Ice Cream Assassin

Ice cream assassin in the market. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

A junior assassin is ice cream in the range of 10 to 20 yuan. A piece of Zhongjie 1946 black and white half-choice chocolate ice cream sells for about 15 yuan. Its ice cream sticks use natural bamboo sticks, all its unique features. One box of HEYTEA ice cream also sells for 15 yuan since it has a good appearance and rich ingredients.

Everyone should be careful when encountering intermediate ice cream assassins in the price range of 20 to 50 yuan. Dongbei Daban is cheap on its own, but it has cobranded with Chocday and produced a dark chocolate milk ice cream that sells for about 20 yuan. Sofia ice cream, two wafers with ice cream in the middle, the dessert looks like a kid’s food, but it costs 30 yuan. 

The high-end ice cream assassin has no price range. The most expensive one might be a new ice cream of Moutai, priced at 66 yuan, which containsing about 2% of 53-degree Feitian Moutai, one of the most expensive Baijiu, or liquor in China. Asahisuzo, the gold medal winner of the Japan Ice Cream Contestan, sells for 70 yuan. However, it weighs only 80 grams in a box and looks ordinary.

How comes the price?

Why so expensive?

The Italian Bureau of Statistics said that due to the impact of the international environment, the price of sugar, milk, and eggs has increased by 6%, 7%, and 9%, respectively. Korean ice cream brands have repeatedly raised prices in the past two years. In addition, compared with ordinary logistics, the cost of cold chain transportation is 40% to 60% higher, and these costs will eventually be allocated to terminal retail, so the price of ice cream increases in China is inevitable.

Ice Cream Market in China.

Ice Cream Market in China. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

According to the statistics of the China Green Food Association, the market size of the ice cream industry in China in 2021 was about 160 billion yuan (about 23.9 billion U.S. dollars), which doubled from 2015.

With capital advantages and brand awareness, the products of the four leading enterprises, Yili, Mengniu, Nestle, and Wall’s, have covered the whole country. At present, the market share of these four enterprises in ice cream products exceeds 50%. In addition, cutting-edge brands such as Chicecream and Modern have cooperated with new retail to become leading online-consumer companies in China.

In 2020, online sales of ice cream accounted for about 5%, and by 2021, this proportion has risen to 20%. Under the fast development of transportation technology, online sales are prospecting in China too.

How to protect consumers?

On July 1, the Regulations on Clearly Marking Prices and Prohibiting Price Gouging issued by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation came into effect. The “ice cream assassin” will have nowhere to hide. 

The Regulations point out that operators should conspicuously mark the price, clearly indicating the price or service corresponding to the price. The price should be based on the characteristics of goods and services, industries, and regions. 

In addition, the Regulations also require that operators mark or significantly weaken the unfavorable price conditions to consumers or other business operators to trick consumers or other business operators into trading with them. With the implementation of the Regulations, if the store continues to use the previously unclear and complicated compare price list, it will be regarded as a violation and receive fines and other penalties.

Let’s say “No” to “ice cream assassins”, keeping the ice cream industry healthy and orderly.

(Zhu Qinzhuo, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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