Thursday, January 24, 2013

Monin Syrup success in China: analysis

As you know I opened a restaurant in China in 2007. With Alain we opened another restaurant.
These knowledge helped me to understand the evolution of tastes and products such as coffee or syrup.
Monin celebrates its 100 years!

I want to tell you about Monin Syrup. The brand celebrates its 100 years and I like this brand a lot:

  • The company originates from "Region Centre". I like this Region
  • The funding father, George Monin has the same surname as I!
  • Monin offers very high quality syrups
  • Monin in China was able to create and innovate: adapt its products to different tastes

From 2007 to 2012, Monin definitively established itself in China as a quality brand a reference! 

An they deserve it! 
All Chinese people know Monin as a great quality brand. Back in 2007 very few knew this brand! (To my knowledge only Castel was able to accomplish this same feast in a few years)

Monin= quality
At the restaurant I tried and compared everything! 
I bought Monin Syrups then Chinese syups and other foreign syrups: Italians, french. The comparison is striking. Monin taste is much above any other competitor.
What strikes me is that quality doesn't necesseraly represents price! You have some low quality Chinese product at 60, 70 rmb the bottle. Monin Syrup cost 115rmb the bottle (90rmb for a small size). But the italian syrups cost 125rmb and another french brand costs 95rmb.
In term of taste they are far behind Monin Syrup.

Monin= suitable products for Chinese customers

Who uses Monin syrup in France?
Professionnal customers, bars, hotels, night clubs...
Some individuals who buy syrup in the supermarkets. But in France the most important market is by far the professionnal market: bar environement, cocktails...

It is not at all the same in China and Monin understood this!
  • In China same as in France, we have a professionnal market "disco, bars, hotel, cocktails".
Monin with its high quality products is the leader on this market.
  • In China you also find an important individual market.
Everywhere we have fast food, KFC, Mac Donald, bakeries, street shops. We find find take away drinks: coffee, milk tea, smoothies, milkshakes with Tapioca pearl. These drinks are made with syrups or powders.

Monin established on this market:

  • Monin prices are affordable. Monin is not the more expensive. Back in 2007 syrups were imported and made in France. Today Monin syrups are made in China!
  • Monin has higher quality products. Just try different brand coco syrups and you will know!
  • Monin offers new flavors, training via its website, PLV given to distributors
  • Monin offers toppings (we find toppings suchs as banana, manguo, caramel... thus you don't need to peel real fruits for instance).
  • Monin is french and a foreign brand, therefore better in Chinese eyes
  • As compare to competition, Monin is healthy: sugar and fruits. Some competitor syrups have many unealthy ingredients, used to lower the cost...
In order to offer Monin Syrups while keeping a fair cost, many shops add concentrate sugar syrup to Monin Syrup. This is a great tip and allows to cust down costs.

Monin in China targets successfuly a wealthy professionnal market, bars and hotels but also a individual "mass market" with drinks at 7, 11 rmb: coffe caramel Monin, Litchi Banana, Manguo etc... You have multiply flavors to suit Chinese tastes.

How does Monin turn over in China split? I am not sure. Is the most important the professionnal market or the individual street drinks market?
And who are the opinion leaders? Can Monin keep up its position on both markets as these markets don't share the same needs. But both markets are important for revenu, image, notority...

Beware the syrup market is over competitive in China. 
The syrup market is highly attractive and you always have some new products, syrpus, toppings, concentrate yogourts, jely...
Some Chinese competitors offer a few flavours almost as tasty as Monin as at much lower price! 70 or 80 per bottle instead of 115!
Also some Monin products are not suitable to the street customers as they are too expensive: for instance some concentrate syrup is offered at much cheaper price by Chinese competition.

Never forget that Chinese people, no matter how wealthy will always care money! 

Can Monin brand be enough in itself if you have cheaper quality competitors? 
Or maybe Monin will have to give up part of the market: for instance concentrate on the professionnal market. Or develop specific products just for the individual market...
Monin propose une gamme sauce et topping en plus des sirops
Monin offer many different flavours fruits and flowers. Maybe it found its inspiration in the tea shops where you find many dried flowers, fruits.


  1. Thanks for this post! I've been looking for tea flavors like the ones above for so long. Any ideas for a healthy sweetener for them?

    Mischna Ong

    1. Thanks ;-)

      Sorry I am not sure about the sweetener.
      For some drinks I use 1 dose of Monin and 1 to 2 doses of liquid sugar: it keeps the price low. Also it depends if you had milk, fruits...

  2. Hi, can I have your contact? I would like to seek your advice on this Monin products, thanks.