Instead of creamy white “stuff” in the centre, a glob of gum was sandwiched neatly between a pair of Oreo’s iconic dark chocolate biscuits.
“The taste was ok. The problem was that you could not swallow it,” said Ms. Wang, a Kraft food scientist with two decades of experience in the biscuit industry.
Investment may be powering the Chinese economy but experiments like the gum cookie – which, for better or worse, never made it to store shelves – are a reminder that consumption is rising sharply. That means it is vital for food companies to get the right products into the market, particularly with demand dimming in the United States and Europe.
A survey published earlier this year by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, the largest foreign trade group in China, showed that for about three in five of its member companies, the top priority here is producing or sourcing goods in China for the Chinese market.
“The stereotype is we’re exporting jobs and everything’s being manufactured with cheap labour and sent back, and that’s not the case at all,” said Kent Kedl, managing director of China and North Asia for the consultancy Control Risks, which collaborated on the AmCham survey.