Don’t talk about “IQ tax” anymore, bird’s nest is a perceptual consumption that everyone needs

In November last year, the sale of Simba bird's nests was a big deal. Speaking of bird's nest, it is actually syrup. It ended up with a "recall of all products sold and one refund for three".

At about the same time, during Double Eleven in 2020, "Xiao Xian Stew" fresh stewed bird's nest with its sales of more than 456 million yuan, set the latest sales record in the bird's nest industry. This is also the first brand in the history of Tmall's food category to exceed 100 million yuan. Studio.

As the saying goes, Feng Shui turns around. Today, Xiaoxiandun has also been fined 200,000 yuan for alleged false propaganda. Compared to its revenue, this is nothing but a drop in the bucket.

▲ Picture from: China Youth Daily

The business of bird's nest is a metaphysics. "Eating bird's nest = paying IQ tax." Many people should agree with this point. The nutrition of bird's nest has been repeatedly questioned. Even the brand of bird's nest cannot prove its efficacy and nutrition in a scientific way. value.

But for so many years, bird's nest has been among the ranks of health supplements, and even a new category of "fresh stewed bird's nest" has appeared in recent years. Xiaoxian stew is one of the representatives.

Iron-struck bird's nest, flowing water brand, watching bird's nest brands come and go, but the myth of bird's nest itself is hard to dispel. Or look back at the bowl of Xiaoxian stew, which is called "a bowl of bird's nest that has affected half of the entertainment industry." You can get a glimpse of it.

The nutritional value of bird's nest? Yes, but about the same as no

Is there any nutrition in bird's nest? To be honest, yes, but it may not be as good as consumers expected.

The "Swift Swallows Bitterness" from the Science Squirrel Society mentioned that dry bird's nest contains about 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates, about 10% water and some minerals. The protein content of bird's nest is very high, but lower than tofu. Skin and pigskin. Moreover, the protein contained in bird's nest is mainly collagen, which is an incomplete protein and lacks essential amino acids required by the human body.

Therefore, in this respect, the nutritional value of bird's nest is far inferior to human-used protein sources such as eggs and ordinary meat, but the price is much more expensive.

There is also a special ingredient in bird's nest-sialic acid. Sialic acid can reach 3%-15% of the dry matter weight of bird's nest. It has been observed in some animal experiments to have a certain health significance, but this is not the same as people who occasionally eat a few mouthfuls of bird's nest. Can't be equal at all. However, bird's nest merchants often use sialic acid and protein as their main selling points in their promotion.

What is the main nutritional value of bird's nest? According to traditional Chinese medicine, bird's nest is a sweet, light, and flat food that can nourish yin and nourish the lungs, nourish body fluid and benefit the stomach, and can regulate lung yin deficiency. However, the widely circulated claim that bird's nest can beautify and nourish the skin is not accurate. People with yin deficiency are more dry. By eating bird's nest to nourish the yin, people's complexion will look better. This may be misleading. It is the reason why bird's nest can beautify the skin.

But the above is just to provide a perspective. I also have an interpretation perspective: consumers who have money to consume bird’s nests often have good economic conditions, less heavy manual labor, and less time in contact with pollution sources and ultraviolet rays. They are in skin care. The investment in such links is relatively large, so the skin condition tends to be better.

In a word, the nutritional value of bird's nest is not as good as many inexpensive foods, and the effect of beauty and beauty is not credible. It is another thing to think that bird's nest has medicinal value, and it is more of a placebo effect.

Compared with arguing about nutrition, the cost-effectiveness of bird's nest is probably the most attacked point. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that "there is plenty of tonic". From the perspective of health preservation, eating a bottle of instant bird's nest every day does not meet the intake requirement of bird's nest. If you eat a few more bottles of instant bird’s nest, the gain is not worth the loss, because the sugar content is not low, and consumers may become obese. Moreover, a 100g bottle of fresh stewed bird's nest with Xiaoxian stew is as high as 279 yuan. It is too luxurious to rely on instant bird's nest to supplement nutrition.

The same status in ancient and modern times

The status of bird's nest as a high-end tonic has not changed, probably due to its historical reasons.

Bird's nest existed as early as the Ming Dynasty. According to legend, after Zheng He went to the west to bring the bird's nest back, the bird's nest was listed as the royal diet. The famous novel "Jin Ping Mei" in the late Ming Dynasty had a description of bird's nest. In the Qing Dynasty, the style of eating bird's nest became more popular. The novel "A Dream of Red Mansions" mentioned bird's nest a lot. Wang Xifeng, Lin Daiyu, Jia Baoyu, and Qin Keqing had all eaten bird's nest.

▲ The 87 version of A Dream of Red Mansions stills. Picture from: Douban

There is no other reason why Cao Xueqin can describe in detail how to eat bird's nest in "A Dream of Red Mansions", it is precisely because of his family background. Restricted by objective factors, the bird's nest at that time could only be eaten by the nobles. Yu Rui from the Qing Dynasty criticized in "Jujube Essays": "It is tacky to write about bird's nest everywhere in food." Tacky is tacky. The wealthy people at that time really admired bird's nest, and they were very particular about the combination of ingredients and eating methods, which made bird's nests. So far, there is a specious upper-class meaning.

The main audience of Xiaoxiandou, as well as the brands and services emphasized in its business philosophy, are in fact in common with the popularity of bird's nest in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Miao Shu, one of the founders of Xiaoxianduan, described user portraits like this: Xiaoxianduan's customers are not low-paying, and they are very picky about the brand and service. The 25-34-year-old is the main consumer, mostly living in first- and second-tier cities, with strong spending power, and most of them are white-collar workers in the workplace.

Xiaoxian stew provides customized services based on the characteristics and needs of the audience: the first C2M model introduced in the bird's nest industry, users directly place orders with the factory for fresh stew, to ensure the freshness of the product, and to solve the traditional bird's nest needs to be foamed and stewed for a long time. Pain points of cooking; periodic nourishment mode, consumers buy annually and monthly, and the factory delivers cold and fresh food to customers on a weekly basis; WeChat has private domain traffic management, and each customer has his own nourishing butler, who can answer nourishing questions at any time, etc. .

▲ Xiaoxian stew product picture. Image from: Xiaoxian stew Tmall flagship store

Of course, customized services have also increased the price of Xiaoxian stew, but Miaoshu does not exclude others from saying that Xiaoxian stew is expensive and "value for money is the key to users."

Therefore, since ancient times, the value of bird's nest as a consumer symbol and cultural spirit has not been denied. Regardless of the value of the bird's nest itself, the delicate treatment of the bird's nest and the attentive service for the diners make the bird's nest a mysterious and seemingly noble one, which is the common place of ancient and modern times.

In the common sense of most people, bird's nest is expensive, well-made, and complicated to stew. No matter how many "bird's nests are useless" popular science, bird's nest is still popular high-end tonic, and it is often used as a gift option.

But just in case the punk regimen

It may be different from the stereotype that the elderly are easily deceived by health care products. Most people who buy fresh stewed bird's nest are young people born in the 90s.

According to the "White Paper on China's Big Health Consumption Development in 2019", in the nourishing health category, the turnover of bird's nest accounts for nearly 30%. From the perspective of consumer groups, the post-90s and post-00s, which accounted for nearly 40%, have become the absolute main consumer force, which is consistent with Xiaoxiandun's own audience positioning.

On the one hand, the willingness of young people to maintain health is indeed getting stronger and stronger, and some young people in Bensan will even burst out with the idea of ​​"suddenly afraid of death." Because of gastritis and dysmenorrhea, my friend "Gum Mai Mai" keeps his body in a thermos cup every day, soaking medlar, chrysanthemum, and ginger all the way. On weekends, he will cook white fungus and peach gum. "China Youth Daily" once conducted a survey of 1979 post-90s and found that nearly 80% of the post-90s interviewed began to pay attention to health care information and regarded health care consumption as a necessity for daily expenses. This is mainly due to changes in health standards today.

One generation has its own health problems. The previous generation may pursue disease-free and disaster-free. In the Internet era, new health risk factors have emerged, such as active or passive work and rest disorders, lack of sleep, and sedentary sitting, causing fatigue, chest tightness, excessive eye use, cervical and lumbar spine Injuries, etc., have become more and more common health problems for young people. At the same time, health standards are becoming more and more strict and refined. Young people not only hope to have a strong body, but also hope to maintain their appearance and retain youth. They pay more attention to body, skin, and emotional management, so they claim to be able to beautify their skin. The bird’s nest may indeed become a popular health product.

However, young people nowadays rarely have the time and energy to devote themselves to health practices, such as going to bed early and getting up early and exercising regularly. Therefore, the punk-style health regimen of "killing and saving oneself" has emerged on a large scale, and fast and convenient health regimens are also very popular. .

▲ Picture from: 2019 National Health Insight Report

On the other hand, Xiaoxian Stew also took the right direction. Not only did it select bird’s nest from traditional tonics and make it into a fast-moving consumer product, but also tried to promote its biggest feature that is different from canned instant bird’s nest-real-time fresh stew and cold. Chain distribution, accurately meets the pain points and refreshing points of young people's health preservation. On Double Eleven in 2020, in the health supplement categories such as ginseng, sea cucumber and bird's nest, the growth rate of fresh stewed bird's nest will reach 300%, far exceeding other supplements.

Data from the "2019 Bird's Nest Industry Trend Release and Trend Analysis" shows that while the overall sales of bird's nest are increasing, the unit price per customer has continued to fall. The average customer unit price in 2018 is 800-1200 yuan, and the average customer unit price in 2019 has dropped to 600-900 yuan.

This is certainly related to the optimization of the company's supply chain and fierce competition between brands. It also strongly shows that the habit of using instant bird's nest is gradually being developed, which is in line with the consumption characteristics of fast-moving consumer goods.

It is hard to say whether the bird's nest has the effect of nourishing the skin, but a bowl of instant bird's nest is very effective in comforting young people's anxiety. After all, putting aside the term "IQ tax", the mentality of "eating bird's nest is not bad, what if" has the upper hand. As soon as there are more people with "just in case", ready-to-eat bird's nest has naturally become a business.

Indiscriminate online marketing

The anxiety of young people, in addition to real work and life pressure, also has many elements shaped by the media.

Xiaoxian stew uses aggressive online marketing to not only target young people who pay attention to health preservation, so that they can see their products as much as possible and as early as possible, but also create a wider range of anxiety and capture More potential customers. This is the key reason why Xiaoxian stew stands at the top of the industry.

In the early days of its establishment in 2014, Xiaoxianduan used celebrity endorsements and marketing methods of turning celebrities into investors to gain huge brand credibility and huge fan traffic, and quickly went out of the circle.

▲ Picture from: Xiaoxian stew official website

Xiaoxian stew's marketing is also widely seen on traditional e-commerce companies such as Tmall and social media such as Xiaohongshu. For example, in Xiaohongshu, Xiaoxiandou uses the form of grass-planting diaries of KOLs with their own traffic to effectively reach a wider group of people through word-of-mouth communication.

Xiaoxian stew is also a frequent visitor to the live broadcast rooms of head anchors such as Wei Ya and Zhang Dayi. Statistics in October 2019 showed that Xiaoxiandou had a sales volume of 580,000 bottles in the live broadcast room of Wei Ya, and sold 110,000 bottles in the live broadcast room of Zhang Dayi.

Therefore, unlike the traditional bird’s nest industry, Xiaoxian stew follows the trend of youthfulness and does not lay hard and wide. Instead, it uses celebrities, KOLs, and KOCs to achieve large-scale brand exposure and word-of-mouth communication on new media platforms such as Xiaohongshu and Douyin. Grasp the young man's "eating Amway" routine.

Even if there is no demand, create demand.

The female star Chen Shu is an investor in Xiaoxian stew. The bird's nest jars she eats can fill the entire room, and she hasn't aged over 40. There is no inevitable connection between the two, but Chen Shu’s endorsement of Xiaoxian stew’s image is convincing enough. Many young consumers, especially women, have used bird’s nest as an artifact of beauty and beauty, even though they know that the life of the stars is different from their own. , The variable is not only bird's nest, but only willing to believe in what is there, not want to believe in what is not.

There are also many grass-planting diaries whose titles or beginnings are of this type: "20+ Anti-young Girl Muscle Development Cheats", "From pregnancy to unloading, it seems to have suddenly stepped into middle age from youth", "Women have reached the age of 20." There is still a gap between the whole skin condition and the 18-year-old girl"… When all the information around you is telling you that it is time to beautify your face, are you also afraid of being left behind? Sales anxiety is now too common a marketing method.

▲ Search for "Xiaoxian stew" in Xiaohongshu

Xiaoxian stew is also suspected of buying drafts and navy. For a while, I could see Xiaoxiandun’s ads everywhere. When I searched for Xiaoxiandun on social platforms, it was basically a slip of user praise or media press releases, and questioned its information such as bird’s nest fraud, financial concealment, false publicity, etc. The weight and popularity are very low. This is very curious, how much money Xiaoxian stew spent on advertising.

The power of capital that emerges in times of chaos

Xiaoxian stew is just the tip of the iceberg of the entire bird's nest industry.

According to the company's data, there are currently 19,000 bird's nest-related companies in China, with nearly 2,000 registrations in 2019 and more than 1,600 registrations in 2020. What attracts these companies is the huge profits and profitability of the bird's nest market.

The reason why bird's nest is expensive is that it is difficult to collect, the resources are relatively scarce, and the process of removing eggshells and bird's feathers is time-consuming and laborious. The average worker can only pick 3 to 4 bird's nests every day.

▲ Bird's nest foundry. Picture from: Quanxian

However, the entire bird’s nest industry chain has gaps. The upstream links of the bird’s nest industry chain include bird’s nest picking, bird’s nest management and bird’s nest rough processing plants. The middle stream is mainly bird’s nest importers, distributors and fine processing plants, and the downstream is sales channels and In the consumer terminal, it is easy for each link to be shoddy and lack of catties, which makes the profit of bird's nest very high.

A person in charge of a bird's nest foundry once revealed that the minimum price of 45 grams of freshly stewed bird's nest is 28 yuan. If the order is 10,000 bottles, it is 1 yuan cheaper and can be transported in the cold chain. For such a bottle of bird’s nest, the market price is 80 to 150 yuan, and the gross profit rate can reach 40%-50%. If packaging materials and cold chain are added, the profit per bottle will increase by about 4 yuan. The profit of the head bird’s nest brand It will be higher.

The root of the problem is that the bird's nest industry does not have a uniform standard that can be enforced. The chaos in the bird's nest industry means that there is also a lot of profit-making space. There is a large group of people who make a living on it, and a huge group of people is its platform, so it will be prosperous.

According to data from Tianyan Check, Xiaoxiandun has received 6 rounds of financing since its establishment. In addition to the investment of first-line actresses such as Chen Shu and Zhang Ziyi, it has also won the favor of cross-border business leaders such as Zhou Hongwei, Yu Minhong, and Sheng Xitai.

▲ Picture from: Tianyancha

In the final analysis, Xiaoxian stew's exit is to use the Internet platform to carry out certain business model innovations in traditional industries, and then use capital to play with marketing and subsidies. The capital power behind it is an important reason for supporting it to become a new consumer representative.

But the interest relationship behind it is still very complicated. On December 14, 2020, some media broke that Beijing Xiaoxiandun E-commerce Company, a subsidiary of "Xiaoxiandun", was punished by the Beijing Chaoyang District Statistics Bureau due to incorrect registration of operating profits. The operating profit reported by Xiaoxiandun for 2019 was RMB 32,939 thousand, but the actual loss was RMB 32,934 thousand, with an error rate of 200%. Xiao Xiandun responded because of "the negligence of the reporting staff."

This kind of "intern"-like low-level error is seriously lacking in persuasiveness. It also makes people wonder that behind the sales-leading halo of Xiaoxian stew and the scenery of everywhere marketing may be an unknown place.

Not optimistic product quality

In addition to suspected financial fraud, the quality of Xiaoxian stew's products is not optimistic.

In the group standard of "Instant Bird's Nest" issued by the Chinese Pharmaceutical Culture Research Association in 2018, 100 grams of bird's nest liquid must contain more than 1 gram of dried bird's nest, but this is only a group standard, and most companies still go their own ways. Professional counterfeit Wang Hai pointed out that Xiaoxian stewed fresh stewed bird's nest sells for 279 yuan per 100 grams, of which sialic acid is only worth about 30 cents.

In July 2020, "Consumer Report" submitted 8 fresh stewed bird's nests, including Xiaoxian stew, to an authoritative third-party testing agency for inspection. The test results show that the solid content of Xiaoxian stew is 72.5% instead of 90% as claimed, and the total number of Xiaoxian stew colonies far exceeds the "National Food Safety Standard Bird's Nest and Its Products (Draft for Comment)". The limit of 10,000 CFU/g has certain potential food safety hazards.

Recently, Xiaoxiandun was fined 200,000 yuan by the relevant parties for false propaganda and violated the "Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China", and was publicized by the "National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System".

▲ Picture from: National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System

Counting it down, there are quite a lot of false propaganda by Xiaoxian stew. Its 10 indicators such as instant bird's nest raw materials, dry bird's nest content, product origin, food additives, etc., are not in line with the real situation. There are probably so few more serious ones:

Xiaoxian Stew promoted "Instant Bird's Nest Ingredients: Bird's Nest" in the flagship store on Tmall, but the actual ingredients used include bird's nest and bird's nest. Only intact bird's nests are called bird's nests, and those broken bird's nests or raw materials with more bird's feathers are called bird's nests, so this is selling dog meat with sheep's head;

Xiaoxian Stew is advertised in Tmall flagship store. The dry bird’s nest content of 70g fresh stewed bird’s nest is "2.5 g (inclusive)-5 g (exclusive)", but the actual amount of dry bird’s nest for this product is 3.5 g per bottle. , It’s not 5 grams if you are lucky, or 2.5 grams if you are not lucky;

Xiaoxianduan marked the origin of the product in the JD flagship store as Indonesia, but the actual place of production of the product was Langfang, Hebei; moreover, Xiaoxianduan was suspected of falsely promoting production qualifications. During the period 2015-2018, Xiaoxiandou did not have independent production qualifications, but it advertised that it started to build its own SC-certified fresh stewed bird's nest factory in 2015.

In response to these corrections, Xiaoxiandun’s response is "will conduct a comprehensive investigation and rectification of relevant public information in response to the lack of rigorous publicity of the e-commerce platform." I couldn't sleep anyway. I looked carefully at the middle of the night, only to see the doorway from the cracks in the words. In fact, only five words were written-"Fudge consumers".

All in all, the popularity of Xiaoxian stewed bird's nest is not accidental. Of course, it is by no means accidental that the bird's nest industry represented by Xiaoxian stew has been punished frequently.

The ancient and modern legends of bird’s nest, the subdivision and upgrade of consumption, the health anxiety of young people, the fueling of capital, the incomplete supervision, the spread of the Internet, etc., various factors are intertwined, creating a somewhat self-deceptive regimen Sheng Jing is secretly entangled in complicated interests.

In the final analysis, eating bird's nest is never a rigorous scientific rational consumption, but a perceptual consumption of what you need. It just hits the common symptoms of the times.

The common sense about bird's nest has not changed. There are always people who believe that there are always others who do not believe it. People who can't buy may never buy it. People who buy it once in a while can enjoy themselves, and those who don't need to shrink and eat bird's nest can afford it. The cost of all kinds of beauty may only be induced by merchants and capital to see the item of eating bird's nest. After all, marketing always puts a beautiful illusion in front of people who are willing to believe.

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