Yunnan's rose pastry sees sweet sales online

China Daily| Updated: June 7, 2022

A niche has developed for rose pastries, a signature sweet treat that uses edible roses for fillings in Yunnan province of Southwest China, driven by the increasingly diverse appetites of Chinese consumers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a certain negative impact on the tourism sector in Yunnan, and the number of people who took trips to the province has declined. Sales of rose pastries, which serve as must-buy souvenirs, have largely shifted to online platforms.

Yunnan Jiahua Food, one of the biggest producers of rose pastries, has seen sales of the snack from the company top the list of the category on Tmall, an e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group, and its monthly sales on the platform have exceeded 40,000 packages.

The company has established several plants in cities such as Pu'er, Dali and Zhaotong in Yunnan, and it has invested significantly in building a logistics distribution system to transport its products nationwide.

With a favorable subtropical climate and fertile soil, Yunnan has advantages in growing edible roses. In 2020, the planting area of edible flowers reached 13,000 hectares in the province, including 6,400 hectares of edible roses. The annual output of rose pastries in Yunnan stands at around 20,000 metric tons, according to the local government.

Kunming Flower Taste Food Processing Co Ltd, another rose pastry retailer in Yunnan, has sold its products to the United States. Due to the relatively short shelf life of the food, which ranges from seven days to 45 days depending on the ingredients, the company is considering exporting semi-finished products and roasting pastries abroad, which will taste better, it said.

With an annual output value of more than 20 million yuan ($3 million), Kunming Flower Taste serves as an original equipment manufacturer or OEM for snack brands such as Three Squirrels. It also plans to increase efforts in cooperating with more major e-commerce platforms.

"Despite the huge output value of rose pastries, the product has not really stepped out of Yunnan yet. We need to further raise its quality by introducing more automation equipment. Edible roses boast a significant potential for future industrial growth," said Xie Tingyu, general manager of Kunming Flower Taste Food Processing.

"Major retailers should increase their research and development efforts to expand consumption markets of edible roses and extend the industrial chain. For instance, edible rose petals can be added to daily food like bread and cakes for breakfast," Xie said.

"The planting technology of roses has constantly been increasing. Drip irrigation and wide applications of natural methods of pest control have guaranteed the food safety of edible rose petals," Xie added.

After years of development, rose pastry retailers have developed more than a dozen varieties and flavors of the snack. For instance, some have added ingredients and fillings such as pine nuts, purple yams, matcha, and Yunnan's famous hams.