There is a long history of enjoying the sticky-rice treats knowns as zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival. The city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, East China, is home to over 40 zongzi manufacturers, which produce more than half of China’s zongzi. Wufangzhai is one of the city’s biggest zongzi producers. And at this, the busiest time of year, workers can wrap up 5 to 7 zongzi per minute.
“We expect a 30 percent increase in sales during this year’s Dragon Boat Festival,” said Xu Wei, branding manager of Wufangzhai.
Jiaxing’s many sticky rice plantations have helped make it become China’s zongzi capital. The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most important times of a year for locals. “Jiaxing people have a special bond to zongzi. We have it for breakfast. Almost everyone here knows how to wrap zongzi. Well, except for many youngsters like me,” said one Jiaxing local.
For years, the familiar taste of these delicious treats and the techniques of making them have not changed much. That means zongzi makers need to think of new marketing elements every year to increase sales. One way to do that is to incorporate pop culture elements in the package. For example, Ironman and Captain America for teenagers, and also have Mickey Mouse for the kids.
“This year we cooperated with Disney and Marvel because the Avengers movie was very popular. Traditional Chinese foods are not antiques. They can have new tastes, new images that are more youthful and full of vitality”, said Xu Wei.
From trendy designs to internet memes, the objective of Wufangzhai is ordered to make traditional zongzi cool for the younger generation.