Arrival of the mooncakes
Pastry companies embrace innovation
One and a half months ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, some time-honored mooncakes have already been launched into the market, the Shanghai Observer reported. Traditional flavors have remained at a low price while some new flavors have been added to the market.
According to Xinghualou and Xinya, two time-honored brands, besides traditional flavors such as sweetened bean paste and five kernels, both brands have developed new flavors for young people such as chocolate, durian and cheese. Although the price of packaging has increased this year, the prices of the classic flavored mooncakes are similar to 2017.
The U-turn of five kernels
Red bean, five kernels, coconut and lotus seed have been the four most popular mooncake flavors on the market. Red bean and five kernels have long ranked as the top two flavors on the sales chart of Xinghualou’s mooncakes individually packaged. Red bean was even crowned as the “king” of all of Xinghualou’s mooncakes. In recent years, Xinghualou has maintained its traditional approach to making mooncakes. The ingredients used to make red beans include red beans originating in Haimen, East China’s Jiangsu Province, which makes the paste red, shiny, soft and smooth.
The brand Xinya, experimented with mixing sweetened beans with 10-year-old dried tangerine peels from South China’s Guangdong Province, which adds to the refreshing fragrance and chewy taste to its paste.
Although the five kernels flavor was disliked by netizens in the past years, it experienced a U-turn this year with many innovations on its taste.
The reason why five kernels is frowned upon is that some brands use inferior ingredients while the ingredients are the key to the quality of the five kernel mooncake, said a master from Xinghualou.
The five kernels used by Xinghualou originate from the best farms. They use olive kernels from Guangdong, melon seeds from Central China’s Hubei Province, walnut kernels from Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, and almonds from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is joined by the meat, fat, and liquor, and leaves a lingering fragrance upon consumption.
Xinya launched a kind of crustskinned mooncake with five kernel fillings which is served warm. It has sold well in its store on Nanjing Road East and is favored by both seniors and young people.
Since 2016, creamy paste mooncake became popular. After a bite, the soft, gooey paste flows out. This year, both Xinghualou and Xinya launched new flavors of creamy pasted mooncakes such as coconut, chestnut, chocolate, durian, cheese, sesame seed, mango, and sweetscented osmanthus.
Chasing of quality
As one of the time-honored brands centers on mooncake, Xinghualou has made mooncakes since 1927. In 1997, the general manager, Yang Peimin, saved the recipe in a safe at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, which caused quite a stir at that time, according to the Shanghai Observer. This move embodied the great value the brand attaches to its traditions and intellectual property rights.
Apart from inheriting the legacy of quality cakes, these time-honored brands also eye innovation and quality assurance. In recently years, both Xinghualou and Xinya have invested much on the upgrading of their manufacturing bases.
Xinghualou, for example, added a food inspection center to its upgraded factory with facilities to test for pesticide residue, antifogging agents and microorganisms, and to ensure a safer food processing procedure.
In the past two years, Xinya also automated its food manufacturing facility, cutting the working staff by two thirds.
“No hands need to touch the products in the manufacturing process,” said a person in charge of Xinya.
This story was a translation based on a report in Shanghai Observer.
Main: Time-honored mooncake brand Xinya launches its Disneythemed mooncakes in 2017. Inset: A mooncake of Xinghualou brand
Shanghai residents queue up on Nanjing Road East to buy mooncakes.