With preparations for this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival currently underway, Chinese regulators have set their sights on monitoring high-priced mooncakes as well as other pricey holiday gifts. The motive behind the price crackdown lies in the government’s desire to curb excessive waste and promote the healthy development of the industry.
Leading up to the seasonal holiday, the National Development and Reform Commission will carry out a round of inspections of enterprises, hotels, restaurants and e-commerce platforms that produce or sell mooncakes. Any box of mooncakes sold at a price of over 500 RMB (74 USD) will be subject to a cost survey to ensure that its price falls within a reasonable range of its value. In addition, neither exotic ingredients such as shark fins or edible bird’s nests, nor excessively luxurious packaging such as precious metals are to be used for this year’s mooncakes.
In a growing mooncake gift box market valued at 16.9 billion RMB (2.5 billion USD), it is imperative more than ever for brands to stand out from the crowd. The recent regulations, however, put a creative (and profit) cap on luxury brands, who typically use this lucrative holiday as a means to churn out the most mind-blowing mooncake designs every year – at an equally exorbitant price, of course. Last year, brands like Swiss watchmaker Hublot infused its mooncakes with Swiss fondue, chocolate popping candy and Swiss Biber. Meanwhile, luxury brands like Bulgari showcased a show-stopping design with an LED-lit full moon. This year, however, does not seem so promising.
Nevertheless, considering that the holiday’s most extravagant mooncake boxes are often given as exclusive gifts to VIP customers rather than sold to the public, there could still be a chance for brands to hold onto their luxurious creations as gifts to their most loyal customers. However, nothing has been confirmed as of yet. In the meantime, brands can consider alternative (or more low-key) ways to capture the holiday spirit, such as the Mid-Autumn-themed digital collectibles created by Godiva.