Yili Group Changyi 100% aims to lead innovation of MilkBeer category

On 1 June, Yili Changyi 100% MilkBeer began mass production and will be available at the end of June, priced at 5 RMB (approx. 0.69 USD) per bottle (300ml). The product is positioned as the most “refreshing and powerful” lactic acid bacteria drink, boasting “low sugar, zero fat, no alcohol” as key selling points. It includes Yili’s own strain K56, which can improve consumers’ intestinal health. Initially, Changyi 100% MilkBeer will target the catering sector to alleviate spiciness and fatigue, but it will also be marketed for consumption during drama viewing, gaming, afternoon tea, and other occasions.

MilkBeer is not a blend of milk and beer, but rather a bubbly drink made from fresh milk or milk powder, fermented with lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and processed through a special method. Currently, the market offers both non-alcoholic and alcoholic MilkBeer, though the latter typically contains an alcohol content of less than or equal to 0.5%. Changyi 100% MilkBeer has been shortlisted for the iSEE Award for Global Food Innovation. According to reports, the MilkBeer market now has a size of 2 billion RMB (approx. 0.28 billion USD) and is experiencing strong growth, with carbonated drinks and sparkling water emerging as potential markets for MilkBeer.

Non-alcoholic beverages have gained popularity in recent years, especially among young non-drinkers during mealtimes. According to Mintel, 31% of adults over the age of 22 have consumed alcoholic beverages less than once a month or not at all in the past three months. This trend is largely driven by Gen Z, with 24% stating they drink infrequently or not at all when dining out for health reasons.

Meanwhile, new dairy drink launches have accounted for the highest share of new products in the dairy category. The 2024 Global Dairy Drinks Trends report, published by Innova, showed that Asia Pacific had the highest share of new dairy drink launches between July and December 2023, at 44.3%.

In response to this consumer demand and market trend, Changyi 100% MilkBeer was launched to provide Chinese consumers with a new non-alcoholic beverage option. The primary consumer group for 100% MilkBeer is predicted to be new white-collar workers aged 18-30 in first and second-tier cities, extending to the wider Gen Z demographic.

Since 2022, many brands have entered the MilkBeer market. For example, Helens, known as the “No.1 bistro stock in Hong Kong,” has launched MilkBeer alongside its own beer. MIOK, a new consumer brand, has also introduced MilkBeer targeting young people. Tianrun MilkBeer is leveraging its dairy company background for steady development. However, there is still no iconic product in the MilkBeer category, and consumer awareness remains relatively limited.

Since its inception in 2015, Changyi 100% has focused on high-quality and diverse health products. MilkBeer represents another example of Yili’s innovative and cross-category strategy. It offers a unique combination of “milk and beer” and promises “low sugar and zero fat” to distinguish itself by emphasising health benefits. As a leading dairy company, Yili aims to create a new market through differentiated innovation with its Changyi 100% MilkBeer.


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