Mid-Autumn Festival is about family reunion; over time it has become an integral part of a brand’s marketing strategy and an opportunity for brands to express local relevance and closeness with their customers.
Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, falls on 21st September this year.
Originating in the early Shang Dynasty (1600-1040 BC), the Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival when people gather to thank the moon god for the harvest. Today, it is celebrated in many places in East Asia and Southeast Asia, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Each with their own customs.
In Chinese culture, it is a custom to eat mooncakes. The traditional mooncake is filled with white lotus paste and salted egg yolks. In the market today, we see many modern adaptations of mooncakes.
Retail in Asia rounds up some of the most creative mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Asia.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, with its online retailer Tmall, released 50 non-fungible token (NFT) mooncakes, priced at US$0.15.
Tmall has built the virtual mooncake with Ant Chain, the blockchain arm of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group. The collection sold out over 50 digital mooncakes through a lucky draw and the NFTs can be viewed on Alipay’s mini-program Fensili. Buyers of the virtual NFT mooncake also received an actual box of mooncake.
What is more modern than a digital mooncake?
To bring new dynamics to the traditional mooncake industry, brands are going creative with their mooncakes by incorporating arts and culture. Haagen-dazs China joined hands with France’s Louvre Museum to roll out a special collection of ice cream mooncakes, featuring iconic museum collections including the Louvre Pyramid and Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “Mona Lisa”.
Shanghai Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and China’s snack food retailer LYFEN together launched a new mooncake collection of “East Meets West”, inspired by cultural relics. The packing boxes are designed with elements inspired by world-renowned paintings, while the mooncakes have patterns of museum collections.
The Italian luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo released an exclusive mooncake collection inspired by the dynamism of its Autumn/Winter 2021 collection. The packaging is a cylinder box fashioned in the shape of a lantern and inside each compartment, it holds pastries with the Gancini logo. In addition to the mooncakes, Salvatore Ferragamo also launched a Mid-Autumn Festival themed pop-up store in Sanya, Hainan.
W Kuala Lumpur collaborated with GUNG HO on a set of trendy and vibrant coloured mooncake collections, themed “Crazy Asians”. The collection comes in 2 colors, Iridescent Blue and Luminous Purple.
The GUNG HO Team consists of gallerist and interior designer Edith Ho, Malaysian born artist Hong and British pop artist Jonny Zerox.
Hong Kong’s Royal Caviar Club brought its caviar mooncake to its customers. Featured in a snow skin coating that is filled with Ossetra caviar, paired with either cream cheese or Madagascar vanilla filling, the caviar mooncakes are a luxurious option that brings a balance of flavours to the special day.
However, caviar is not the most flavourful mooncake we have seen this year. Hear this, mooncakes with steak.
Phoebe’s Kitchen, a Hong Kong pastry shop, released one of the most unique mooncakes that comes with steak, the Mooncake Wellington. Containing all the ingredients of a classic English beef Wellington while maintaining the classic shape of a traditional mooncake, this is an unconventional East meets West fusion dish that has gone viral in Hong Kong.
Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong partnered with pet food manufacturer Meal Rical and illustration studio Petstudio HK to launch the Doggy Mooncake that is safe for dogs to consume. Each package features different dog breeds and they offer three different flavours: salmon, deer meat and horse meat.
Hong Kong bakery Ali Oli Bakery also released a set of mooncakes that allows pet owners to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with their pets. The collection contains three chicken-based mooncakes for pets to eat and three for humans.
Mooncakes with purpose
IMPACT HK collaborated with Cacao to release ethically-sourced chocolate #Kindnessmatters mooncakes in caramel walnut and young gainer ganache flavour. All profit from these mooncakes are going to projects supporting the homeless with Impact Hong Kong.
The Pokemon Company launched a Pokemon themed mooncake box in Taiwan. The mooncakes come in four different flavours and each mooncake is packed in tins featuring Morpeko, Pikachu and Scorbunny.
Harry Potter mooncakes
Not a fan of Pokemons? Singapore’s chocolate store Awfully Chocolate teamed up with Warner Bros to launch the world’s first-ever Harry Potter mooncakes. Each set contains four mooncakes, each packed in a Hogwarts House tin – Gryffindor (Red yam lotus single yolk), Ravenclaw (Blue pea pu-er lotus with melon seeds), Hufflepuff (Pumpkin white lotu with double yolk) and Slytherin (Matcha black sesame with black and white sesame seeds).
The four mooncakes are packed in a red velvet chest with quilted lining and golden sporks, as well as a certificate of authenticity as an official Wizarding World product.
Singaporean luxury teahouse brand TWG Tea released an exclusive red mooncake music box that contains a pinwheel rainbow snow skin mooncake and its Moon Dance Tea.
Refining the traditional mooncakes, the tea brand incorporated tea into its mooncakes. They are tea-infused, traditionally baked snow skin mooncakes in four flavours. Inspired by the glory of a moonlit, TWG Tea created the Moon Dance Tea, a black tea boasting a fragrant bouquet of orchard fruits, wide strawberry and notes of sweet lime.
Zephyrie, a Malaysian scented candle brand, rolled out a special Mid-Autumn Festival set that comes with four traditional mooncakes and a botanical wax lantern that comes with two scented candles.
From virtual mooncakes to Wellington mooncakes to pet-friendly mooncakes, we have seen mooncakes getting more and more creative each year. It is exciting to see what else brands will bring us next year.