How to crowdsource the best cake in China


How do you find the most delicious, creative and beautiful cake in China? We asked 12 million people to tell us.

China is a digitally-dynamic market. Mobile technology is central to daily life and the line between online and offline is often blurred.

So, when we set out to find the best cake in China, it was only natural to team up with China’s largest review platform Meituan-Dianping.

Never heard of Meituan-Dianping? You’re not alone. It’s virtually unknown outside of China but in its domestic market, it is huge.

Meituan-Dianping is an online platform for ordering food, booking movies and reviewing restaurants. Its best described as a mashup between Yelp, Groupon and Uber Eats – with around 280 million active users. It was recently crowned the world's fourth-most valuable start-up.

Cakes are hitting the sweet spot in China with sales skyrocketing 37% over the past year. We wanted to test the taste buds of consumers to find the best one.

So, we crowdsourced the competition and 12 million people answered.

Using just their phones, consumers could try cakes at bakeries and shops around the country and vote for their favourite one.

The cakes flew off shelves and the votes poured in. What started as a competition whipped customers in Fonterra’s biggest market into a frenzy, with demand for our world-famous Anchor cream taking off.

So, after all that, who did 12 million people vote on to take top honours? Happy Kids Birthday Cake won this year, beating entries from more than 10,000 bakery stores in 306 cities across China.

Crowdsourcing has been a great success for us. We couldn’t have hired cake experts to taste 10,000 cakes (even the most willing judge would struggle with that number). We were able to harnesses the creative and competitive spirit of consumers all over China.

Today, everything is about sharing. Crowdsourcing the best cake in China meant millions of cake-loving voters could contribute, be heard and feel valued.

It also means we can test new products quickly, without the need for slow, expensive focus groups.

Even Meituan-Dianping was impressed. They told us that Anchor was the only brand to organise such a powerful crowdsourcing campaign on this scale in China.

This is the third year we’ve run the competition. It has made an immediate splash among Fonterra’s bakery customers and consumers in China. Across the competition, more than 151,000 cakes were sold online to customers while another 620,000 customers downloaded cake coupons.

Every drop of Anchor Cream used in the competition is sourced from Fonterra’s state-of-the-art facility in Waitoa, meaning it’s the best whipping cream in the market.

It’s no wonder the cakes were so popular. 12 million people can’t be wrong.