Stinky Luosifen: Most popular snack for a stay-at-home Spring Festival

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Luosifen, or river snail rice noodles, becomes the most popular Chinese New Year’s snack on e-commerce platforms in 2021. /CFP

Luosifen, or river snail rice noodles, becomes the most popular Chinese New Year’s snack on e-commerce platforms in 2021. /CFP

Stinky Luosifen became the most popular Chinese New Year’s snack this year on e-commerce platforms, as Chinese people prepare for a stay-at-home holiday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spring Festival is just next month. On the traditional Laba Festival, which fell on January 20, Chinese e-commerce platforms kicked off a one-month-long “2021 Online Chinese New Year’s Goods Festival” for the convenience of people across the country that can now easily buy some seasonal specials.

Traditionally, dried fruits, sweets, and pastries are a must-buy “three-piece set” snacks for the Chinese New Year. But this year, new competitors are taking over.

According to data from Tmall and Taobao, both e-commerce platforms under Alibaba, the turnover of Luosifen, or river snail rice noodles, on the first day of the online festival was 15 times bigger than last year, with the number of buyers growing nine times year on year. The largest group of buyers was the post-90s generation.

An exhibition of snacks in Shanghai, September 30, 2020. /CFP

An exhibition of snacks in Shanghai, September 30, 2020. /CFP

Self-heating hot pots rank only second to Luosifen on the most popular goods list by Tmall and Taobao. On Wednesday, nearly 200,000 buyers placed orders for these instant products, compared to less than 20,000 last year.

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Besides, the turnovers of hot pot soup base and induction cookers increased by 540 percent and 240 percent, respectively, year on year. Other popular goods include facial masks, medical beauty products, and games.

Qian Fangli, director of the Department of E-commerce and Informatization of the Ministry of Commerce, said at a special news briefing on January 15 that, although people traditionally celebrate Spring Festival by purchasing New Year’s goods, getting together, sending greetings, and visiting temple fairs, they may raise the risk of spreading the coronavirus, so the online Chinese New Year’s Goods Festival helps people spend a happy Spring Festival at home.

In recent months, sporadic COVID-19 cases and clusters of infections occurred in some parts of the country. Beijing, Shanghai, the provinces of Shandong, Henan and Hebei, and other places have called on people to “stay where they are during the Spring Festival and do not return to their hometowns if unnecessary.” Public institutions and companies have also been encouraged to arrange a flexible vacation for employees and celebrate the Spring Festival without traveling elsewhere.

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