Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt has announced that it will launch its first stores in China.

The first two stores will be located in Shanghai and are expected to open in 2014.

Orange Leaf has secured a master franchise agreement with a group of Chinese investors that has committed to opening 100 stores across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau in the coming years.

According to a recent study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, dairy production and consumption has been soaring in China, with an average growth rate of 12.8 percent annually since 2000. Furthermore, the country’s dairy consumption is anticipated to increase 38 percent by 2022.

All stores will mirror the experience of Orange Leaf stores in the U.S., giving customers the ability to create their own desserts with self-serve frozen yogurt machines and a wide variety of toppings. The franchisees will offer locally-sourced, authentic Chinese toppings to cater to regional tastes. Once development is underway, Orange Leaf will develop Asian-inspired flavors and additional toppings.

“We plan to be nimble in our approach, catering to the tastes of our newest audience, and learning about which flavor profiles and toppings are most successful in this market,” says Reese Travis, CEO of Orange Leaf. “To date, few American frozen yogurt companies have successfully broken into this market, but with 100 committed stores in the pipeline, we are confident that Orange Leaf can fill this void.”

The stores will consist of a mix of stand-alone stores, stores located in malls and Orange Leaf’s new kiosk model. Similar to Orange Leaf’s domestic strategy, Orange Leaf’s Chinese franchisees will scout high-energy locations with strong visibility.

Orange Leaf's 2014 expansion plans are part of its overall aggressive global growth strategy. Currently, Orange Leaf has more than 209 franchisees and is adding new ones continually, with almost 70 percent of the stores currently under construction being built by existing franchisees.

According to China Chain Store & Franchise Association, the demand for food and beverage franchises in China is strong, with 92 percent of worldwide franchise brands planning to open new stores in China in 2014.

“Capitalizing on the continued migration from rural to urban living and the increase in disposable income, coupled with a demand for self-serve and customization in China, we are confident that there is going to be great demand for Orange Leaf’s frozen yogurt in this region,” Travis says. “We have been working diligently to identify the right local partners to spearhead our effort in China. This great opportunity – to bring our premier frozen treats to the Far East – is the result of the relationship between the U.S.-based owners of Orange Leaf and their Chinese partners, a relationship that has been cultivated for more than a decade. Now we are taking the business aspect of this relationship to another level and we can’t wait to break into the Chinese market with a handful of strong, ambitious franchisees.”


Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Desserts, Fast Casual, Growth, News, Orange Leaf