The Burgeoning Functional Food Market in China
2018-08-21 16:08 Tuesday
Due to improved living standards and higher life expectancy, China now has a rapidly aging and increasingly health-conscious population. Functional foods have become popular across all age groups.
Despite this, China's functional foods industry is still in its infancy, and has largely been dominated by foreign brands to this point. The State Statistics Bureau has noted that 20% of all functional foods enterprises in China are foreign-funded, accounting for 50% of all capital and a 40% market share.
As consumer demand for functional foods, many new market players have joined traditionally dominant foreign brands. However, the entry of new competitors threatens to hinder the rapid development of China's functional food industry, as quality and safety control are not yet comprehensive. To meet these challenges, the Chinese government has issued a series of regulations to bring order to the market.
Choosing the proper functional foods from the wide range of products available, can be a daunting task.
Functional foods, also known as health foods, are contain specific nutritional properties and help to regulate body functions for specific populations. They are not, however, intended to fulfill specific health functions.
The “Blue Hat” label on a product, indicates that it has been officially approved as meeting official quality and safety standards set forth by food regulators in China.
Health food products containing active ingredients must obtain Quality Standard certification (QS), survive a rigorous approval process, and obtain "Blue Hat" registration prior to their launch. All officially approved health food products are required to display the "Blue Hat" mark and approval number on the packaging. The State Food and Drug Administration was empowered to oversee the health food approval process beginning in 2003, and approval numbers pre-2003 were called "Health Food Number", since changed to "National Health Food Number".