The US-headquartered nutrient giant has invested in an office in Shanghai to provide sales and customer support to its growing customer base in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Mui Siang Tay, business development manager for Fortitech China, said the new facility will underpin the increased demand in fortified foods and beverages that is growing “at an unprecedented rate”.
“Consumers are taking the management of their personal health into their own hands,” Tay told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“In addition to looking for products that contribute to their overall wellness, they are also looking for products that target specific health conditions such as weight management, diabetes, bone and joint health and cognition, just to name a few,” she said.
She added that there is also strong demand for products designed to aid children’s physical and cognitive development.
Fortified China: The development stage
Tay said that the market for fortified foods and beverages in China is still at the “development stage,” and it will continue to be driven directly by overall growth within the Chinese economy.
China’s fortified products market differs from other countries, she said, with opportunities stretching further geographically. There is growth potential in the mid-sized cities of Xi’an, Nanjing and Wuhan as well as in the larger cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, she noted, unlike in other BRIC markets, such as Brazil and Russia, where opportunities for fortified products are centralised in the large cities of Sao Paulo and Moscow.
Fortitech’s Malaysian production, development and quality assurance facility has been focused on driving the premix nutrient portfolio to cater to the Chinese market and the wider Asia Pacific region. However, business growth in China was such that the company decided it necessary to establish a physical presence to be closer to customers.
There is currently no production facility in China, but Tay revealed that it is something that may happen in the future.
Adding value and educating?
“Our goal is to provide a quality nutritional premix that enhances a product’s nutritional profile, which in turn will help differentiate our customer’s product on store shelves,” she said.
Jeff Crowther, executive director of the US-China Health Products Association, noted that China’s health market is a huge, developing market, but that consumer understanding of the sector is lagging behind other global markets.
However, educating consumers is the responsibility of manufacturers, Tay said. “We can help a manufacturer meet the nutritional label claims on their product with our custom nutrient premixes, but it is up to them to communicate this information to the customer,” she added.