Innovation, education and collaboration to ‘save’ China: DuPont
DuPont Nutrition and Health is injecting efforts into the Chinese market as it has identified it as a key part of Asia, and the globe’s, food security puzzle due to its sheer size and growth.
“China is facing huge challenges on food security, as the average agricultural land per person is limited and is getting less due to the industrialisation in China,” Dr Yongjing Li, president of Greater China for DuPont Nutrition and Health, said.
The combination of limited arable land and fast economy growth creates challenges for industry, he told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The main focus for our nutrition and health business in China is to provide value-added solutions to meet the challenges connected to the ageing population, urbanisation and Chinese food industrialisation,” he said.
DuPont is working to develop a platform of “localised solutions” across China, Li said, that set out to ensure the safety of processed foods, avoid waste at production level and improve the health of consumers.
“There is a need for more innovation, education and improvement of rural communities,” he said, which DuPont aims to implement.
However, he noted that success in creating market shifts would rely on the strength of collaboration as “no entity can do this alone.”
“Collaboration and innovation across all sectors of society and joint focus on key challenge areas will be essential in addressing the food and nourishment needs of a growing population,” he said.
Partnership was indicated at state level on April 15 2012, when a trilateral pact between South Korea, China and Japan was signed. The countries vowed to share information on food security and enhance agricultural product trade.
Industry, at multinational level, is also seemingly investing efforts in nutrition and food security across wider Asia, a recent Food Industry Asia (FIA) report revealed.
It found that industry giants were injecting capital into Asia-centric programmes to educate consumers on health and nutrition.
DuPont invested in a ‘technology hub’ at Beijing’s international flower port earlier this year; a project that Li said is going well and set to be finalised by the end of 2012.
“This is a state-of-art technology hub for hybrid corn seed breeding by molecular technology,” he explained, and “the aim of this project is to support sustainable growth of agricultural production in China.”
Driving health portfolios
DuPont has also significantly broadened its LCI Cultures portfolio across China, “to meet market needs,” in a fast-growing food market, Li said.
“Fresh dairy and dietary supplements are the focused application sub-categories for DuPont’s lactic acid bacteria culture products,” he said.
He detailed that the yoghurt sector in China is seeing market growth of between 18-20% each year, and so the company has customised blended culture products for local customers.
Dietary supplement probiotic and soy ingredients and blends has also been a focus for the company, he noted, as there is“rapid business growth of top direct selling companies”in this market segment.
If solutions on food security can be implemented in China, this will have global implications, he said.
“Global food production must grow by 70% from today’s levels to address the food productivity gap. This must be done in a sustainable manner – addressing land use, water and carbon needs, and collaborating with partners, including industry, academia, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and more,” he said.