China’s JD Supermarket urges manufacturers to help drive food safety and traceability

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

China retailer JD Supermarket launched the JD Healthy Food Initiative to improve food safety and provide healthier products.
China retailer JD Supermarket launched the JD Healthy Food Initiative to improve food safety and provide healthier products.
China retailer JD Supermarket has launched the JD Healthy Food Initiative in a bid to improve food safety, traceability and consumer access to healthier foods.

JD Supermarket is an arm of JD.com, a major online retailer in China, which is the main competitor of Alibaba-run Tmall.

A total of 10 food and beverage brands have signed an agreement to be part of the initiative. They are Nongfu Springs, COFCO Fortunegate, Nestle, Mengniu, Jinlongyu, JDB, Wufangzhai, Quaker, Yangyuan, and Xiaoguancha. By doing so, they pledged to place food safety as one of their main priorities and will research new products or upgrade their products based on the standards set.

JD Supermarket said that it will encourage companies to establish nutritional health claims via product testing, ensure that the nutritional value stated reflects the quality of the actual product, to refer to nutrient reference values when stating the daily recommended intake, and to seek the advice of established nutritionists in providing suggested meal plans.  

Food safety is also another area of concern. Customers will be invited to provide feedback on product quality and to rate the sales platform.

JD Supermarket will also build quality control from food sources to production processes and distribution to establish a product safety traceability system. Companies with products that fulfil the criterion will be certified for their product quality.

This is the second year that the company has launched this initiative. This year, it hopes to engage government regulatory bodies and third-party associations.

As such, JD Supermarket will work with the China National Food Industry Association and third-party associations in establishing industry standards for food, to vigorously select partnering brands and retailers, to build a complete quality control system and holistic quality control scheme. 

JD Supermarket and China National Food Industry Association are also in talks to build a healthy food centre.

JD vice-president Feng Yi said that as the core promoter of the initiative, Jingdong Supermarket will continue to promote the construction of a healthy food ecological chain through a mature “healthy ecology”, starting from the production source to supplier and customers.  

Last year, JD Supermarket launched a similar initiative which encouraged manufacturers to work on product reformulation, such as reducing the amount of sugar, sodium and oil in their products.

Most popular food

During the launch, JD also revealed consumer trends and the most popular food based on online sales figures from May last year to April this year.

According to the findings, online shopping is mainly dominated by females, youngsters within the age of 16 to 25, of which the highest amongst those stay in the East China region.

The greatest growth comes from hotpot products, with sales booming over 900%, while skimmed milk trails behind with a sales growth of 474.9%. Other well-performing products include nutritional products as such non-concentrate fruit juice (395.4%) and organic food (223.9%).

Consumers are also turning to online platforms for less premium products such as sauce and condiments, with sales increasing by 101.7% from a year ago.

The findings also revealed that consumers are most concerned with taste and quality of product, while price is no longer a single determining factor that drives the decision to purchase.

Gender differences

From the findings, it is seen that non-concentrate fruit juice is more popular with male consumers (56%) than female consumers (44%), while vegetable and fruit mixed juice is preferred by female consumers (67%) than male consumers (33%).

Male consumers also tend to be more adventurous with their food choices, forming the main customer base for less conventional options such as milk stout (65%), and cherry-flavoured Coke (69%). On the other hand, female consumers are more likely to be trend followers, preferring products that are already popular online, such as shrimp-flavoured potato chips (67%) and drinkable flax seed oil (57%).

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