According to newly-appointed Azelis Managing Director China Jackson Chu, the company’s hydrocolloid-based products are amongst its most-popular items, due to China’s current consumption trends.
“Right now hydrocolloid popularity in China is very high, especially because the local processed foods market is still seeing more growth as compared to countries like Europe or the United States,” he told FoodNavigator-Asia at the Fi Asia-China show in Shanghai.
“There is still room to grow in this area here, especially as the general Chinese consumer is still consuming more processed food as compared to the West, and as such China still remains our largest market for any sort of food ingredient.”
Azelis’ hydrocolloid ingredients are most commonly used as thickening agents in processed food items.
“In China, we are now focusing on developing solutions fitting fruit jams for bakery use as well as food product stabilisers,” Azelis Head of Sales China Simon Zhang added
“Other developments here include a long shelf-life yoghurt, which falls under our Acid Protein Drink (APD) range and high-protein beverages under our Natural Protein Drink (NPD) range.”
The company also has plans to expand into the natural ingredients market locally because it has seen ‘double digit’ growth locally.
Although Chu remained coy on specifics, he said that Azelis planned to ‘look more deeply into new applications for natural functional ingredients and [innovating based on these]’.
“More and more customers and consumers are looking for natural products, [hence] it is necessary to develop new products and solutions based on this demand.”
Other trends in the country
From a marketing perspective, Chu highlighted ‘new channel’ sales, such as via e-commerce and WeChat direct sales, as definitely gaining significant ground in the country.
“Traditional food producers are definitely facing competition and challenges from these new channels,” he said.
“The new channel phenomenon calls for the need for very innovative products [to adapt]. Being able to cater to this need, providing ingredients or applications that are unique and will give that ‘wow’ factor – that is the entry ticket into new channels, hence part of what we are looking at.”
Additionally, health foods are also a rising trend in the country, though he added that this requires more vigilance in terms or production and management.
“The key point for health foods in China is still regulations – we have found it necessary to have a dedicated team to follow regulatory updates in the country and ensure that all products are fully compliant with these,” he said.