China Focus: Plant-based innovation, Red Bull, dairy growth and more feature in our round-up

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Plant-based innovation, Red Bull, dairy growth and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Plant-based innovation, Red Bull, dairy growth and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Plant-based innovation, Red Bull, dairy growth and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

Sizzling sensation: Alibaba, Beyond Meat and Danone rooting for plant-based innovation in China

China’s alternative meat market has grown from its traditional imitation products to a more modern, realistic and meat-tasting profile powered by innovation – and now some of the industry’s biggest names are ploughing in resources to fuel the next wave of product developments​.

A Mintel survey found 70% of consumers in China were interested in reducing their meat consumption. Shirley Lu, executive director, Greater China at food awareness organisation, ProVeg International said this was attributed to growing health consciousness among Chinese consumers.

Lu said this is expected to drive innovation in the sector: “China has a distinctive and rich food culture. With soy products and tofu already so ingrained in its society, we now expect China to develop a new plant-based culture, version 2.0, full of innovative new plant-based and cultured meat products​.”

Energy boost: Original Red Bull makers to boost presence in China and develop new functional products

Thailand’s T.C. Pharmaceutical Industries Co. Ltd (TCP), the original inventor of the Red Bull brand and trademark globally, is accelerating its presence in China​ with a mega investment of RMB1bn (US$150m).

Globally, Red Bull dominates the energy drink industry (30%), followed by Monster (20%) and TCP (11%). However in China, TCP’s Red Bull dominates at 80%, according to Chinese firm Daxue Consulting.

China is TCP’s biggest foreign investment country to date, CEO Saravoot Yoovidhya told FoodNavigator-Asia.

Once our new facilities are established, we can enhance our marketing and R&D capabilities by better understanding the needs, habits, and preferences of local consumers and to develop products that can better meet their particular needs​,” Yoovidhya said.

China milk momentum: Growth in awareness attributed to public belief in immunity benefits

Local acceptance of milk and dairy products in China has rocketed over the past year​, driven by some 96% of the population believing that dairy consumption can help improve immunity.

These findings were announced as part of the 2020 China Milk Quotient report, which was launched by the China Dairy Industry Association (CDIA), China International Exchange and Promotive Association for Medical and Health Care (CPAM) and Friesland-Campina.

The Milk Quotient is a metric that measures the receptiveness, acceptance and awareness of the Chinese public to dairy and dairy products, implying a potential corresponding rise in demand. It was conducted via surveys performed in 27 cities across the country.

Dairy victory: China’s new acceptance of whey permeate imports a display of industry triumph

China recently announced new standards for dairy permeate imports​, a first for the country and a prime example of how an industry can leverage resources to overcome regulatory challenges, according to a China trade regulations expert.

The new dairy (whey) permeate import standards were announced by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) last month and prescribed the detailed technical requirements of dairy permeate powders exported to China.

This is a first for the country, where previously any such imports were less than direct, i.e. if any were imported, these were referred to by industry using other product names and standards. The new standards indicate that China is now ready to accept imports of the ingredient for food and beverage use.

China Food Tech Hub adds Nestle, Ajinomoto and Barilla’s Blu1877 to 15-member food innovation consortium

The China Food Tech Hub, which aims to forge close ties between MNCs and start-ups, is adding three new members to its consortium​ this year, including big names such as Nestle, Ajinomoto and Barilla’s Blu1877.

Established by Chinese venture capital firm Bits x Bites last year, the consortium currently has 15 members and aims to nurture collaboration between start-ups and multinational companies ranging from consumer foods, animal feed, flavours, ingredients to agricultural processing.

Matilda Ho, founder and managing director at Bits x Bites said: “Over the past decade, China has had its foot on the gas pedal to accelerate science and technology development. Just this April, China became the world’s biggest source of applications for international patents. In food and agriculture, Chinese scientists are also some of the most prolific producers of scientific research patents and papers​.”

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