China Focus: Wholegrain brand Wholly Moly, new-age plant-based beverages, Pinduoduo and more feature in our round-up

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Wholegrain brand Wholly Moly, new-age plant-based beverages, Pinduoduo and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Wholegrain brand Wholly Moly, new-age plant-based beverages, Pinduoduo and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Wholegrain brand Wholly Moly, new-age plant-based beverages, Pinduoduo and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

Fibre power: China’s Wholly Moly! expects sales to double this year with oat bran-containing products

Shanghai-based wholegrain product brand Wholly Moly! is anticipating sales to more than double last year’s sales as it looks to offer Chinese consumers a healthier alternative to refined carbohydrates.Wholly Moly is a subsidiary of USA-based Yum Delight, and achieved sales of RMB$100m (US$15m) last year. It manufactures a range of wholegrain products, mostly containing its ‘hero’ ingredient, oat bran.

Claire Fang, founder of Wholly Moly established the company in 2015 and launched into the market in 2017 to encourage more wholegrain consumption, specifically bran, into the Chinese diet. 

Beyond soy and food service: China’s second-generation plant-based beverages to tap on new ingredients and RTD format

Consumer interest in plant-based diets has led to increased innovation in plant-based beverages in China, as new ingredients overtake soy, and new format opportunities emerge in the form of ready-to-drink.

Already the biggest consumer of plant-based beverages in the world at 18 billion litres, the majority of consumption is still in loose format, especially soy milk. In this case, loose format is non-packaged soy milk sold in the market or on-premise eateries.

Ratanasiri Tilokskulchai, marketing services director at Tetra Pak APAC told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “As consumers are seeking for healthy options, convenient lifestyle and new experiences, we see growth opportunities for ready-to-drink products that offer consumers clear health benefits and great taste​.”

Confidence amid complexity: Pinduoduo and A*STAR seek to improve fresh produce contaminant testing

Chinese e-commerce firm Pinduoduo (PDD) and Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) are developing a cost-effective way of testing for contaminants such as pesticides in fresh produce – in an effort to boost consumer, retailer and manufacturer confidence.

The collaboration first began in April 2020, which was also the time SIFBI was newly established under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore (A*STAR).

The research project aims to leverage machine learning to develop a lower cost, faster, yet accurate method in testing for pesticide residue.

PDD is China’s second largest e-commerce platform in terms of users (only behind Tmall), and is one of the largest platform for agricultural produce. In 2019, PDD facilitated sales of almost US$20bn of fresh produce on its platform.

GI China: Alchemy Foodtech eyes major new market opportunity after first Singapore product launch

Singapore food technology firm Alchemy Foodtech has its eye on China as a potential major market opportunity after the successful local launch of its GI-lowering Alchemy Fibre, with a variety of other GI-lowering products to follow.

When we last spoke to Alchemy Foodtech in 2019, the team had just opened its own laboratory​ Cooklab@Alchemy. A year and a half on, it has moved into the product commercialisation phase with its first product Alchemy Fibre – formerly known as 5ibrePlus - targeting the GI-lowering of regular rice.

“We have developed more than 10 different blends of Alchemy Fibre to be used for different types of carbohydrate foods, and this first launch is a powder blend for rice which will lower the GI of any rice it is added to without changing taste or texture,” ​Alchemy Foodtech Chief Food Fighterand Co-Founder Verleen Goh told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Mid-year import report: China demand up by a third with big hikes in seal oil, bird's nest

China imported dietary supplements worth US$2bn, up 32.1%, with a new report highlighting edible bird’s nest and seal oil as categories with big growth.

The latest report​ released by China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMPHIE) detailed the country’s export and import of dietary supplements, with a focus on finished products, in the first six months of this year.

China’s total dietary supplements exports as of June was worth US$990m. This is a 10.4% increase from the same period last year.

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