China Focus: Sustainable packaging, Bits x Bites updates, food safety and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Sustainable packaging, Bits x Bites updates, food safety and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Sustainable packaging, Bits x Bites updates, food safety and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Sustainable packaging, Bits x Bites updates, food safety and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

Sustainable pioneers: Wholly Moly! hopes to shape eco-friendly shift in China with lightweight packaging for oat drinks

China-US wholegrain firm Wholly Moly! hopes to encourage a sustainability shift among Chinese consumers starting with its lightweight packaging for oat drinks.

Wholly Moly! is a subsidiary of Yum Delight, headquartered in US. Its oat-based products ranging from oats, oat bran to oat bran drink are available in China and US through D2C e-retail and supermarkets.  

According to Claire Fang, founder of Wholly Moly!: “China is producing way too much waste during this era of consumption upgrade, I’m hoping more brands can ride on the trend of eco-friendliness​.

‘Exciting potential’: Chickpea protein, ‘clean’ essential nutrients and gene crop editing firms receive funding from China VC

China’s Mojia Bio, Israel’s InnovoPro, and UK’s Tropic Biosciences are the latest firms to receive funding from China VC firm Bits x Bites.

These companies are across the food supply chain, from agriculture, crop health to protein alternatives. Bits x Bites backs start-ups up to Series B.

Food safety overhaul: China announces revamp of national standards for processed and nutritional foods

China is planning to revise safety standards governing multiple processed foods and nutritional ingredients in its latest initiative to battle food contamination and adulteration in the country.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been linked to wild animal consumption, and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed on the importance of food safety for the nation, calling it an important foundation of national security’​.

A recent Lloyd’s Register study conducted on 1,000 Chinese consumers also found that some 87% of these are more concerned about food safety now compared to a year ago – and that the main areas of concern for these consumers were food hygiene (82%) and food nutrition (73%).

China’s dairy boom: Yili pegs post-COVID-19 health demands and tech as key to consumption boost – exclusive interview

Chinese dairy giant Yili believes that local dairy consumption is on an upward curve due to a rise in consumer understanding of its health benefits due to COVID-19, as well as the advantages technology is bring in advancing innovation within the sector.

According to Yili, more and more consumers in China are turning to dairy products due to perceived nutritional and health benefits, a situation that has been accelerated by the onset of COVID-19.

“Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, people are paying more attention to the intake of nutritious and health food, which has further stimulated people's demands for dairy products, [which are] the most commonly selected health food that can effectively enhance nutrition and improve immunity,”​ Yili Innovation Centre Vice General Manager Dr Yun Zhanyou told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

New Retail in China: Why Alibaba’s new hypermarket purchase could pose problems for food brands

Alibaba’s new purchase of a US$3.6bn controlling stake in China hypermarket major Sun Art Retail Group is likely to create a large shift in supplier-distributor dynamics locally – with one analyst predicting it will be brands which may lose out.

Sun Art is one of the largest retail chains in China with 481 hypermarkets and three mid-size supermarkets, and Alibaba has already stated that it is looking to leverage its digital presence to support the operations of these outlets as part of its ‘New Retail’ strategy.

New Retail seeks to move the consumer shopping experience to an integrated online-offline one, and includes strategies such as integrating digital payment methods on both Alibaba websites and physical stores, or turning the latter in to consumer pick-up stations after orders have been placed online.

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