China Focus: Craft beer growth, MissFresh expansion, Mengniu's sustainability initiatives and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Craft beer growth, MissFresh expansion, Mengniu's sustainability initiatives and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Craft beer growth, MissFresh expansion, Mengniu's sustainability initiatives and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Craft beer growth, MissFresh expansion, Mengniu's sustainability initiatives and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

Craft beer in China: Brewery-backed app wants to mirror US category growth trajectory

A brewery-backed online platform providing information, ratings and reviews on craft beer in China is on a mission to grow the category, which currently accounts for just 1.5% of brews sold in the country.

Established by Shen Kai in 2015, Jiuhuar is said to be China’s first beer application to promote and develop the craft beer culture in the country, and now has more than half a million users.

It provides information on more than 9,000 bars in China, over 23,000 craft beer on its database, more than 200,000 reviews, and includes a discussion zone on the platform for consumers.

Shen told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that craft beer consumption in China only began about a decade ago, even though around 80% of Chinese consumers drink beer.

Neighbourhood retail: China’s MissFresh on expansion spree with online grocery delivery service

China online fresh grocery retailer MissFresh is aiming to expand into another 30 to 35 cities in five years, following its latest launch in Ningbo city in East China.

This expansion is in line with its strategy to continuously expand its distributed mini warehouse model (DMW) network, which is now available in 17 first and second tier cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

It currently operates 570 DMWs across the cities, and intends to open 25 more in Ningbo this year.

Film stars: Mengniu first China food firm to use recycled resin packaging as sustainability demands rise

China dairy heavyweight Mengniu has become the first firm in the domestic food industry to use recycled resin shrink film for the secondary packaging of its dairy products.

The company has partnered with packaging and materials science firm Dow for this to meet growing Chinese consumer demands for more sustainable packaging.

According to Mengniu Dairy Packaging R&D Director Frank Wang, the firm has billions across China and the rest of Asia that use plastic, and the company is looking to reduce its environmental impacts as part of its sustainability commitments.

“Mengniu has a great vision for sustainability, where we have made a promise to lead consumers towards a Healthier World – and shifting towards more sustainable packaging is a critical part of that,”​ Wang told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Forest of the ocean: Seaweed consumption in China driven by increasing urbanisation and dietary knowledge

Increasing urbanisation and growing consumer knowledge of nutrition appears to be fuelling the rise of seaweed consumption in China, with researchers reporting an uptick in its use both at home and in dining establishments.

Conducted by researchers at the Huazhong Agricultural University in China, they found households living in urban areas consumed more seaweeds on average than those in rural areas.

In addition, residents with higher dietary knowledge were likely to consume more seaweed. Edible seaweed is a sustainable and nutrient-rich food, containing dietary fiber, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It also sequesters large amounts of carbon in the ocean, combating climate change.

Many studies on seaweed focus on nutrition, disease, and aquaculture, so this is the first study on seaweed consumption in China, focusing on the effects of urbanisation and dietary knowledge.

Food oil fraud: China issues warning about adulterated and blended sesame oils

The Chinese government has published new consumer guidelines focused on sesame oil, in which consumers have been warned to look out for adulterated or blended products over fears of food safety issues.

The guidelines were published by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), calling upon consumers to pay more attention to food labels when making sesame oil purchases.

“Sesame oil is one of the most traditional edible oils used in China which is highly popular with consumers due to its a strong fragrance – these guidelines have been issued in order to ensure that consumers are able to safely purchase this based on scientific principles,”​ said SAMR via a formal statement.

“It is first important to read the nutritional labels when buying sesame oil – to be called sesame oil, the main ingredient should be sesame and sesame only, not including any other type of oil or vegetable oil. All others should not be labelled as sesame oil."

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