China Focus: How F&B brands can thrive in China, CBEC supply chain woes, Fonterra’s new venture arm, and more

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

China Focus: How F&B brands can thrive in China, CBEC supply chain woes, Fonterra’s new venture arm, and more

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The need for F&B firms to avoid “trap” of easy brand building, plant-based pioneer Haofood to reveal key strategies at Growth Asia Summit 2023, updates on infant formula product labelling, and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

China a ‘trap’ for F&B brands? Why practicality and sustainability need to be top of mind to thrive – expert panel

Food and beverage firms in China need to ensure that practicality and business sustainability are kept at the top of their agenda in order to avoid the “trap” of easy brand building in the world’s most populous market.

This was the opinion of an expert panel comprising Master Kong Beverages Director Junfeng Che, Hosen Capital Founding Partner Chris Wang and Ventech China Managing Partner Curt Ferguson, which convened at the recent Food and Beverage Innovation Forum (FBIF) in Shenzhen, China recently.

“The thing that businesses need to realise is that China is in some ways a ‘trap’ – it is actually very easy to launch and build brands here in this market, and the opportunities are immense, but at the same time, it is not always sustainable to maintain those brands.

“All too often, a lot of emphasis is focused wholly on the brand, but in fact there can be no brand without the presence of a sustainable business model.This includes aspects such as building a base of operations and networks, the ability to resupply to keep stock up to meet consumer demands, and other practical aspects of a business being able to thrive and survive challenges,” ​Ferguson, an industry veteran with over 38 years of experience in Coca-Cola, told the floor.

Creating clean label plant-based products: Chinese pioneers Haofood to reveal key strategies at Growth Asia Summit 2023

The founder of pioneering China plant-based firm Haofood will reveal how the challenges can be overcome to create clean label and additive-free products at Growth Asia Summit 2023.

Under the theme of Trends and Innovation Opportunities Across the Life Stages​, ​the summit will ​explore the latest market opportunities across the region that are driving the growth of the global food, beverage and nutrition industries in Asia.

The summit will take place in Singapore, at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel and conference centre, from 26-28 September 2023.​ 

“Imported raw ingredients” and similar terms banned in China’s infant formula product labelling from Oct 1

Chinese authorities are imposing stricter rules on the infant formula industry, with terms such as “imported raw ingredients” and “imported milk source” banned on all product labelling from October 1, 2023.

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) explained the newly updated Registration of Infant Milk Powder Formula Regulation (婴幼儿配方乳粉产品配方注册管理办法)​ on a press conference held on July 10.

According to the SAMR, the new rules will focus on three aspects, namely introducing stricter requirements on product registration and on-site inspection, standardising product labelling, and promoting R&D across the industry.

China CBEC phenomenon: Tmall Global on overcoming supplements supply chain woes as products hit peak popularity

The cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) sector in China has been growing at nearly 18%, while that of the health supplement industry has been growing at around 6% in recent years.

Overseas supplements sold into China via CBEC can get popular easily, but supply chain challenges are making it difficult for brands to replenish their goods in time, especially when they are highly popular, says Zhou Yuan, head of health products at Tmall Global.

These issues were deliberated in a panel discussion hosted by China contract manufacturer Sirio Pharma during its 30th​ anniversary celebration recently held in Shanghai.

Gut feeling: Fonterra’s new venture arm eyeing China and US investments for microbiome personalised nutrition solutions

Fonterra says the microbiome is increasingly taking centre stage when it comes to human health, with its new nutrition science venture arm identifying China and US as key investment targets for personalised solutions.

The company’s Nutrition Science Solutions (NSS) announced its first investment of US$10 million last month in Pendulum Therapeutics, a US biotech firm developing microbiome-targeted products focused on restoring metabolic health.

Through NSS, it hopes to explore new business models that “go beyond everyday lifestyle and wellness products, looking at the intersect between food, medicine, and technology”.

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