China review: The Top 10 most-read China food and beverage stories from 2023

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Read our top 10 most-viewed food and beverage stories from China throughout 2023.
Read our top 10 most-viewed food and beverage stories from China throughout 2023.

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Read our top 10 most-viewed food and beverage stories from China throughout 2023, featuring Kraft-Heinz's regional plans, Mengniu's RTD protein focus, the government's 'Excellent Milk' project and more.

Salt and sugar reduction: Kraft Heinz says China, Indonesia plans key part of APAC ESG commitments

Global food giant Kraft Heinz revealed salt and sugar reduction projects for major markets such as China and Indonesia earlier this year, with the firm stating its nutritional strategy is a key part of its regional sustainability commitments.

Sustainability and corresponding ESG commitments have emerged as key business and growth strategy components for many multinational food and beverages over the past few years – many focus on environmental or labour issues, which are seen as lower-hanging fruit.

Kraft Heinz opted to focus a large portion of its efforts on improving consumer nutrition, starting with the reformulation of products in several of its well-known brands.

Protein boost: Mengniu believes China dairy growth lies in RTD protein innovation

China dairy giant Mengniu highlighted its belief that the direction for domestic dairy growth lies in the development of localised protein product innovation, especially in the form of ready-to-drink beverage formats.

The interest in dairy amongst Chinese consumers has grown since the Chinese government and local industry associations identified this as a crucial source of nutrition in line with the national Healthy China 2030 objective several years ago

Driving domestic dairy: China’s ‘Excellent Milk’ project pledges further quality and safety advances

China’s national ‘Excellent Milk’ project has said it is on track to implement further quality and safety advances to locally-produced dairy amidst initiatives to slash reliance on imports.

China has spared no expense in the development and revitalisation of its dairy sector in the past several years, and the Excellent Milk project was launched in 2016 under the supervision of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) with a targeted focus on practical research areas relevant to dairy sustainability.

The project was responsible for developing an advanced standards ‘excellent milk’ system covering various quality and safety parameters, and most recently it also unveiled an Excellent Milk logo for successful dairy companies.

‘Large brand, small awareness’: Nestle China banks on consumer confidence and core capabilities to overcome major dairy challenges

Nestle China has stated its hopes to capitalise on consumer confidence in its longstanding brand as well as its capabilities to overcome the challenges faced by its dairy business.

Although Nestle is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world with one of the most extensive product portfolios, the firm is still facing significant challenges in the vast China market when it comes to its dairy business.

“Nestle faces two major challenges in China, the first being market penetration,”​ Nestle Greater China Senior Vice President and Dairy Business Executive Officer Rebecca Wang said.

Booze boost: New Kirin data reveals China domination of global beer consumption rankings

Data from Japanese brewery giant Kirin has revealed that China has topped global rankings for beer consumption and shown significant growth even amidst a general downturn in consumption in many Asian markets.

According to Kirin’s latest Global Beer Consumption Report covering findings from 2021 about beer consumption in 170 major markets worldwide, China emerged as the largest beer-consuming country in the year with a total of 38.1bn litres, taking up 20.5% of the global market share.

This was no mean feat as it was seen to not only be the largest global consumer of beer but also one of the only major Asian markets to see an increase in consumption - by 5.6% - amidst significant decreases in many other regional markets.

Protecting trade secrets: China revises wine labelling regulations to protect domestic manufacturers

China published new draft regulations for wine labelling standards in the country earlier this year, with an emphasis on protecting domestic firms’ trade and formulation secrets while maintaining strict food safety standards.

Based on findings from a three-year long study conducted by a working group comprising the China Food Science and Technology Society, China Food and Fermentation Industry Research Institute, National Food Safety Risk Assessment Centre and the China Alcohol Industry Association since 2019, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) published a new set of draft regulations to govern local alcoholic product labelling.

Energetic expansion: China’s EastRoc Beverages sets sights on South East Asia as new key export market for best-selling energy drinks

Energy drink giant EastRoc Beverages set its sights on South East Asia as a key export destination this year after having established itself as one of the largest brands in China, planning to retain its original best-selling recipe for its initial entry.

EastRoc is one of the largest energy drink brands in China, but has largely remained a domestic brand over its 35 years of operations.

Plans for aggressive export expansion several years back were forcibly halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but after borders reopened this year the firm actively put these into action.

Time to comply: China issues guide for food firms to meet ‘excessive packaging’ rules

The Chinese government published a guide for food firms trying to meet its new excessive packaging regulations, urging industry players to ensure they are fully compliant.

China has been steadily working from a policy perspective to combat what has been dubbed the ‘excessive packaging’ phenomenon locally for several years, starting with regulations to restrict the use of excessive material in packaged food and cosmetic products in 2021, and strict bans on the packaging material for festive foods in 2022.

Fresh foods and agricultural produce as well as foods purchased via e-commerce also came under the  limelight with a new set of guidelines issued earlier this year in September.

‘Not a quick win’: China’s plant-based brand Youkuai on collaboration crusade to crack the world’s largest consumer market

The China plant-based sector has lost ‘some of its hype’ and is far from a ‘quick win’, claimed one of the category’s pioneers in the country even after announcing  a significant new distribution deal earlier this year.

Shanghai plant-based brand Youkuai recently partnered with Beijing-based Usource, which specialises in distribution for meat and plant-based brands in North China, to expand its B2B2C distribution across China.

Prior to that, Youkuai handled its own distribution – with B2C channels spanning WeChat, JD.com, and premium markets, and B2B in restaurants, hotels and catering to private schools, corporate canteens, and hospitals.

Fortified future? China set for mass fortification of staple foods to combat deficiencies – consultation open

China opened considerations earlier this year to mandate mass nutritional fortification for various staple foods in order to boost public health and combat nutrient deficiencies.

The China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) outlined a detailed proposal to mandate the nutritional fortification of a wide variety of staple foods in the country, including food groups such as dairy, rice, wheat flour and vegetable oil.

“Expert discussions have concluded that there is a need to implement a mass fortification of certain nutrients in [food products], with a focus on nutrients that Chinese consumers are relatively deficient in,”​ CFSA said via a formal statement.

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