Ms Wang DeYing, general secretary of the China Biotechnology Association, remarked that the market for dietary fibres in China was not growing as fast as other food ingredients despite its high nutritional value.
She pleaded for the authorities to work closely with the industry associations and local companies to boost the popularity of dietary fibres.
Ms Wang told FoodNavigator-Asia.com that while domestic production of nutritional fibres such as soy, oats, wheat, etc had been growing at around 39% annually; domestic consumption of dietary fibres, however, had been remained low.
Total domestic exports of dietary fibre from polydextrose, inulin, soy fibre to oat fibre stood at 23,000 tonnes this year, according to China Association of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.
Regulation and awareness campaign urged
Members of the Dietary Fibre Association believe that government needs to step in to improve the state of the dietary fibre production with legislation, policies and regulations that would help expand local consumption.
Mr Kobe Wang, general manager of Shanghai-based Winway Group, a company that produces polytextrose as an ingredient for various food products, felt that authorities could do more to encourage the consumption of dietary fibres locally.
Since Winway was set up ten years ago, its business has been primarily for exports of food ingredients. Local demand was however, negligible.
He said that consumers were not ignorant of the health benefits of dietary fibres, adding that and a national health movement initiated by the government would boost the growth of the local dietary fibre industry.
Traditional diets in China had mainly consisted of high fibre grains and vegetables, typically a low-calorie, high fibre diet.
But growing urbanisation in China has led to the higher consumption of more meat, diary, eggs and considerably less fibre.
Mr Alan Zhang, product and technology manager of Nong Fu Duo Wei, a fruit and vegetable fibre production company based in Xuzhou, claims “a big push from authorities” would significantly bolster the dietary fibre industry.
One suggestion he had in mind would be “health legislation or regulation on the use of dietary fibres”. He told this publication that a hike in demand from consumers could help to expand local production as well as improve innovation and technology in dietary fibres.