It took the company over two years to get through China’s stringent regulatory process.
It recently launched gel candies containing DHA Algal oil, along with two other products containing milk minerals and mushroom powder in China.
Marketed under the brand name “Nuhaka”, the supplements meant for young children, are branded and distributed by China distributor Shengshi Longyuan Import & Export Trading Co Ltd based in Heilongjiang.
In the case of DHA Algal oil gel candy, schizochytrium, a seaweed approved by the China authorities, is used as the source for DHA, Unipharm’s Asia marketing manager Charon Lee told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“In China, food safety is a big issue, thus consumers trust in export products from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand…We have received many requests for New Zealand products,” Lee said.
Although the raw material is sourced within New Zealand, Lee shared the company conducts strict quality check before they are added into the inventory for manufacturing purposes.
The final product, gel candies each containing 100mg of DHA, undergoes another round of quality check.
“There are many things which we need to show, such as health certification for customs clearance in China.”
In the first quarter of this year, China has already imported US $17.71 million worth of fish oil, a source of omega-3, according to Zhang Zhong Peng, director of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE).
Besides DHA, dairy, collagen drops, and goat milk tablets are also popular with the Chinese customers, Lee shared.
Currently, 70% of Unipharm’s B2B customers are from China, a major market for them.
“Two to three years ago, China consumers form 60% of our customer base. The market is growing very fast, as more are becoming health conscious and are willing to spend on health products,” she said.
Recently, industry experts warned that despite regulatory hurdles, foreign firms should not only rely on cross-border e-commerce but diversify their sales channel to include physical stores.