China Focus: Probiotic coffee and online sales strategies feature in our monthly round-up

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

China firm ICS Biological Technology (Shanghai) is fermenting coffee beans with a human probiotic strain. ©GettyImages
China firm ICS Biological Technology (Shanghai) is fermenting coffee beans with a human probiotic strain. ©GettyImages

Related tags Coffee Functional food e-commerce China

From probiotic coffee to online sales strategies and the latest scientific research, check out our latest round-up of the latest developments concerning the supplement and functional food sectors in China.

"Probiocoffetics": Chinese company mimics kopi luwak with human probiotic strain

China firm ICS Biological Technology (Shanghai) is fermenting coffee beans with a human probiotic strain​ to reduce the amount of caffeine and increase the beans' nutritional value.

A well-known fermented coffee is Kopi Luwak, which is produced from coffee beans that undergo fermentation when the beans are ingested by civet cats.

Fermentation takes place as coffee cherries pass through the civet’s gut. In the gut, the protease enzymes in the civet break proteins in the coffee beans into shorter peptides and free amino acids.

The process reduces the amount of caffeine in the coffee beans. The partially digested coffee beans are then passed out in the civet’s defecate.

For ICS, the company hopes to produce nutritional coffee with a similar taste without exploiting the civet cats.


Forgoing key e-commerce platforms: How Singapore supplement start-up woos Chinese consumers

Singapore-based dietary supplement start-up, Innoso, is forgoing the popular e-commerce platforms in China​ and is instead depending on its own WeChat online store to reach consumers in China.

Known as Qing Yang Beauty in Wechat, the online shop is reaping growth slowly but steadily.

Selling at RMB$458 per box, daily sales of its flagship product “InnerPur Skinny 3X” – a weight management and anti-glycation dietary supplement -  has grew from 100 sales to an average of 300 to 500 in the past one month, Rebecca Wang, CEO of Innoso told NutraIngredients-Asia​.

Made in Japan, the supplement made of food grade ingredients claims to block body absorption of sugar and fat by 75% to 80%.

The ingredients are all plant extracts, including premium brown seaweed extract Ascophyllumnodusum, fibresol-2, black ginger and water-shield.


The region's leading probiotic and microbiome event — Probiota Asia — will get underway in Singapore this month with a stellar line-up of speakers, including the likes of Blackmores, Danone, Herbalife and Life-Space, set to take to the stage.

Find out how to attend​.

China's probiotic market: Huge interest in products for weight management – Lumina Intelligence data

When it comes to consumer engagement and approval, probiotic products with weight management benefits top the list​ in China, according new data revealed by Lumina Intelligence.

It shows that products making weight claims have five times the number of reviews as other probiotic products.

Launched this week, Lumina Intelligence, part of William Reed, provides insights of high-growth food and nutrition markets, with the probiotics sector being the topic of its first report.

It provides data on a raft of markets, but we have honed in on China, where sales growth is rocketing.

We recently revealed that nearly half of all APAC probiotic sales​ are coming from the country, with its market size tipped to grow from US$8bn today to $15bn by 2025.


Bellamy's announces 37% sales growth, but still waiting for China go-ahead

Infant nutrition firm Bellamy's Organic has announced a 37% year-on-year growth in sales revenue​ to US$236.1m (A$329m) for the 2018 financial year, up from US$172.3m (A$240m) in 2017.

The company's profit after taxes stood at US$30.9m (A$43m), a radical improvement from the previous year, when it posted a statutory loss of US$717,635 (A$1m).

Bellamy's troubles in 2017 were characterised by boardroom drama​ that saw major shareholder Black Prince Private Foundation demanding the removal of four independent, non-executive directors.

This came after a drop in the firm's share prices and its voluntary suspension from trading shares on the ASX, due mainly to China’s new infant formula regulations.


Two dietary patterns show cognitive health potential for underprivileged older adults: Population study

Two specific dietary patterns are positively associated with cognitive function among older adults in developing regions, making them potentially useful to economically disadvantaged individuals.

That was the key finding of a study conducted by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanxi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Linyi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Duke University, and Beijing Union University.

Previous studies have often linked dietary patterns to cognitive function, but the finer details of these associations have not been completely understood.

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