The company said the increasing awareness of self-care, rising living standards, ageing population, and healthier lifestyles of Chinese consumers had created a large opportunity for China’s health food market.
According to a PWC report, China’s health food market will increase by RMB 100 billion (US$14bn) by 2022. Research data from Hong Kong Trade Development Council showed total sales of health food in China amounted to RMB290 billion in 2018.
The scope of health foods include dietary supplements, vitamins, sports nutrition and weight management nutrition.
Jasmine Pan from the corporate communications department at Bayer Consumer Health China said the spread of internet across the country have provided better purchasing experiences for health foods, as well as making imported health foods more accessible.
“We have witnessed the increasing demand of health food in lower tier cities and counties over the past years,” she said.
Wei Li, head of Bayer Consumer Health China Development Centre told NutraIngredients-Asia: “Sports nutrition and personalisation of nutritional supplement are trending in the health food category (in China).”
Hence, the R&D centre will focus on formulation and analytical development to produce new health foods to help consumers achieve better care in their daily health, said Wei.
She added the centre would house professionals from different scientific disciplines, such as pharmaceutical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, pharmaceutical engineering, etc to innovate health foods and accelerate new product launches.
“The Chinese consumer is evolving in a fast pace. China merits its own dedicated R&D facilities as we could be able to access local knowledge in terms of the consumer, the retail environment and to support local brands as well as introduce our global power brands to China,” said Sharon James, head of research & development at Bayer Consumer Health.
Agreeing, Wei added that opening in China was the right move as China is the growth driver for the company in APAC and globally.
Apart from health foods, Bayer Consumer Health is also involved in supplying non-prescription (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements and other self-care solutions.
The centre in China is one of the four major R&D centres for Bayer Consumer Health globally.