China focus: Infant nutrition scandal, probiotics for asthma control and more

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

See some of the latest developments in China's health foods industry. © Getty Images
See some of the latest developments in China's health foods industry. © Getty Images

Related tags: China

This round-up looks at the latest China infant nutrition brand scandal, how probiotics can improve asthma control, and market developments from big brands, including BY-HEALTH and Nestle.
‘Cynicism and disappointment’: Infant nutrition brands face credibility challenge after latest China scandal

Both local Chinese and foreign infant nutrition brands in China are urged to “push hard on safety cues and messages”​ in light of the recent infant nutrition scandal happening in the country, according to an industry expert.

This is on top of safety fears sparked by the devastating spread of COVID-19.

China is once again at the spotlight of an infant nutrition controversy​ earlier this month following reports of infants and toddlers suffering from skull deformities and eczema after consuming a protein powdered beverage marketed as an alternative infant formula.

Probiotics may improve asthma control in infants – China systematic review

While probiotic supplementation cannot prevent asthma or wheezing, it may improve lung function and asthma control in infants, according to a new systematic review.

Published in the ACTA Academiae Medicinae Sinicae​ – a Chinese scientific journal, the review​ was conducted by researchers from the Nursing School of Shandong University.

They analysed 12 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that studied probiotics and asthma prevention available on databases such as PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library.  Another six systematic review on probiotic intervention on asthma treatment were also studied.

‘Move for the future’ New logo and packaging for BY-HEALTH’ to revitalise VDS business

BY-HEALTH has refreshed its brand logo and product packaging​ in a bid to revitalise its vitamins and dietary supplements (VDS) business, at the same time as reporting disappointing revenue figures for the first quarter of the year.

One of the key objectives of the revamp is to push up the total volume and growth rate of its VDS business, said the firm.

“This is not merely BY-HEALTH’s brand upgrade to meet evolving trends, it is more of an industry leader’s pre-emptive move for the future,”​ the company said. 

Quality, ingredient list and assurance seal most important to Chinese consumers - USP

The top three purchase criteria​ for dietary supplements among Chinese consumers RE product quality (79%), ingredient list (60%) and quality assurance seal (53%), according to data from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

China’s increasing middle-class and health-conscious population coupled with its rising ageing population have led to a growing demand for dietary supplements. Daxue Consulting projects the vitamins and dietary supplement market in China to reach RMB168bn (US$22bn) this year.

However, in a country that has experienced significant food adulteration issues, it is not surprising that the safety and effectiveness of supplements were important to Chinese consumers.

Personalised superfood solution: Nestle assess further APAC launches for nesQino after China Tmall debut

Nestle is conducting consumer testing​ with a view to expanding its customisable 'superfood' drink product, nesQino, to more APAC markets, after an initial launch in China via e-commerce platform Tmall.

nesQino consists of a machine, three base sachets (smoothie, oat shake, milk shake), and seven superfood sachets. Consumers can mix and match the different sachets to create 21 different superfood drink recipes.

The nesQino sachets are extracted from fruits, vegetables, roots, and microalgae, with no additives or preservatives.

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