Room for growth? China-approved Foods for Special Medical Purposes tops 50

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

There are now 51 Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) approved for sale in China. ©Getty Images
There are now 51 Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs) approved for sale in China. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Foods for special medical purpose, China

The total number of Foods for Special Medical Purpose (FSMPs) approved in China has now exceed 50, helping to boost what e-commerce giant JD states in one of the fastest growing nutrition sectors in the country.

Three new products were added into the approved list late last month, one of which was from Chinese firm Yabao Pharmaceutical, a new entrant to the market.

Its product Wei Yuan Su caters to individuals above 10 years old and are experiencing difficulties with oral feeding, metabolic issues, and problems with digesting and absorbing nutrients.

The other two products were catered to infants 0-12 months old, namely Alfamino by Nestle Nederland for infants sensitive to protein, and Beingmate’s Shu Li Le, catered to infants sensitive to dairy protein.

Information from the Special Food Information Query Platform showed that there are now 51 FSMPs approved in China. Thirty are from international brands.

FSMPs are in the spotlight recently following cases of mum-and-baby product stores in China selling unauthorised products as FSMPs.

It is also one of the fastest-rising categories​ in the country, with a yoy growth of over 100%, according to leading e-commerce firm JD.com. Bestsellers are mostly from established brands such as Abbott and Nestle.

Attention on the industry

During China’s recent annual conference ‘Two sessions’, one of the National People’s Congress representatives, Li Jie, had suggested ways to advance the sector in China.

Li is also the chairman of the director’s board at Hubei-headquartered Humanwell Healthcare.

First, he suggested the authorities to provide a more comprehensive assessment and approval process, so a greater variety of FSMPs could be introduced into the market to meet different consumers’ demands.

This is because the bulk of FSMPs at present are catered to infants, with very few options for those with medical needs.

“At present, there are over thousands of FSMPs product types globally. The annual consumption value is between RMB$56bn (US$7.9bn) and RMB$64bn (US$9bn), the market size is growing at 6% each year, but this segment has just opened up in China,” Changjiang Times​ quoted Li as saying.

As such, Li urged the authorities to consider the actual needs, and make appropriate amendments to beef up the existing framework.

Second, he advocated further support for nutrition research to help the country catch up with gaps seen in this area.

For instance, he said there could be more efforts on nurturing talents specialising in clinical nutrition research, form support groups, and develop risk assessment framework to diagnose nutrition-related problems. 

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