China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) made the announcement late last month.
With this announcement, ‘low risk’ health foods listed in the Health Food Raw Material Directory, such as vitamins and minerals, could be registered via the filing route when they are made in the form of gummies and powder.
This development follows a public consultation which SAMR conducted in September last year.
Previously, the approved formats for vitamins and minerals product filing are limited to five types, namely tablets, hard capsules, soft capsules, oral liquid, and granules.
The new rule, however, cannot be applied wholesale to all of the raw materials listed in the Health Food Raw Material Directory, the SAMR highlighted.
Coenzyme-Q10 and four other raw materials that are newly added into the Directory will need to adhere to specific dosage requirements, which are mainly tablets and capsules. The other four raw materials are melatonin, fish oil, spirulina, and Ganoderma lucidum.
Gummy is not approved for any of these raw materials and only Ganoderma lucidum can be made into a powder.
The filing route allows health foods to be registered in China within months and incur a lower fee as compared to the alternative registration route – which is applicable to all raw materials that are not listed in the Directory.
The SAMR also published a list of technical requirements for making health foods into gummies and powder.
One of the major requirements is stating caution statements to remind consumers appropriate usage of the products.
For gummies, it will only be suitable for use in individuals aged four and above.
While the powder format is suitable for use for all individuals, those that can be directly consumed without dissolving it in water are not recommended for use in children six years and below.
Most common formats
At the moment, amongst the key industry players in China, tablets are the most commonly seen formats for vitamins.
For BY-HEALTH, its B vitamins and multivitamins for adolescents are in the form of chewable tablets.
As for vitamin C, the company has formats spanning across tablets, effervescent tablets, and chewable tablets.
Another major player, Centrum, also specialises in multivitamins and zinc in chewable tablets for children, while focusing mainly on tablets when it comes to vitamins for adults.
The brand also has a blackcurrant flavoured gummy vitamin C product for individuals age three and above.
There is a high demand for vitamins in gummy form for children in China, as “snackification” of supplements become more popular.
This is according to Australian brand Nature’s Way, which said that its calcium plus vitamin D gummies and zinc plus vitamin C gummies were part of the top three bestsellers during the Double 11 online shopping event last year.