Healthy ageing: Nestle China launches company’s first set of ‘blue-hat’ certified health foods for seniors

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Individuals over 50 years old are the major consumers of health foods in China, according to Nestle China. ©Getty Images
Individuals over 50 years old are the major consumers of health foods in China, according to Nestle China. ©Getty Images

Related tags Nestlé health science China elderly

Nestle China has launched its first set of ‘blue-hat’ certified health foods for seniors – a milk powder containing glucosamine and a probiotic protein powder.

The former claims to increase bone density and is designed to satisfy seniors’ demand for increased mobility while the latter is said to support the immune system. 

The ‘blue-hat’ certification and logo are only given to health foods that are approved via the registration track. This procedure has more stringent requirements on the products’ scientific evidence and takes years to complete.  

The alternative – the filing track – is a quicker route to market but is only applicable to functional ingredients listed in the Health Food Raw Material Directory.

Both products are new additions to the brand Nestle Yiyang (怡养) – a series that specialises in nutrition for the elderly as well as middle-aged adults who are over 45 years old. 

Existing products under the Yiyang range consist of 1) the Daily Care Range and 2) the A2 Smart Care Range. The products are targeted at maintaining bone health, intestinal health, heart and brain health, as well as improving the immune system. 

The new glucosamine milk powder contains calcium, vitamin D3, and high-quality proteins for joint protection, increasing bone density, and muscle strengthening.

It has been clinically researched by Nestle and Peking University Third Hospital and has been found to increase mobility and quality of life in seniors as well as individuals with joint discomfort.

The trial involved 54 adults between 45 and 65 years old. During the trial, they had to consume two cups of the glucosamine milk powder - equivalent to 50 grams - per day. 

"After six months, satisfactory results have been achieved. Walking distance was increased by six per cent. Balance ability was increased by 40 per cent. Flexibility of the legs increased by about 18 per cent, and knee pain was reduced by 42 per cent," ​a spokeswoman from Nestle China said. 

The findings are pending publication in a scientific journal, she said. 

On the other hand, the probiotics protein powder uses the Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus ​LGG probiotics strain, together with whey and soy protein.

"Milk powder is a healthy and tasty choice for consumers and it is easy to swallow. At the same time, supplements in the food format can reduce the psychological burden of consumers [of having to take pills and capsules],"​ the spokeswoman added.

Both products are made in the company’s Heilongjiang facility as part of its plans in realising local sourcing and manufacturing of health foods.

Nestle Yiyang glucosamine and probiotics protein
Nestle Yiyang glucosamine milk powder (left) and probiotics protein powder

“Leveraging the advanced technology and research findings from Nestle’s R&D team, Nestle Yiyang has created nutritionally holistic health foods made with better technology for the seniors.

“We hope that these two innovative health foods will promote the high-quality development of China’s health and nutrition industry,” ​said Angelo Giardini, senior vice president at Nestle Greater China.

Individuals who are 60 and above made up 18.70 per cent of China’s entire population, up 5.44 percentage points from 2010, said the country’s latest population study released in May.

Nestle added that there was a significant growth in the number of individuals suffering from symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

Citing a study by Tang et al, ​the company said there were over 100 million individuals suffering from symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

China’s health foods market is worth over RMB$170bn (US$24.9bn) and individuals over 50 years old are the major consumer group, according to Nestle.

Sales channel 

The new products will made available both online and offline, with pharmacies highlighted as a key offline channel. 

"Pharmacies are important for offline sales. Our new products will enter the Da Shen Lin chain pharmacy in Guangdong Province, a large chain pharmacy channel, which has about 5,000 stores in South China,"​ the spokeswoman said.  

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