China focus: Lockdown’s impacts, Bifidobacterium strain approval, and Swisse’s offline growth

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The flag of China. ©Getty Images
The flag of China. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, lockdown

Here is a round-up of new developments in China’s health and nutrition industry, including the lockdowns’ impacts on businesses, the approval of a Bifidobacterium strain for use in infant foods, and Swisse’s offline retail expansion.
China approves Morinaga’s Bifidobacterium strain for use in infant and toddler foods 

China has approved Bifidobacterium longum ​subsp.longum ​BB536 – a flagship probiotics ingredient of Japanese firm Morinaga Milk – for use in infant and toddler foods.

It was only last year that the Bifidobacterium longum ​subsp.longum ​species was approved for use in food. Prior to that, it was Bifidobacterium longum ​that was approved.

China’s Food Safety Standards and Monitoring and Evaluation department under the National Health Commission (NHC) made the announcement​ this month, following a one-month public consultation last November. 

Golden Root extract supplementation might improve sporting, exercise performance – systematic review

The supplementation of Rhodiola rosea (RR), also known as the Golden Root, might improve sport and exercise performance, says a new review.

The study, conducted by researchers from China, found that the botanical could reduce oxidative stress, muscle pain, and promote muscle recovery.

Data also showed that there was no obvious adverse reactions from the intake of RR.

Renewed lockdowns in China creating many short- and long-term effects

The renewed lockdowns in China has affected the global supply of botanical ingredients, says a number of local and overseas nutraceutical firms.

For example, ingredients typically shipped in a chilled or frozen state have been affected, due to new regulations on shipping refrigerated containers into China.

“Also, the facilities to handle these containers in the ports are so overcrowded that one can’t ship them in. This affects products such Bilberry and Cranberry that are often shipped as frozen whole fruit for extraction in Chinese facilities. Both of these are in short supply,”​ said Cal Bewicke, president of ingredient supplier Ethical Naturals Inc.

Offline expansion: Swisse reports strong China growth with products on shelves in 57,000 stores​ 

Swisse has reported a strong double-digit growth and an offline reach of about 57,000 stores in China as of Q1 this year.

The brand under Health and Happiness Group (H&H Group) has also been increasing its number of products sold in China via normal trade.

This is done by registering the products either as general foods or ‘blue-hat’ certified health foods.

China dairy growth: Rising consumer income and increased functional product innovation yields large leap

China’s dairy industry witnessed a large growth in per capita consumption in 2021, backed by rising consumer incomes and firms responding to current trends with the development of functional products.

Last year, the per capita consumption of milk in China was 14.4kg, a significant increase of 10.6 per cent from the previous year, data from the Dairy Association of China (DAC) has shown.

The Chinese government has been actively pushing for consumers to increase their dairy consumption​, with four major local dairy industry associations forming a set of guidelines for dairy consumption locally and constantly pushing its health and nutritional benefits.

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