by Philexport News and Features

15 September 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE demand for healthy packaged food is increasing in China amid obesity concerns brought about by the consistent growth of income levels, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The Euromonitor Digest, the online publication of the Export Management Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said obesity exposed the unhealthy diets of most Chinese consumers, particularly the young generation who generally prefer fast food to match their rapid pace of life, leading them to gradually recognize the importance of a healthy diet.

“Demand for ‘better for you’ packaged food benefited from these concerns, with consumers looking to better control their weight and blood glucose by consuming better for you packaged food with lower salt, sugar and fat contents,” it said.

The report noted one of the major new product trends in “better for you” packaged food was the introduction of reduced sugar products, as consumers more strictly control their intake of sugar in case of overweight issues, among others.

The senior generation in China also seeks reduced sugar products due to the high incidence of diabetes, it said.

“Accordingly, by launching sugar-free or reduced-sugar series, manufacturers are better able to serve these senior consumers and therefore help them maintain a healthier diet,” it added.

The report particularly cited reduced fat dairy-based yoghurt that registered the most dynamic retail value growth in “better for you” packaged food in 2017.

The entire yoghurt category also witnessed rapid development last year, largely thanks to its image of health and wellness in the mind of Chinese consumers.

“Considering the increasing consumer desire to keep fit, reduced-fat yoghurt was even more popular as an aid to both digestive health and weight management,” it added. “These trends are set to continue over the forecast period, maintaining the strong growth of the category.”

The report also underscored the educational role of social media wherein professionals in nutrition are also able to share their insights on healthy and nutritional diets through official accounts on social media platforms.

“This has contributed to improved education on the significance of a balanced diet and thus provoked greater interest in better for you packaged food,” it said.