‘The Fourth Meal’: What’s driving Chinese demand for Australian products and ingredients?
Chinese consumers are now more than ever scrutinising the quality and safety of health products - and the source of their ingredients. The current climate amongst Chinese consumers is one of scepticism. Last month, two Chinese pharmaceutical companies were found to be selling large numbers of ineffective infant vaccines, sparking panic over infant safety. Consumer trust in medicines that are manufactured in China continues to decline, with people now flocking to Hong Kong to receive childhood immunisations.
This concern is extending into the nutrition and health supplement categories. Consumers are increasingly pursuing transparency around product labelling and educating themselves about the provenance of nutritional ingredients. As mirrored in other markets, Chinese consumers currently have a higher interest in products containing ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ certified ingredients.
Australia’s reputation for high quality manufacturing and use of responsibly sourced ingredients, along with strong consumer trust in the Australian brand, is fuelling demand for Australian products and ingredients in China. Satisfying this demand is likely to be even more achievable with the recent China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Reinforcing the reputation of exceptional quality and efficacy associated with the Australian brand, Marinova remains the supplier of choice to world renowned research institutions and some of the most recognised companies in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical sectors.
So popular is the daily intake of dietary supplements in China that it has been coined the “fourth meal”. Supplements, multivitamins and functional foods are now part of a trend to include in everyday dietary routines. Driving this high consumption of supplements is recognition that the majority of the Chinese population have imbalanced diets (where essentially the food guide pyramid has been inverted). Health experts have widely acknowledged that many consumers are now lacking crucial nutrients, vitamins and minerals in their diet. Increased intake of processed food and insufficient availability of fresh and natural fruits and vegetables also attributes to this issue, as food consumption rates in China soar.
An additional driver for health supplements is the increased focus on health by the younger generation. Generations X and Y are seen to place a greater importance on nutrition and show willingness to spend money for premium health products. According to Beijing Daily, Chinese customers are likely to spend 30% or more for healthy and high-quality foods and products. Looking ahead, the Chinese healthcare market is predicted to grow at double-digit rates to reach 80 billion US dollars in 2020.