China is the biggest market for exports of packaged health food

China is the biggest market for exports of packaged health foodApr. 5 – China’s health foods market is worth more than US$144.2 billion, the China Food, Drug Administration had approved a total of 16,573 health food products, of which 15,822 were domestic and 751 were imported. According to a 2016 report, China is the biggest market for exports of health food, dairy, meat, seafood and packaged food, As well as being the biggest overall primary exports market.

China’s health food market offers a huge chances for food export businesses – Following rising health awareness of modern Chinese consumers, ageing population uprising and Chinese tradition, in Chinese culture, meals are supposed to be nutritionally balanced and use natural ingredients, suggesting that health foods would be able to be marketed and assimilate well into local traditions, there is a hot discussion over how changing eating habits can impact public health in China. Today, China is the biggest market for exports packaged food, especially health food, more and more Chinese consumers towards healthy packaged food products.

China food market demands more imported quality products – changing lifestyle and pursuing quality living for the healthier, better life have played a key role in driving the Chinese consumers towards imported health food, China market presents enormous opportunities for foreign imports-exports businesses. There are several China Regulatory Environment and Certifications policy, both social and economic, to guide to the importing health food industry, market preferences and export procedures. In China, food products can be labelled as a “health food” if it applies to one of two categories, according to China related Regulatory Environment and Certifications:

Food with specific health functions – suitable for consumption by specific groups of people with the aim of regulating different human body functions. Function foods cannot be used for treating diseases, but they are usually considered beneficial to health in ways that go beyond a standard healthy diet. For example, New Zealand honey is labelled as a health food due to its antibacterial features and positive effects on the digestive system.

Nutritional supplements – products that contain dietary ingredients used to supplement nutrients for the human body. Nutritional supplements are divided into single-ingredient and multi-ingredient, and include vitamins, minerals, herbs and sport supplements. According to estimates from June 2016, in China’s Health Food market, functional foods accounts for about 65 percent of the market while nutritional supplements account for the remaining 35 percent.

Health Food Certification – In order to be legally sold in China as health food, every functional food and nutritional supplement needs to obtain the Health Food Approval Certificate from the CFDA. Implemented on July 1, 2016, the new ‘Administrative Measure on Health Food Registration and Filing’ released by CFDA stipulates the registration and filing procedures and requirements for all health foods produced or marketed in China. Manufacturers who plan to sell health foods in China must either have an official office in China or appoint an authorized agent to obtain the certificate for them. If the product ingredients are not listed in the ‘Catalogue of Health Food Ingredients’, or if the product has been imported and does not contain vitamin or mineral supplements, then the registration procedure will require additional steps and scrutiny.

To register a health food product, applicants are required to submit the following materials:

  • the product’s R&D report;
  • product’s formula and related documents;
  • production process and related documents;
  • safety and health care evaluation report;
  • three samples of the packaged products for sale; and
  • additional documentation required when the Health Food is imported into China by an overseas manufacturer (such as the standards applied in the country of manufacture).

The process takes between 85 to 95 working days. The Health Food Certificate is valid for five years, with applicants needing to apply for renewal six months prior to expiry. For China’s Health Food Market Report 2017-2021 available upon request, please contact with DCCC, or email to: