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Opportunities for Fish Oil Products under China’s New Health Food Regulation Framework

Fish oil products started to gain traction amongst Chinese consumers in the nineties. The ability of fish oils to reduce important cardiovascular disease risk factors (triglycerides) and its other strong associations with improved cognition, memory, joint health etc. have elevated fish oils to one of the most popular food categories in China. According to data from CBN cardiovascular health is the most important consideration for elderly health food consumers and fish oil products are the second most popular health food product amongst the middle aged and elderly population.

According to “Health Food Registration and Filing Administrative Measures”, fish oil products bearing functional claims on the label (e.g. reduce triglycerides) currently require registration. However pending changes to regulatory compliance requirements could see fish oil as an active ingredient added to the list of approved health food raw materials which would mean in future, fish oil health foods would only require filing (entails greatly reduced regulatory compliance requirements which translate to expedited market access and greatly reduced investment requirements).

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