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Exporting Functional Foods and Supplements to China: Crafting a Market Entry Strategy

Smart money uses a dual market entry strategy that takes advantage of the short term opportunities in the CBEC space while simultaneously channeling profits to buffer the expenses and time investment associated with full regulatory compliance. China’s 27 predesignated risk reduction health food labeling claims requires companies with existing products sold in other international markets to essentially reverse engineer their products to generate the data necessary for product registration in China. This is unfeasible, invariably leads to delays and failures and is part of the reason why we see an average of only 10-20 successful registrations from international companies per year in a market estimated to be worth 20+ billion US. Based on the previous point, an optimal (non-CBEC) market entry strategy would encompass an initial bespoke new product development step using Chinese health food national standards as the reference. Use of Chinese epidemiological data (gross mortality rate e

Defining the scope: The best way to understand a health food

To begin this article it would be remiss of me not to define the scope of what is considered a "functional food" and "nutritional supplement" in China. First of all both functional foods and nutritional supplements are classified as “health foods” in China, which are a specific category of food clearly defined within China's Food Safety Law and regulated using Chinese national standards and a host of associated administrative measures. Health foods also fall under the umbrella category of “special food” which also includes infant formula and foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs). Health foods are subdivided into 2 broad categories namely health food proper and nutritional supplement (vitamin/mineral).

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