On November 20, 2019, roughly 80 representatives from 52 companies/organizations (including Blackmores, Bayer, Bellamy's organic, DSM, Pharmcare, Lactalis) gathered at Darling Harbor, Sydney to attend Chemlinked’s annual offline event – the 2nd ChemLinked Food Regulatory Conference.
The conference was hosted by ChemLinked, in collaboration with Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), Infant Nutrition Council, Australia Grape and Wine, Wine Australia, Export Council of Australia, Dairy Australia, Australia National Measurement Institute. The goal of the conference was to help Australian and New Zealand companies to better understand China’s business environment, trade policy, product compliance, as well as the latest social media marketing strategies.
Revised Infant formula and FSMP Standards Are a Cause for Concern for Industry
Yuanzhao Yu, food compliance specialist of REACH24H Consulting Group, analyzed the revisions to China’s infant formula and FSMP national standards, the latest updates to GAC facility registration requirements, SAMR formula registration as well as their impact on food enterprises. The amended standards of infant formula were opened for public consultation and have not yet been published officially. According to Yu, the standards are expected to be released in 2020 and enter effect in 2021.
Health Food Industry Seek New Strategies to Enter China Amidst Stringent Supervision
2019 witnessed seismic reforms in China’s health food sector. Severus Zhang, a regulatory consultant of REACH24H Consulting Group, introduced over ten government documents regarding health food labeling, ingredients, functions, evaluation, advertising, and registration/filing published in 2019.
In recent years, no international companies have successfully registered health food in China. Most companies are looking to bypass registration by adopting product development, regulatory and market positioning strategies that avoid products being classed as health foods but still target the consumers that purchase health foods.
Yini Jin shared thoughts on blue hat products and “non-blue hat health-related foods” and outlined some compliance strategies to avoid classification as a health food for fortified foods bearing nutrient function claims, foods for special dietary uses, general foods with functional ingredients bearing nutrient content claims on the label, etc. At the end of her discussion, Jin analyzed the compliance strategies of several trending foods, including products fortified with probiotics and prebiotics, products fortified with fiber, high protein and keto foods, and foods containing trending bioactives like lycopene, reserveratrol, etc.
Harnessing China's Digital Economy: Omnichannel marketing, KOLs, and New Retail
ChemLinked invited China marketing guru Jo Ruo from United Media Solution to help overseas brands catch up on the latest marketing strategies to boost sales in the Chinese market. She analyzed the features and the pros/cons of different social media platforms like WeChat, Tik Tok, Weibo, Red, and Taobao. She gave instructions on how to select KOLs for marketing (top KOL, middle KOL, long-tail KOL) based on budget and company situation.
There were one-to-one consultation breaks at the conference. The most frequently asked questions were on dairy product manufacturer registration, organic infant formula, the timing of new infant formula standards, cross-border e-commerce policy stability, and the impact of new laws on daigou.