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Functional Food Companies See Big Opportunities In Increasingly Health Conscious China

December 14, 2010: 04:47 AM EST

Beset by a rise in chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, Chinese consumers, especially women and the elderly, have turned to wellness foods and beverages, whose sales in 2009 were $1.5 billion, up 28 percent from five years ago. Multinational food giants Nestlé SA and PepsiCo and other companies have begun to mine the health food market opportunities in China. A new Quaker oatmeal product, for example, contains the traditional Chinese folk medicines wolfberry and tremella, a fungus thought to benefit the skin. Nestlé is clinically testing five new functional food products, including a mulberry yogurt for diabetics that regulates blood sugar. And, according to Euromonitor, Chinese consumers spent $9 billion on meal replacements, vitamin pills, sports nutrition products and other dietary supplements.

Laurie Burkitt, "Selling Health Food to China", The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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