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Health-food business forecast to expand
( 2002-09-26 09:56 ) (1 )

The health-food industry in China is set to gain more momentum amid the country's rapid economic growth, an expert predicted on Wednesday.

Health-food expert Professor Jin Zhonglian of the United University of Beijing said: "Rapid economic growth has led to increased market capacity for health food in China and that situation will continue."

The market for health food in China was worth 17.6 billion yuan (US$2.12 billion) in 2000 and the figure rose to 18.15 billion yuan (US$2.18 billion) last year.

"If a 10 per cent annual increase can be realized in the next eight years, up to the year 2010, the domestic market capacity for health food will be 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion)," Jin forecast.

Jin released the ambitious predictions on Wednesday in a report delivered at the China-ASEAN Workshop on Technology Co-operation of Functional Food, which finished on Wednesday in Beijing.

Specialists from Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered with Chinese agricultural and food experts at the two-day workshop to discuss the potential of so-called functional food and the impact that such food has on human health.

Modern science and technology have brought new recognition to the functions of food and to nutritional ingredients, said Yao Aixing, an official with China's Ministry of Science and Technology, which sponsored the workshop.

"This represents an achievement in that there is now a new awareness of how food can be used to improve the quality of life," said Yao.

Participants at the workshop said that, amid health problems such as obesity and hyperlipidaemia (an excess of fats or lipids in the blood) brought on by modern lifestyles, it has become fashionable to address problems related to physiological adjustment through the use of health food.

China has a traditional food culture, Chinese food specialists pointed out. The concept of "food therapy" already existed in ancient China.



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