Food for thought at the FI Asia-China exhibition

The Food Ingredients China (FIC) exhibition in March saw a strong dairy industry turnout, whereas at FI Asia-China, dairy businesses were underrepresented as usual.

Those in attendance at FI Asia-China proved an interesting mix – Litamilk from Vilnius was predictable; rather less so the presence of the Moscow-based dairy commodity trader Milkow.

China presents fertile territory for specialist foods and ingredients – a good example is the current move from New Zealand's NZ Paradise to target China's oral/throat care market with mints and flavoured chews, which incorporate a patented milk protein ingredient IDP® (natural defence proteins isolated from fresh, pasteurised milk) from fellow New Zealand firm Quantec. 

Chinese diet and health

The conference provided for some informed comment on China's health demographics in the context of the ageing population and "westernisation" of diets. 

One point highlighted – in contrast to the relative healthiness of traditional local diets in many respects – was the problem of high salt intake amongst the country's population. This is linked to the problem of hypertension, and possibly to the fourfold higher stroke mortality in China, which has in excess of 200 million sufferers of this condition. 

A key point is that China has a similar prevalence of the condition compared to developed Western countries but a notably low awareness and control rate. This seems interesting in light of the recent efforts in the US to encourage take-up by that country's food industry of whey permeate to deliver low sodium formulations – if the lobbying for food use approval in China proves successful, this would appear to offer significant potential.