China News

Kudingcha tea on the rise
Kudingcha (also known as kudintea) is a Chinese medicinal herb from which a tea-like infusion can be brewed. It has been gaining popularity recently. Production is concentrated in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, with a total annual output of 300 tonnes. Its current domestic market price is $48-60/kg and the export price is approximately $60/kg. Chinese experts are conducting research to improve the yield of kudingcha per hectare.

Fruit tea
Maowang Industrial & Commercial Co Ltd (Tangshan, Hebei) has developed a new type of fruit tea in co-operation with ?r?mqi Wild Fruit Technical Development Co (?r?mqi, Xinjiang). The main ingredient is a type of plum, combined with ginger juice, honey and licorice. According to inventors, this product can be drunk while consuming alcoholic beverages, to decrease the unhealthy effects of the alcohol. It is also attributed to a number of other medicinal functions.

Registration centre opens
The State Food & Drug Administration, the newly established Chinese counterpart of the US Food and Drug Administration, has installed a registration centre for health foods. This function was taken over by the SFDA from the Ministry of Public Health and started operating in October.

CPP-enriched dairy
Haihe Dairy Co (Tianjin) has developed a range of dairy products enriched with casein phosphopeptides (CPP). The research has been conducted in co-operation with Tianjin Commercial College. CPP stimulates calcium absorption by the human body and can also be used as a carrier for minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium.

Vitamin water
Yangshengyuan Industrial Co (Shenzhen, Guangdong) has launched a new type of sports drink, which is marketed to help maintain a good physique. It is enriched with a number of nutrients, including vitamins C and B, taurine, enositol and dietary fibre.

Green tea wine
Wanli College (Zhejiang) in co-operation with the Ningbo Agricultural Technology Laboratory (Ningbo, Zhejiang) has developed a process to produce wine from green tea. It will be marketed as a functional beverage.

Imports and exports go up
Recent customs statistics show China?s imports and exports of Western medicinal ingredients climbed for the period January to April 2004. Imports rose 22 per cent year-on-year to $2.68 billion while exports increased 14 per cent to $2.16 billion. Supplements and pharmaceutical raw materials continue to lead export categories at $1.98 billion, an increase of 14 per cent over the same period in 2003, with exports of proprietary Western medicines and biochemical materials accounting for $176 million of the $2.16 billion in total exports. The top three export products were vitamin C (17,600 tonnes — $96 million), citric acid (115,000 tonnes — $58 million) and vitamin E (10,100 tonnes — $58 million).

Western raw material imports lead total medicinal imports, rising 27 per cent to $2.2 billion. Imports of proprietary Western medicines and biochemicals accounted for $479 million of the total $2.68 billion. The top 10 importing provinces and municipalities were: Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Beijing, Fujian, Zhejiang, Shandong, Tianjin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang. More than 8,500 companies in China are importing supplement and medicinal raw materials, and demand is expected to increase.

Calcium from egg shells
Researchers at the Faculty of Food Technology of the Jilin College of Cereal Science (Changchun, Jilin) have developed a process to produce an active calcium supplement from egg shells. It is said to have a much higher bioavailability than regular calcium supplements.

Colours for health liqueurs
The central government has issued a directive stating that alcoholic beverages should be coloured. This document has caused a stir in the Chinese industry. Most current tonic liqueurs and other distilled liquors marketed as having a certain medicinal functionality are colourless, to diminish the perceived difference with the traditional Chinese distilled liquors, called ?white spirits? (baijiu) in Chinese. Manufacturers fear this measure will lead to a decrease in the consumption of health liqueurs.

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