Western diet pushes UP obesity levels
A new study on 19,000 Chinese consumers has found that some 18 million adults in China are obese, 137 million are overweight and 64 million have metabolic syndrome.

The researchers, based at Tulane University, link the rise in obesity and metabolic syndrome to growing affluence: the rise in disposable incomes has brought about a dietary shift in favour of branded and packaged foods.

Changing lifestyles and growing urbanisation in larger cities have also contributed, bringing a wider acceptance of newer products and driving sales for foods such as ready meals, pasta and frozen food.

China food industry sales took off in the mid-1990s, quadrupling from under $12.08 billion in 1991 to $48.3 billion just 10 years later. According to new figures from market research and training body IGD, China will become the world?s second-largest food retail market by 2020, behind the US. In 2003, the Chinese food market was 35 per cent of the size of the US market; by 2020 this figure will rise to a considerable 82 per cent.

Just as in Europe and North America, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Chinese adults. According to national data, approximately 20 per cent of US adults has metabolic syndrome, compared to 13.7 per cent in China.

Selenium protein
The Logistics Department of the Chinese army, in cooperation with the China College of Engineering (Beijing), has developed a type of protein with a high content of selenium. Each gram of this protein contains at least 20 micrograms of selenium. The protein is extracted from soybeans with naturally high selenium content.

Candy cabbage
The Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences has cultivated a new variety of cabbage that is red and the taste of which is three times sweeter than regular cabbage. The colour and taste are derived from its high content of carotene, which is also three times that of regular cabbage.

It can be eaten raw and cooked. The new vegetable, baptised ?candy cabbage,? is expected to become available on the market this month.

Extracts from Giract ChinaNews
ChinaNews is a bi-monthly e-publication. Qualitative and quantitative information for ChinaNews is collected regularly from local trade press and government agencies, and supplemented by visits to key trade exhibitions. For ChinaNews subscription details, contact:
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Low-glycaemic rice meal
Researchers at the Jiaotong University (Xi?an, Shaanxi) have developed a type of rice meal containing short-chain sugars, which does not require any change in the production process. The consumption of products made of this rice meal does not increase a body?s glycaemic level as much as regular rice meal foods.

Lutein from bitter gourd
Researchers of the Beisheng Group (Guangxi) are reporting to have found a process to extract lutein from the seeds of bitter gourd.

The process uses supercritical CO2 technology to extract lutein from the offal of bitter gourd processing. The new technology therefore increases the possible sources of lutein and adds value to what has up until now been considered a waste material.

Growth for food ingredients

The China Food Additives Association recently published statistics showing the rapid growth of Chinese food ingredients production. The following table compares the current production of a number of ingredients types with that of 2000.

Product

2000
(in thousands of tonnes)

2004
(in thousands of tonnes)

Flavours

35

55

Colourants

28

260

High-intensity sweeteners

44

99

Polyols

112

360

Protectants

80

105

Emulsifiers and thickeners

60

65

Nutrients

58

125

MSG

700

1200

Citric acid and citrates

340

550

Enzymes

250

365

Yeast

60

80


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