Outlook robust for Asian functionals sector

China experiences a surge in sales of 'beauty foods'

The Asian functional-foods and beverages market is set to grow at a rate of 5.6 per cent a year from $36.6 billion in 2007 to $48 billion by 2012, a new Business Insights report said.

Food and drink products offering beauty benefits look to be the ones to watch. They nearly doubled their share of the Chinese functional-foods market, from 2.3 per cent in 2005 to 5.2 per cent in 2008.

Regulation remains a challenge. In China, for example, there are 27 categories of product-specific health claims, defined as either nutrient-function claims or reduction-of-disease claims. The Chinese State Food and Drug Administration say only 27-33 per cent of all products submitted between 2003 and 2005 were authorised, with just 30 per cent of those approved making it onto the market.

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