Fish Oil-Derived Omega-3s Meet Chinese Approval for Use in Food


China’s Ministry of Health recently approved omega-3 fatty acids and powder forms of DHA derived from fish oil as Novel Food Ingredients fit for use in all food and beverage categories in the Chinese market. The decision comes more than two years after leading omega-3 ingredient manufacturer Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd. (ONC) sent a submission for approval of omega-3s to the Chinese government late. ONC currently distributes its ingredients in China through its partner Ruihua Hexin International, and plans to open a marketing office in Shanghai to meet the increase in manufacturer demand for omega-3 functional ingredients that is expected following this approval by the Chinese government.

The Chinese market has some experience with DHA in functional foods, as the ingredient had already received approval for use in baby formulas, but this broader approval should allow omega-3 to grow in other categories. Although fish has long been a staple within the Chinese diet, shifting eating habits in western regions of the country have altered this paradigm, creating an opening for omega-3 supplementation. China has rapidly gained share in global supplement sales in recent years, representing the world’s fourth largest supplement market in 2008, according to NBJ research, and the Ministry of Health’s recent approval will help pave the way for growth in China’s functional food and beverage industry.

NBJ Bottom Line

China continues to open niche after niche in its nutrition market, which, according to NBJ research, grew to $12 billion in 2008, and promises to grow larger as the country’s enormous population ages and its middle class expands. For a full look at China’s nutrition market, an essential resource is NBJ’s 2010 Global Nutrition Industry Report, which provides a complete overview of worldwide opportunities, trends and regulatory hurdles for supplements and other nutrition products. The report is also replete with original market analysis and interviews with executives and CEOs from leading international firms and trade organizations.

Also be sure to look over NBJ’s 2009 Global Nutrition Industry Overview double issue for in-depth coverage of China and the rest of the world. To become an NBJ subscriber, please visit the NBJ subscription page.

Related NBJ links:

China Remains Poised to Become the World’s Next Top Supplement Market
NPA China Helps Lead Charge in Protecting Industry’s Supply Chain
GNC Partners with Chinese Food Conglomerate, Looks to Capitalize on China’s Booming Supplement Market

Related Functional Ingredients Magazine link:

China Passes New Food Safety Law

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