Organised by the China Beverage Industry Association (CBIA), the conference in Beijing had attracted industry experts, associations, and industry representatives from big corporations, such as COFCO, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Yangyuan, and Reignwood to attend.
Titled “Proposal to make beverage a medium of good nutrition”, the proposal suggested the industry to steer their transformation in the direction of promoting nutrition and health, and to keep up with the “Healthy China 2030” agenda.
“(Setting nutrition and health as a direction) is not just something that the industry does for fulfilling social responsibility, but it is also a requirement from the government units, and is more so a demand from the consumer market. Making beverage a medium of good nutrition is a promising move,” said the proposal.
Beverage fortification and strengthening regulatory standards were some of the ways for the industry to create healthier products, said Ding Gangqiang, director of National Institute for Nutrition and Health, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
On the other hand, education institutions are also willing to collaborate with the industry to develop healthier beverages.
“As a scientific research centre and institute of higher education, (we want to) integrate beverage and innovation with the association,” said Lu Fuping, vice-president of Tianjin University of Science and Technology.
“We will conduct research on how to include nutrition into beverage as per consumer demand, making beverage a medium of good nutrition, and contribute to the upgrading of beverage products and transformation of the industry.”
The industry was also urged to focus on creating new beverage processing technologies that could remove traces of toxic by-product and reduce nutrition loss.
In China, some beverage firms have already launched healthier beverages in the form of no or low sugar products.
For instance, Pepsi-Cola launched the no-sugar Pepsi Black earlier this year and is now promoting the product with product ambassador Leah Dou, the daughter of famed Chinese singer Faye Wong.
CBIA also celebrated its 25th anniversary together with the annual meeting.
Beverage production giant
As of last year, China had produced 180m tonnes of beverage yearly, with production growing by 440 times as compared to 25 years ago, the association said.
There are 2,161 notable firms commanding the Chinese beverage market, with a total main operating revenue of RMB$612.5bn.
The robust beverage market in China has attracted investments from foreign firms.
CO-RO, a Danish soft drink maker, had recently bought over the majority shares of Chinese distributing firm Golden Creation Trade (JKD).
It revealed that China has contributed roughly a-quarter of its total turnover, and aimed to generate a 30% growth in the country next year.