Pandemic Places A Spotlight On Keeping Healthy Among China’s Consumers

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 | 2443 Views

The health crisis has underlined the importance of managing diets for better health. In a study published by Nielsen[1], 80 percent of consumers in China revealed that they will pay more attention to their diet, even after the pandemic subsidies. Foods with health claims are a big draw in China, as 60 percent of consumers said they always check the ingredient labels and will not buy a product if it doesn’t seem healthy[2].

This is an encouraging response, as obesity and diabetes has become a major problem in China. One of the likely contributors is the country’s rapid urbanisation, which has led to the rise of hectic lifestyles that are ‘obesogenic’ in nature — identified by easily available, highly palatable foods including convenience foods and snacks with poor nutritional value.

“It is crucial for the industry to start raising awareness of the tangible health effects of having balanced blood glucose levels. This is especially relevant today, as recent research has shown that well-controlled blood glucose levels have a strong correlation to lower mortality rates for patients with COVID-19[3]. As China puts in place measures to continue suppressing the effects of the global pandemic, consumers can also take a proactive step by ensuring that they are in the best of health during this challenging time,” said Christian Philippsen, Managing Director of BENEO Asia Pacific.


The Need To Improve Blood Glucose Management

With ingredients obtained from nature such as the functional carbohydrates Palatinose and ISOMALT, a well as prebiotic fibres such as inulin and oligofructose, food manufacturers can take active steps to meeting this demand from consumers, while helping them to better-manage their blood glucose levels.

Palatinose is a natural, slow-release carbohydrate that is fully digestible and occurs naturally in small amounts in honey. It leads to a slower and lower rise in blood glucose and insulin response, while providing a more constant and sustained energy supply over a longer period. Furthermore, its mild sugar-like taste, can maintain — or even improve — the taste and texture of the final product.


How can food manufacturers adjust to customer needs?

Industry expert Julian Mellentin from New Nutrition Business believes that brand owners with an eye to the future need to be looking hard at the issues. Increasingly, public health authorities are placing an emphasis on people’s diets, and how foods and beverages can help — or hinder — consumers’ ability to manage their blood sugar levels.

Food manufacturers can address this demand, while improving the nutritional value of their products by reimagining its formulation with natural ingredients. For example, by leveraging functional ingredients such as BENEO’s Palatinose, manufacturers can ensure that the carbohydrate energy that enters the body is of a high metabolic quality, and suitable for a healthy diet. Aside from Palatinose, sugar replacers such as ISOMALT are also able to help consumers in managing their blood glucose levels, as it has a low effect on blood sugar.

Manufacturers also have the option of using chicory root fibres such as oligofructose to help promote balanced blood glucose levels. Oligofructose is a prebiotic and is indigestible by our bodies — which means that it supports a lower rise in blood glucose response, while increasing the growth of good bacteria in the gut.


Focusing on a healthier lifestyle

With a growing body of research pointing towards blood sugar management as a powerful tool in the war against obesity, and more consumers now realising its potential, the food and drink industry has an opportunity to embrace a wider range of products that promote health.  China’s consumers are already making the link between blood sugar management and health benefits. Now, it is up to food manufacturers to play an active role in meeting these needs by reassessing and reimagining their product formulation, to incorporate natural and functional ingredients that can provide distinctive health benefits and help to fight obesity and diabetes.





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