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Focus on food quality set to drive growth

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-24 10:26

Visitors gather at the booth of Alltech at an industrial exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Editor's Note: The Chinese government has adopted a series of measures to boost economic growth, including stimulating consumption, further opening up to foreign investment, supporting private enterprises and encouraging technology innovation. China Daily asked senior executives of well-known multinational companies to share their views on the country's economic development and their companies' business strategies in China.

Alltech optimistic as China's middle-income earners develop taste and ability to pay for premium products

What business opportunities do you see as China continues to pursue higher-quality growth, which is increasingly driven by services and consumption?

As many Chinese people move into urban areas and become middle-income earners, they not only have greater discretionary income but also an interest in upgrading their spending to premium products. Within the agri-food sector, continued urbanization of the population and the demand for "greener", more sustainable products as well as nutritive functional foods will drive growth. The consumer wants to receive the best value for money, which we see being defined as the best quality even if it costs a little more. This trend needs to be supported by continued building of trust and transparency, and the businesses that can succeed in that will be the most successful for the future.

China has rolled out a series of measures to stimulate consumer spending and boost economic growth. What opportunities are there for your business?

We have the capabilities to put our expertise to work for our customers by developing yeast-based nutritional technologies that enable agricultural producers to raise healthier animals and crops more sustainably and provide consumers with safe and nutritious produce, meat, milk and eggs.

With a network and team spread across the world, we have the unique opportunity to see trends that are changing consumer behavior in many key markets. The demands follow similar patterns and relate to transparency in the food chain, product quality and potential health benefits of food. However, the consumer space within China is one of the fastest changing and presents unique challenges and opportunities.

Chinese middle-income earners have developed a taste and ability to pay for premium foods. Our customers in the agri-food sector are diversifying their product offerings to satisfy these consumers' interests, and e-commerce is becoming an increasingly significant channel for the distribution of these high-quality foods. Alltech is supporting both large and small producers of premium foods in their efforts to ensure food safety and improve meat quality and nutritional value.

Overall Chinese economic growth has slowed, but the topline numbers remain relatively robust. In what areas do you plan to increase investment or employment?

In such a fast-growing market that has sustained extraordinary numbers for a prolonged period of time, while serving a very different society today than decades ago, we should expect periods of evolution in the economy. While some sectors may be struggling to adapt, there is still strong demand in the "quality" sector. Change can be difficult, but the direction is clear, and many companies are responding to these new opportunities. I believe we are one of those businesses. We aim to use our global expertise to provide our Chinese customers insights into what the consumer of tomorrow may want. Convenience foods and functional foods and drinks - consumable products with added nutritional value - have been areas of growth in the Chinese marketplace.

Alltech is investing in working with customers and consumers to develop programs that enhance the quality of milk used in functional yogurt drinks, for example. As one of the world's leading producers of organic trace minerals, we can also support our customers in the development of selenium-enriched meat and eggs that deliver greater nutritional value to consumers.

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