The Sports Nutrition industry is one of the most resilient and dynamic segments in the dietary supplement industry. Over the years there have been occasions that could have spelled its downfall most notably the ephedra products that were used by both dieters and athletes, the DMAA issue in muscle building products and the ongoing issue of nitrogen spiking of protein supplements.
China’s Sports Nutrition Industry Looking for its “PUMP”
China’s sports nutrition industry has not yet reached its potential, which spells opportunity for those looking to expand. However, before it develops it really needs a make over in terms of investment and the creation of standardized business practices. Currently the market has one domestic industry leader, yes I said one. The company’s English name is “Competitor”. Outside of this, one can find most foreign brands many of which are rumored to be smuggled and/or fake floating around China’s vast e-commerce space. There are of course real imports in the market, but the fact that this segment is not fully developed leaves huge areas for the unscrupulous to exploit.
A shining star among those doing it the right way in China is World Health Store (WHS). Since 2007 they have been importing and promoting foreign sports nutrition and dietary supplements in the market.
WHS is unique among its competition as it works directly with the manufacturers of the brands they import. Most distributors in China are buying through wholesalers or other 3rd parties and have no relationship with the brand owners. These unauthorized sellers are one of the main reasons China’s sports nutrition industry is having trouble organizing and reaching its true potential. The overly strict health product regulations certainly don’t help the situation.
New Food Safety regulations for both traditional importing and cross border e-commerce is going to make unauthorized selling much more difficult. Although this is a good thing, it will have the undesirable effect of encouraging those less ethical to simply turn to smuggling.
To view the new draft regulations for cross border e-commerce visit the U.S. – China Health Products Association site HERE.
You can learn more about World Health Store below:
Here are a couple great articles on the sports nutrition industry. The first is more about the state of the global industry and the second is from last year about protein supplement spiking but is still very much relevant.
1. “Taking the Active Nutrition Market to New Heights”, Nutraceuticals World
2. “Pure Protein Products: Testing to Ensure Protein Supplements and Functional Foods Meet Label Claims”, Natural Products Insider
A great resource for companies looking to differentiate themselves through 3rd party testing is to apply for NSF’s Certified for Sport Program. You can find out more information by clicking HERE.