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Asia Pacific: Chinese seek fitness F&B, meal replacement products amid COVID-19, says GlobalData

With obesity suggested and accepted to increase the risk of severe symptoms and complications of COVID-19, 44% consumers in China are reportedly interested and actively buying food and beverage specifically designed to support fitness/exercise.

These health-conscious Chinese consumers are turning to the meal-replacement trend for combating weight management issues and availing proper nutrition, according to GlobalData.

With most gyms closed and outdoors activities discouraged, consumers are seeking other means to manage their weight, stimulating demand for dietary products, such as meal replacements.

Most meal-replacements claim to be low in calories and provide three to six hours’ satiety, which can help consumers lose weight without feeling hungry or risking infection by doing outdoor exercise.

“GlobalData’s research shows that over four out of five (84%) Chinese consumers are extremely or quite concerned about their physical fitness as of December 2020, aligning with the National Health Commission’s report, which reveals that more than 50% of adults in China are classified as overweight and 16.4% as obese,” says innovation researcher Lihong Zheng.

Meal replacements have substantial potential of attracting a wider audience during the pandemic, as they are often marketed to combine low-calorie content with an addition of nutrients vital to maintaining health and immunity.

Following the success of popular meal-replacement brands, such as Smeal Noto, Misszero, beverage brands, Pepsi, Nestle and HEYTEA, have also launched meal-replacement products to capitalize on this trend.

Zheng continues: “Rising health-related concerns will motivate many consumers to make informed decisions regarding weight control.

According to GlobalData’s latest COVID-19 recovery survey, 63% of shoppers in China said that tips on personal health and wellbeing are the information they would like from brands during the pandemic period.

Furthermore, 57% of shoppers in China would like guidance about a products consumption or usage, including health credentials or the effectiveness of its ingredients.