Why China Became The Largest Market For Proteins Supplements?

In the country, we see an increase in demand for supplements and vitamins. And products related to sports nutrition. The market is fast becoming the largest in the world and exceeding that of the United States.

China is facing increasing concerns about the appearance of individuals. These concerns led to the development of the protein market, thanks in particular to new, healthier and more sporting lifestyles.

Whey Protein Market

Whey is a powdered protein derived from milk. Whey is therefore made up of whey but also of casein. For a few years with the craze of fitness, we can see that fitness practitioners often use this type of products.

The product is therefore highly demanded by consumers with a strong health awareness, for athletes with a need for consistent body protein and for infant nutrition. This protein also makes use of substitute for people suffering from lactose intolerance.

The popularity of protein continues to grow in the dairy market and in certain specialized product categories such as infant nutrition, clinical diets, sports and weight training. The market is experiencing rapid growth thanks to innovations in the manufacture and production of the product and thanks to the versatility of the product.

Three consumer segments are identifiable on the market:

Awareness of health over 60 years: Chinese consumers in this age group are becoming more aware and sensitive to their health. Growth opportunities for the brands of the sector are to be developed with this target thanks to products combining wellness, health and naturalness.

Newborns and children: Although breastfeeding is still the most widely used method of feeding newborns, dairy proteins have significant opportunities for this category of consumers.

Fitness lover: China is experiencing an increase and development of its middle class. Individuals are becoming more and more fond of fitness and a growth potential for products like nutritional powders and energy products is found.

The market has many possibilities, with a growing awareness of the health benefits of whey proteins. Consumers are looking for high added value products. This research of quality in the purchase of proteins, lead Chinese consumers to turn to the international protein brands with regard to purchase.

The emergence of the Chinese middle class, the elimination of the one-child policy and the increase of work among women are socio-demographic factors favoring the demand for protein products and infant food products.

The brands of domestic proteins suffer from a bad image following numerous scandals. Consumers therefore prefer to buy more expensive products but are quality warrants and comply with the safety standards that are very important due to import requirements. The preference of consumers for foreign brands to develop e-commerce distribution on the market.

The protein market in China is fast becoming a mature market. To boost this market, brands constantly innovate by launching new tastes on the market. Many players in the segment are developing their strategies to initially develop product ranges in relation to tastes, but also by offering consumers energy-based protein drinks and bars. The latter, is a growing segment in Asia as they respond very well to the lifestyle of Chinese consumers.

And on the other hand, the actors try to attract and reach a new consumer target. For this reason, the brands in the market have been targeting vegan consumers for several years, offering them products that are consistent with their diet.

New law regarding chinese food industry

The SFA (Singapore Food Agency) which is the authority in charge of ensuring food safety and security on chinese soil announced that later this year, they would be adopting a new measure in order to strengthen and unify the current regulatory powers. The new measures will include requiring a safety assessment to be done before any company can sell foods in Singapore.

The SFA will also be allowed to inspect and sample food products, same for other food items. Moreover the new law will continue to enforce companies to inform consumers on the origin of their products by providing clear and detailled packaging labels.

Singapore considers novel foods such as alternative proteins as a mean of complementing traditional meat producers, with the promise of producing large quantities of proteins using smaller amounts of resources in a climate-resilient and sustainable manner.

Protein market : investments

Investments made into the protein market are in increasing year by year, 2020 marked a record as ivestors poured $3.1 billion into the market, thrice as much as 2019, due to higher consumer demand and evolving technologies. The investments are expected to keep on increasing in the coming years.

How to promote your brand of protein in China?

Do you need a Brand in China? I hope you know that. 🙂

The protein market represents a strong growth potential for foreign brands wishing to develop their activities in the Middle Kingdom. Setting up your business in China is not an easy task and it is important to understand the market and its environment to succeed.

In this article, we will present some tools used in the market for the development of your digital strategy. If you have any questions I invite you to just go here for more information.

Chinese Cross-border e-commerce platforms

In developing countries with a huge domestic market such as China, consumers can face many difficulties and barriers in researching and purchasing foreign products and brands at reasonable prices. In order to compensate for the excessively high price charged by domestic cuts on imported brands, consumers use foreign websites or local marketplaces specializing in cross-border e-commerce.

Chinese consumers generally feel reassured by the purchase of products across cross-border platforms because they guarantee a higher level of quality and security in counterfeit products. Something that local brands have not yet come up with.

In 2016, the total value of purchases made online in China is estimated at more than $ 85 billion. In recent years the country has relaxed these foreign product sales reforms, which has led to growth and demand from international brands. The opportunity to sell foreign brands directly in my country has helped to open up many opportunities for different players within the Chinese market. Indeed, this new trade allowed companies like Alibaba and Jingding to launch two cross-border e-commerce giants that are Tmall Global and JD Worldwide.

To enter directly into the market two e-commerce sites are available to you :

Tmall Global is the first official cross-border B2C platform in China and therefore the most famous. Launched in 2014, the platform is part of the Alibaba group and sells merchandise imported only through foreign merchant stores hosted on the Tmall website. By the end of 2015, Tmall Global had more than 5,400 international brands in various categories.

JingDong Worldwide is the challenger of Tmall Global as China’s second-largest online trading platform. The growth segments for the platform are especially in household and electronic appliances. JD has seven execution centers and more than 200 warehouses in China.

The platform has the advantage of operating with more than 5000 of its own delivery and collection stations, a considerable advantage compared to the market leader Tmall since it will accompany and facilitate the introduction of foreign brands on the market.

Marketing via this type of platform is more than compulsory for a brand wishing to enter the Chinese market. Indeed, this method is the simplest and most effective way to start your activities and learn from the market.

To learn more about the registration requirements on these platforms click here.

Establishing a presence in China represents many growth opportunities for international brands. However, the market has a different dynamic from our western countries that it is crucial to understand its mechanisms to meet the expected success.

One of the most common means used by brands is to partner with a local agency to develop a strategy for implementation and communication in China.

About GMA (Gentlemen Marketing Agency)


  • Hello
    We are a Distributor in China of international Brand, and we want to represent Foreign Protein Brand.
    Contact me for more information

    • Pardeepdagar

      Pls send me all protein brands quatation my email id

    • DAvId Rowan

      i am looking to get into the Chinese market and am interested. Can we please discuss the potential market? i have worked for a Packaging company that made USA made products but were specifically made for chinas market. So that being said i work for a nutraceutical company now and would like to make a USA made supplements but obviously make chinses labels. Lets talk if possible and thank you for your time.

      David Rowan

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