Wake up in the morning first to a cranberry capsule, eat breakfast with a meal to take a grape seed extract tablets, a bag of women’s comprehensive nutrition package, half an hour before lunch and dinner to a packet of heat control tablets, after the meal to three slimming heat control tablets, half an hour before bed to a bag of collagen nutrition ……
The actual product development work in Beijing, Zhang Yuan is a 90-year-old, she has been taking functional food for three years. The actual fact is that you will have to spend more than two,000 oceans every month to purchase health care products, don’t look at the variety of health care products taken, but each has a different effect, whitening, nourishing, sleep aid, enhance immunity …… in short, is to spend money to buy The health. “
“Beer with goji berries, cola put party ginseng” of ” In 2020, CBNData released the report “2020 Chinese Young People’s Online Health Products Consumption Insights”, which shows that young people after 90 are becoming the new force of functional food purchasers. The new force of functional foods.
Functional foods are foods with specific nutritional and health care functions, i.e. foods that are suitable for consumption by specific groups of people and have the function of regulating the muscles, not for the purpose of treatment.
Many young consumers, habitually functional foods called health products, sounds the same as the elderly sought after “health products”, but compared to the audience groups more for The audience is more elderly people, giving people a “no effect”, “be health care products, but nowadays when talking about “functional foods When talking about “functional foods”, the scope has been expanded to include light meal replacements, low-fat, low-calorie retail, new beverage supplements and other categories, in labeled with a variety of “detoxification and skin care “, “sugar and fat control”, “anti-glycemic After the label of “anti-sugar oxygen” and so on, become a young people’s “Netflix The “net” food.
On the one hand, the post-90s group is staying up late working, eating snacks, brushing up on short videos, while carefully selecting health products such as liver tablets, melatonin, heat control tablets, sleep gummies and other “punk health care method “. On the other hand, in the general trend of consumer upgrading, functional foods also tend to be more of a three-meal and snacking.
Under the pursuit of young people, functional food has ushered in a huge consumer market.
The market size of China’s health food market has been growing steadily in the past five years, according to data from Ai Media Consulting. 2019 market size of China’s health food industry reached 222.7 billion yuan, up 18.5% year-on-year, and is expected to reach 330.7 billion yuan in 2021. Another set of data from the China Business Industry Research Institute shows that the functional food market size is expected to exceed 600 billion yuan in 2022.
In terms of consumer, the “2020 Young People’s Online Health Care Consumption Attitude Insight Report” released by CBNData shows that the number and scale of consumption of young people’s health care sports scene in Tmall has increased year by year in the past three years, and the scale of consumption will exceed 1.5 billion yuan in 2020. Among them, the proportion of young people who are satisfied with only a single type of health care products is getting smaller and smaller, and the growth of young people who buy 4-6 kinds and more than 6 kinds of health care products is most obvious. According to the “2021 Digital Growth White Paper for Emerging Brands” published by Billion Power Research Institute, the post-90s and Z-generation consumer groups account for nearly half of online health care sales.
With the huge market potential and huge consumer group, the east wind of functional food is ready to be launched, and the capital has also smelled the opportunity to enter the market.
According to the professional version of the data of the Tian-eye survey, there are currently 2.998 million enterprises with the business scope of “health food” and the status of the enterprise is in operation, in existence, moving in and out. In 2020, 732,000 new health food-related enterprises were registered nationwide, with an annual registration growth rate of 37.35%.
The data also shows that as many as 345 enterprises have completed financing since January 2020. Among these 345 enterprises, there are many popular enterprises that are currently attracting attention in the market. These include the custom vitamin DTC brand “lemon Box “In January 2021, BUFFX, a functional food brand, completed RMB 10 million Series A financing; in January 2021, Nelo, a functional food brand, announced that it had completed RMB 10 million Series A financing; in March 2021, Minayo, a health food product, completed RMB 10 million Pre-A financing. ……
On Little Red Book, there are 120,000+ notes related to “functional foods”, only the bloggers share There are “gummy health products” that claim to “replenish collagen and whiten collagen gummies”, “antioxidant” The “gummies” shared by bloggers alone include collagen gummies that claim to “replenish collagen and whiten”, lutein ester gummies that are “antioxidants”, and iron gummies that are “blood-supplementing” with different effects.
In addition, foods that are also given “health care functions” include jelly, probiotics and meal replacements. In the present also with the help of Jitterbug, fast hand, small red book and other platforms on the KOL, for product promotion and bring goods.
However, as in the case of Yuanqi Forest, which was overturned in the “sugar-free propaganda” earlier, functional foods are also suspected of false propaganda. According to the relevant provisions of China, the Ministry of Health approved health food pre-packaged food containers (food labels) should have a special health food logo, commonly known as the blue hat.
A number of nutritionists also told Burning Finance that most of the so-called health products that young people are now hot on the market basically belong to ordinary food. “Only in the implementation of the standard for the [health food health word], can be counted as health care products. “
Functional food is still developing at a high speed, especially in the “young people get the world” is held as a guiding principle at the moment, eye on the functional food can be a lot of people, manufacturers hope to earn The manufacturers hope to make a lot of money, consumers hope to exchange for health.
However, this kind of “functional food” banner to play health products rubbish products, there are doubts about its efficacy, the future market direction of how, pending.
Young people seek functional foods
“As long as long-term eating, certainly useful ah. “
Zhang Yuan is a strong advocate of functional foods, she insisted that the effect of functional foods can not only look at the short-term effect, to put a long-term view. “I think I eat these things, physical quality to be much better than before. “
Unlike other young people who take functional foods, before taking these foods, Zhang Yuan did not have too much discomfort in her body, at most she often felt very tired. “Life is so stressful, need to relieve fatigue. And girls, as they get older, all body functions need to be maintained ah. “
The actual fact is that you can find a lot of people who are not able to get a good deal on a lot of things. The actual a lot of people are not only a lot of people, they are also a lot of people.
Slowly, Zhang Yuan was amenable to more and more functional food, now taking nearly ten kinds of health care products every day, in addition to the necessary to eat functional food, but also prepared melatonin, taurine tablets, liver tablets, eye tablets and other functional food only for specific occasions.
“Body health care and sun protection, like, from the young you have to pay attention to, or the older you get the worse the effect. In Zhang Yuan’s opinion, functional foods are not a substitute for disease-causing drugs, and the original intention of taking functional foods is nothing more than a long-term investment in the body.
The same obsession with functional foods as Zhang Yuan is also from Guangzhou’s Ah Zhan, but Ah Zhan is taking products based on functional snacks. “Do not like the shape of pills, capsules and so on, like soft candy, jelly products I like very much. “
Jim is a second-year student, since the graduate school often overnight to catch up with the subject, he has continuous insomnia for up to a year long. “Before seeing a doctor, ate a period of sleeping pills, some improvement, but after stopping the medication and relapse. But sleeping pills to eat more is not good, the second half of last year in the shake of someone to see the BUFFX ‘sleep aid gummy’, and then began to buy to try. “
After taking sleep gummy for a period of time, Jim felt that although the insomnia symptoms are somewhat better but still exist, after the recommendation of friends, Jim began to buy some “immunity-enhancing The “immunity-boosting” function of multivitamin gummies and Konjac jelly. The BUFFX brand, which Jim often buys, has a total of eight products for eight functional directions, which help sleep, refresh the brain, collagen, sugar and oil blocking, sobriety, eye protection, VC supplement, men’s boost and other gaining effects. The price of a single box of the flagship store after coupons ranges from $29-49, and the price per capsule of functional gummy is around $2.
“39 yuan per box, 20 capsules per box, about 2 yuan 1 capsule, the daily amount is 2 capsules, a month down to a hundred dollars. “Jim told Burning Finance, if only taking a product, the monthly income can completely cover, but the problem is that the purchase of too many categories, the accumulation of expenses is not a small amount.
“A packet of jelly price 10 yuan, another vitamin gummy I eat as a snack, 10 yuan a day, will buy protein powder and probiotics, a small monthly expenditure of one thousand dollars. “Jim’s monthly income is only school subsidies and his part-time income, although I want to spend money to buy a lot of functional food, but there is no way, he is now also trying to reduce the expenditure of such products.
For the functional gummy 2 yuan a grain of this price, the consumer A Zi said completely acceptable, “a trip to the medical institution often thousands of dollars to start, if it is really like the introduction of goods can be whitening health care, dozens of dollars a box of functional gummy that is really worth it. “
But Zi still has doubts about the functional gummies launched by brands like BUFFX, Wonder Lab and Nelo. “I bought BUFFX’s eye gummies once because of the ‘amenity’ of Little Red Book, and ate a packet and did not feel any The effect. Of course, I know that the effect of health products is not immediate and must be taken for a long time, but mainly because I personally can not treat gummy as health products, I feel strange. “
Although Zi did not accept the functional gummy, she followed the trend and bought the combination of heat control tablets and enzymes that claimed to be “calorie-free”. The heat control tablets are eaten before meals, and the enzyme jelly strips are drunk after meals, but I personally feel that they do not play any role in weight control, and the so-called laxative effect is not felt at all. This set of products cost Zi nearly three hundred dollars to purchase, Zi ate for three days and then stopped taking.
The company’s main goal is to provide a good solution to the problem. “A little efficacy is not, continue to eat and worry about the body, after all, not anything can just eat. “
Merchants eyeing this blue ocean
Young people hot functional food, behind a huge consumer market.
Previously, according to Titanium Media, Tastewise data show that the global functional food market size of more than $ 275 billion. As the world’s largest functional food market, the U.S. has a product penetration rate of over 75% and a user stickiness of around 50%. China’s current functional food market penetration rate is only 10%, and there is a lot of room for future market growth.
Such an attractive cake has naturally attracted the rush of businessmen. In the market, there are many functional food brands that are popular among young people, including “BUFFX”, “Minayo”, “Wonder”, and “Minneapolis”, which are functional food products. Minayo”, “Wonder Lab”, “Unichi” and Nelo”, “Ruler” for functional beverages, and and “cow hair black black” and other new brands; and Health, Amway and other old health brands are also in the layout of the functional food field, and listed a few functional food; even the Japanese candy brand “Yoha” also down To do functional soft candy.
But the one that has received the most attention in the market is BUFFX, which claims to “eat this candy and add a buff to the good life”. BUFFX, established in April 2020, is a “star company” in terms of the background of its founding team, the degree of capital favor, and the official disclosure of product sales. BUFFX’s main products include
BUFFX’s main products include pre-meal blocking chewable candy, collagen peptide Vitamin C sandwich gummies, lutein ester blueberry eye gummies, VC vitamin C gummies, ENERGY powerful refreshing tablet gummies, SLEEP γ-aminobutyric acid sleep aid gummies, ginger (black) men’s boost gummies and DRINK alcoholic liver gummies. According to the publicity, its products are mainly candy products without added cane sugar, hoping to capture the “punk health” of young people, in the consumer to satisfy the appetite at the same time, but also The product is advertised as a non-sugar added candy product, hoping to capture the “punk lifestyle” of young people, satisfying consumers’ appetites while adding a “buff” to their health.
As previously reported by 36 Krypton, the BUFFX Tmall store was officially operated at the end of October 2020, and the product ranked first in Tmall under the keywords of sleep soft candy within 30 days of its launch, with more than 20,000 units of sleep soft candy sold within two months, and more than 20,000 units of four SKUs sold on average per month within three months. The user profile of the company’s background basically matches the initial target users, mainly young users aged 18-30, with Generation Z being the core users.
Public information shows that from April 2020 to January 2021, BUFFX has received three consecutive rounds of financing, with GGV Ji Yuan Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Plum Ventures and Black Ant Capital betting respectively, with a current valuation of hundreds of millions of dollars.
It is worth noting that most of the core team members of BUFFX are from top-tier Internet companies and consumer goods companies such as Jitterbug, P&G, L’Oreal, Unilever and NetEase, etc. Its founder, Hyper Le, used to work at NetEase and Jitterbug, and was mainly responsible for the Brand studio department when he was at Jitterbug, doing consumer goods research and internal incubation for consumer goods based on Jitterbug’s data. That’s why, according to Le, BUFFX is the most functional brand that understands Jitterbug’s logic, and is able to maximize the effectiveness of its investment through Jitterbug and other short video platforms.
In an interview with the media, Hyperaku said that the company had received investment letters from five institutions, including Sequoia Capital China and Plum Blossom Venture Capital, when it did not have a product or even a PPT, but only determined the category and functional direction.
Unlike traditional health care marketing channels, which are mainly offline, the marketing position of functional food for young people is mainly online.
Not only BUFFX, but all emerging functional food brands have the same promotion model. In Jitterbug, Little Red Book and other major new media marketing positions, cooperation with the head of KOL, private domain operations, this step is indispensable, and brands with sufficient funds can also build a live team in the official media matrix to achieve the initial accumulation of users to retain the brand. “
Contact with BUFFX and other main functional food company team of the brand WangWenJie analysis, this attract young groups of promotion mode in the industry has been quite mature, the key is to choose the right channel to the right content to spread, but in the end, the brand to seize the market also has to rely on burning money.
Burning money to seize the market conclusion, for meal replacement food is “efficacy gain” in order to transform the functional food Zhan Qing, have a deep understanding. Zhan Qing explained that functional food has a natural flaw that is difficult to establish the user’s mind, businesses have to waste energy on the front end to attract publicity, but also with after-sales service to wake up users to repurchase.
“After consumers buy Wonder Lab’s meal replacement products, customer service will allow consumers to add nutritionists to provide consumers with dietary advice, and I do this meal replacement brand, compared to Wonder Lab is more than ever, our team will not only provide consumers with dietary advice. In addition to providing diet advice to consumers, our team will also organize activities such as fat loss camps. Although the repurchase rate is 20%, but the marginal cost of this model is too high, it is difficult to persist. “Zhan Qing said.
But Zhan Qing does not intend to give up this blue ocean of functional food, Zhan Qing told Burning Finance, he is negotiating with a food research team, will be like functional gummy candies also provide more “effects” to meal replacement food “In order to promote growth.
“Young people business is not good, especially this type of functional food, the industry repurchase rate of more than 10%, and to a large extent to achieve this data is also dependent on the after-sales service provided by the product. “Wang Wenjie believes that functional food companies that focus on the market of young user groups do achieve good results at this stage,” monthly sales of only a few million yuan BUFFX, the valuation can be more than 100 million yuan. “
However, Wang Wenjie is not optimistic about the future of this market, in his opinion, the market can continue to be hot, there are doubts.
Is it harvesting IQ tax?
The highly sought-after functional foods by consumers and businesses, how effective are they? These products that claim to help sleep, protect the liver, prevent hair loss and even a gummy contains vitamin ABCD + calcium, iron, zinc and selenium, are they food or health products? How effective are they?
The three products are Minayo’s multivitamin ABCD and the mineral calcium, iron, zinc and selenium; BUFFX EAT and BUFFX SLEEP, according to their respective flagship stores on Tmall. EAT white kidney bean extract non-blocker carbohydrate tablets, the main focus of sugar control; BUFFX SLEEP soothing mood to help sleep.
However, after comparing the ingredient list provided by the official customer service of the above three products, Burning Finance found that although the efficacy of the three products is different and even the brands are not the same, the ingredients ranked first in the ingredient list are sorbitol, maltitol liquid and maltitol, all of which are functional sugar alcohols in sweeteners, and this ingredient is what Burning Finance found in its previous article “Visiting the Yuanqi Forest Factory: Still Expanding Production, Locals This ingredient is the sugar substitute, i.e. sweetener, mentioned several times when analyzing the ingredients of sugar-free beverages on the market in the previous article “Visiting Yuanqi Forest Factory: Still Expanding, Local People Don’t Love Drinking”.
According to the General Rules for Prepackaged Food Labeling, the order of the ingredient list should be arranged from most to least according to the amount of ingredients added, while the core ingredients look at the first 3 positions. At the same time, China stipulates that ingredients added in amounts not exceeding 2% may not be listed in decreasing order. However, after further observation of the ingredient list of the above three products, Burning Finance found that, except for BUFFX EAT, the second and third places in the ingredient list of the other two soft candies are still sugar substitutes.
In terms of real additives, the Brazilian coniferous cherry juice concentrate advertised by Minayo Multivitamin Gummies ranked fifth in the ingredient list, while the amino butyric acid and vitamin C of BUFFX SLEEP ranked seventh and thirteenth respectively.
As for the risk of sweeteners to human health, in the article “Visiting the Yuanqi Forest Factory: Still Expanding, Locals Don’t Love It” previously published by Burning Finance, Kelly Weaver, Master of Epidemiology at the University of Munich, has said that although sweeteners are substances that only give food a sweet taste with very low or no energy, the available epidemiological evidence shows that drinking sweet drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners The risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other diseases is not necessarily lower with the use of sweetened beverages.
Zang Qianyi, a national nutritionist, agreed. Zang Qianyi said that the above-mentioned products are implemented GB17399 “food safety national standard vertebrae – confectionery”, in the standard definition of confectionery is the sugar or syrup or sweetener as the main raw material by the relevant process made of sweet food. The use of nutritional fortification is allowed, provided that the scope of use and dosage requirements of the relevant national standards are met.
In terms of efficacy, the national second-class nutritionist Huang Tingwei said that ordinary candy, the main component is sugar alcohol, sugar alcohol role is not to stimulate insulin, appropriate for diabetic people to eat. But by its very nature, sugar alcohol does not have a sleep-aiding effect. Despite the presence of Y-aminobutyric acid in the ingredient list of BUFFX SLEEP, and the ingredients alone, it does have a sleep-aiding effect. “But we should note that sleep is influenced by a number of factors. “
Zang Quanyi added that the specific contents of various vitamins and minerals were not seen in Minayo Multivitamin Gummies, so it is impossible to judge whether the promotional comparisons it makes are accurate. But there is not enough rigor in the promotional language. In the description of “2 gummies broken down”, it is not clear what nutrient content is equivalent to the fruits and vegetables listed later.
Theoretically, it is impossible for the content in these descriptions to be equivalent to all the nutrients in these fruits and vegetables. In addition, it is not logical to add the names of fruits and vegetables and the names of nutrients (8 minerals, 5 minerals) behind them. “
For Minayo multivitamin gummies product details of the “King of vitamin C”, Huang Tingwei said that it is suspected of exaggerating the ingredients. Through the nutrition factsheet, the vitamin C content of cherries is only 10mg per 100g, and there is no Brazilian cherry in the Chinese nutrition factsheet. And the king of vitamin C fruit is prickly pear.
At the same time, Huang Tingwei said, milk mineral salts contain calcium ions, zinc ions, from a certain point of view is to supplement calcium and zinc, but in the ingredients ranked seventh, the previous one is 0.122%, its content is less than 0.122%, so want to use her to supplement calcium and zinc can not say no effect, but at least need a large amount.
“Need to supplement calcium, a glass of milk and dairy products in the morning and evening does not smell good? Need to supplement zinc every day to eat nuts, 2-3 times a week seafood does not smell good? “In Huang Tingwei’s opinion, Minayo multi-dimensional soft candy can only be called ordinary snacks, but as ordinary snacks are also too expensive, as health food, but also can not meet the requirements of health food.
In the “Ask Everyone” section of BUFFX SLEEP products, many consumers who had bought them said “I eat it is useless”, “is just sugar “. This situation also appeared in the “Ask everyone” section of Minayo’s multivitamin gummies, where one user asked “Is it recommended to buy? How does it work? ” while another consumer who had already purchased it replied directly, “It’s just snack candy “.
An industry insider has revealed in the article “with a candy to meet the white thin beauty, sleep and other needs, when the 90s began to health, functional food industry big year coming” revealed that, because many practitioners in the industry are from the market, most of the products are handed over to the OEM factory production, and the OEM factory on the product development will actually be entrusted to some professional laboratory, but these laboratories do only the research and development of raw materials and not For example, they can develop a new type of raw material, but cannot determine the size of the molecule extracted from the raw material in what range can make it combine well with other substances to achieve the best effect.
In addition, the definition of health food in China clearly stipulates that it is “usually developed and produced for a specific group of people who need to adjust a certain aspect of body function, and there is no so-called ‘for all ages’ that has the same effect on the population. There is no so-called ‘all-ages’ health food that has the same effect on the population”. In the introduction of Minayo probiotic yogurt tablets, it is clearly stated that adults, children and pregnant women can be.
In this regard, Zhang Piece Hong, director of the Department of Nutrition of Zhejiang University Second Hospital, said in an interview with the surging reporter that Article 38 of the Implementing Regulations of the Food Safety Law of China stipulates that no food other than health food shall claim to have health care functions. “Therefore, based on the functional food does not belong to health food, but belongs to the category of ordinary food on the basis of the fact that it is not allowed to promote its so-called efficacy. “
Zang Quanyi said that the nutrients required by the normal human body still have to be taken from the normal daily diet, and must not rely on these candies and all kinds of supplements, which are best used as supplements when some cannot eat normally, or when the body consumes more, and may lack some nutrients.
“To have a healthy body, you still need to develop good lifestyle habits. “Zang Quan Yi bluntly said that these functional foods on the market need to be treated with caution.
*The title image and the accompanying image inside are from Little Red Book. In the article, Zhang Yuan, Wang Wenjie, Zhan Qing, Zhang Yuan, A Zhan and A Zi are pseudonyms
*Disclaimer: Under no circumstances does the information in this article or the opinions expressed constitute investment advice to anyone