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China: Healthy Despite the Hype

June 2013

By Noch Noch Li, Beijing

Contrary to popular belief, Beijing is nowhere near the top-ten most polluted cities in the world. In fact, average air pollution severity has decreased in the last few years from the US Embassy’s own statistics. Despite the numbers, however, there is an acute focus on health from both locals and expatriates alike.

These days, people are more aware of health issues. Consumers are more conscious of the effects of air on their skin, and putting fresh produce into their bodies. The continued economic growth in China means that people can also now afford more products and services.

The younger generation is also more educated, and tests different products instead of just buying brands. The better travelled seek out different organic products for the skin to combat Beijing’s harsh and dry winter, followed by a flux of spring pollen and then extreme, humid heat that follows in summer. Returning students come home for the holidays with new goodies to share, spreading the thought of natural skin care products amongst peers. Spas such as Kocoon and Beauty Farm value the natural beauty and health lifestyle and use mainly natural products.

Better-known overseas natural skincare brands, like Jurlique and L’Occitane, have their own shops in prime shopping malls. Some others, such as Bomb Cosmetics and Skin Food, set up consignments. Nature’s Gate, Olay-- and various brands from Korea, Japan and Europe-- reach consumers via health, or cosmetic stores like LOHAO, SaSa, World Health Store and online shops, such as Taobao.

However, locally made products are in line for a fierce competition. One finds consignments of Organic Touch and Tea & Source showcasing soaps and face masks made from tea, aloe vera, honey, rose and the likes – all using China-grown products.

Whether it is a cup of fresh sugar cane juice from the side of the road, or a mix of fruit juices from Jazcu Juice Bars, demand for natural and healthy products also leaks into the food arena. Organic food products are readily available in supermarkets such as Carrefour, Jingkelong and Walmart.

China is actually one of the strictest countries in terms of organic food authentication food regulation, with every product owning a serial number for traceability back to the farm, and multiple visits to every organic farm to certify products as genuine.

Farmers Market Beijing pioneered support for local farmers, leading to an increase of organic agricultural products. The market also brings local farmers and their goods directly to consumers. Other organic farms, such as Green Cow Farm, Little Donkey Farm and Carrot Farm, deliver right to your doorstep. Shangri-la Farms also make skincare products from its own beehives.


Health & Fitness
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