SupplySide China 2018

June 28-30, 2018 • Area B, China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China

04/26/2018

Chinese start-up seeks to bring broader wellness benefits to China’s booming sports industry

A Chinese firm is tapping into China’s fast-growing sports nutrition market by educating consumers on healthy habits that should continue outside the gym.

China’s sports and fitness industry has been consistently recording annual double-digit increases, and is expected to grow more than three times to US$786bn by 2025.

Now, Well and Fit is tapping into this trend by educating consumers that more can be done to improve their health and wellness.

Founder Frank Zhang told Nutraingredients-Asia​ that many Chinese exercised mainly to improve their appearance but paid insufficient attention to their overall health.

“In the past few years, many people have started going to the gym, or practising yoga or other sports. Many of them do so because they want to lose weight and look good. While burning extra calories may change the physical appearances, embracing a healthy lifestyle is more than just working out.

“People have different definitions of healthy living, but it certainly should include healthy eating, personal well-being and a balanced lifestyle. When it comes to eating properly, most people don’t have the proper resources or knowledge.

“If people can pay attention to and control what they eat, not only it will be evident physically, fewer people would fall ill.”

A sustainable model

It is precisely this gap in knowledge that Well and Fit was set up to address. Zhang hopes to educate consumers on what he calls ‘sustainable healthy living’.

The firm’s target demographic is those aged 25 to 35, who tend to be more keen on living better and who are more open to making lifestyle changes.

‘Sustainable healthy living’, he said, entailed individuals beginning with small steps and making changes that suited their respective lifestyles.

To help consumers on their way to eating better, Well and Fit sells snacks such as dried fruit from South Korea, chia seeds from Mexico, nuts from Australia and coconut oil from Thailand. While common in many countries, such foods are not yet widely consumed in China.

Zhang said, “Well and Fit products are mostly non-perishable, many of them being ‘superfoods’. We encourage people to eat green, fresh and high-quality meals, and also use various superfoods as general, pre- and post-workout snacks to support their diet.”

In addition to its products, the company shares articles on health and nutrition with customers via messaging app WeChat.

Zhang said these articles come from editors who have a background in food, nutrition and fitness, as well as personal trainers and nutritionists who provide added professional information and guidance.

Growing business

According to Forbes​, Well and Fit’s followers have increased by 300% since its inception. Many of its early followers were expatriates, but after the firm started sharing Chinese-language content, the number of local Chinese customers shot up by 400%, taking the ratio of expats to locals to 60:40.

Well and Fit has also partnered with other wellness firms, such as Australia’s F45 Training Studio and Singapore’s Guava Pass.

Zhang explained that this was meant to help customers find a community of likeminded people, where they could find support and support others.

In addition to F45 and Guava Pass, he said his firm had “teamed up with regular gyms, studios, and cross-fit boxes, and we plan to also reach out to more wellness vendors”​.

Operations and expansion

Well and Fit currently employs just four staff, who work mainly on content, social media, and events.

A dedicated web store is in the works, but at the moment, sales are conducted via WeChat, and the firm is “expanding to more channels this year”​.

In terms of expanding outside China, Zhang revealed: “Over the next few years, we want to bring more products and expand our community events to more Chinese cities.

“We definitely want to operate outside China one day and offer unique healthy foods that are difficult to find in each specific market. There are many high-quality Chinese superfoods people outside China might like.”

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