China Focus: Healthy food more valued on New Year's dinner table

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-22 13:46:49|Editor: Wang Yamei
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BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, also known as "reunion dinner" and believed to be the most important meal of the year for Chinese, is becoming more and more healthy.

According to a report on consumer and retail trends in China in 2019 by research firm Nielsen Cooperation, 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for natural material. The preference for healthy products is also reflected in the Spring Festival market.

"Farm-to-table" consumption is booming, sending more products from their places of origin directly to people's dining tables.

According to statistics from Alibaba's Tmall shopping platform, a total of 190 million kg of agricultural products have been sold nationwide during this Spring Festival shopping season.

"I buy food directly from the source for its better quality, higher nutritional value and fewer chemical additives," said Chai Long, a 28-year-old worker in an Internet company in Beijing. "Thanks to the development of the Internet and the logistics industry, we can eat fresh meat, vegetables and fruit directly from farms."

Consumers in physical markets also shared his views. "Green food" was snapped up by consumers at a market for spring festival goods in Beijing, where farmers from poor areas sell products from their farms.

For example, a type of lamb meat from Zhangjiakou in north China's Hebei Province was favored by consumers. According to the seller, the lambs grow up eating wild vegetables and have never received chemical injections.

Consumers' appetite for healthy food has also spread to the import market. Beverages with higher nutritional value, including camel milk, low-calorie plant milk and fruit and vegetable juices, have made their way to the top of people's shopping lists for the upcoming Spring Festival, according to Tmall International, Alibaba's online marketplace for imported goods.

High-end health care products are also favored in the Chinese New Year markets, according to statistics from China's e-commerce giant

New ways of making healthier dumplings, a traditional Spring Festival food for Chinese, have been suggested by an expert.

Guo Lixin, with the National Gerontology Center, suggested putting cornflour or sorghum flour into white flour while making dumpling wrappers or using buckwheat flour or mung bean flour instead, to include more dietary fiber.

He also suggested chopping the filling as large as possible to preserve more dietary fiber, and adding olive oil or corn oil into the filling instead of animal oil.

For diabetics who like to drink dumpling soup, Guo suggested minimizing intake as the soup contains a lot of refined starch and oil from the stuffing.

"We used to eat food with high fat in the past during the Chinese New Year," said Liu Shuping, a 60-year-old retired woman who lives in Beijing and cooks for her family. "Now with people's living standards improved, people are more concerned about eating healthily at the Chinese New Year feast."