UK investment in 'healthy' wolfberry wine

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Wine made from the Chinese herb wolfberry - long associated with a
variety of health benefits including its use as a preventative
against diabetes and impotence - is in line for a marketing push
after receiving UK investment.

The private equity investor, Actis, has invested $10 million in China Wolfberry Holding, the company which manufactures and markets the "healthy" wine under the Ning Xia Hong brand.

"Traditionally wolfberries and various products made from the herb have been felt to prevent various diseases, such as diabetes,"​ Adam Quarry a partner at Actis told NutraIngredients. Though he was unsure to what extent China Wolfberry's new marketing campaign would focus on specific health claims.

Instead, the company seems to prefer to sell its products using the general solgan, "a sip a day, healthier ever day"​.

At the moment the wine is sold mainly to supermarkets throughout China, including Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Lianhua and Home World.

Quarry said that there are currently no plans to try and sell these products in Europe or the US.

"The focus is on China and people of Chinese origin living in Asia,​ he said.

The alcoholic beverage market in China is changing with high alcohol grain-based spirits being superseded by wines and lower alcohol products. Wolfberry wine is comparable to a western wine with an alcohol content of 12 per cent.

"Capitalising on the trend towards healthy drinking, Ning Xia Hong has built a leading and recognized brand that is trusted by consumers,"​ said China Wolfberry's CEO, Mr. Jinshan Zhang. "Actis has helped us with our business strategy, restructuring plans and strengthened our management team.

Moreover, with the Chinese market for alcoholic drinks worth an estimated $6.5bn a year, convincing even a small portion of drinkers to switch to wolfberry wine could yield large financial returns.

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