(Yicai Global) July 24 -- "Embrace the new milk powder registration policy!" read a sign above Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co.'s [SHE:002570] booth at the 2017 Children Baby Maternity Expo (CBME) last week.
The phrase, which expresses the feelings of many producers and sellers in the industry, is a response to the Administrative Measures for the Registration of Recipes for Formula Powder Products for Infants and Young Children announced by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) in June last year.
Based on the measures, which provide requirements and procedures for registration of infant formula recipes, the sale of unregistered infant formula milk powder will not be permitted after January 1, 2018. No enterprises' formula is registered yet, and some firms and dealers have become more cautious and anxious.
The 2017 CBME was the last large-scale industry gathering before the deadline. It was highly popular, perhaps due to market uncertainty. Many domestic and foreign milk powder firms attended, and sellers went to inquire about development trends.
Although the list of the first batch of registered formula companies is about to be release, it is a difficult time for the industry, insiders said.
With a few exceptions, all the major domestic and foreign milk powder enterprises set up booths at the expo. Well-known brands including Wyeth, Sanyuan, Yili and Mengniu as well as some smaller brands filled the two exhibition halls. Since the future of formula registration is up in the air, the atmosphere at the venue was different from previous expos.
Companies displayed products that they hope can make it to the Chinese market with the new restrictions. Large-scale milk powder enterprises that have a good chance of passing the registration, including China Mengniu Dairy Co.'s [HKG:2319] affiliate Yashili International Holdings Ltd. [HKG:1230], Beingmate, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. [SHA:600887] and Health and Happiness H&H International Holdings Ltd. [HKG:01112], exhibited new packages they prepared for after their formula registration is complete. To pacify dealers, small and medium-sized milk powder brands showcased receipts proving they are in the process of registering at their booths.
Dealers attended the exhibition in hopes of seeing the industry's policies and retained products, said Wang Dingmian, chairman of Guangzhou Dairy Industry Association. Manufacturers wanted to make an appearance and get their name out there, rather than get orders, Wang said. Many producers showed off new products and packages regardless of if these products can be approved, said Wang.