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Jialing ramps up innovation in food and beverage industry



The food and beverage industry in Jialing district, Nanchong, Sichuan province is seeing rapid growth despite the global economic downturn, thanks to the innovative development of local enterprises.

The district is home to 12 food and beverage enterprises above a designated size, and the output value of its food and beverage industry reached 7.73 billion yuan ($1.15 billion) in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 19.91 percent.

Mulberry leaves are usually used to raise silkworms. However, enterprises in Jialing district have turned them into delicious, nutritious and healthy food and beverage products.

Sichuan Shanghao Tea Industry Co Ltd, a national key leading enterprise in agricultural industrialization, has developed a product system based on mulberry tea, mulberry food, mulberry leaf powder, and antibiotic replacement products. The company's sales revenue reached 250.66 million yuan in 2021.

"Since ancient times, the pharmacopoeias have claimed that mulberry leaves have high nutritional and medicinal value," said Liu Lumin, chairman of the company.

The company built a production line with an annual production capacity of 1,000 metric tons of mulberry leaf tea and mulberry tea powder in 2015, the first of its kind in China.


The technical transformation and relocation project of Sichuan Tujiu Baijiu Co Ltd will expand the company's liquor production capacity to more than 60,000 tons annually. [Photo by Peng Chao/China Daily]

To meet market demand, it started the construction of a mulberry industry biotechnology park in 2020, which is planned to have a production capacity of 3,000 tons of mulberry leaf tea and mulberry leaf powder, 50 million cans of mulberry beverages, and 5 million bags of mulberry food a year, with an annual output value of 1 billion yuan.

Liu said the company attaches great importance to scientific research and innovation. It has established a technical research institute focusing on the mulberry industry through cooperation with a number of scientific research institutions, and has set up a provincial academician workstation that boasts two academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

With technical support from experts, the company has formulated the enterprise standard for mulberry tea and food, passed ISO9001 and ISO22000 certification, and obtained 45 independent intellectual property rights (patents and copyrights).

The company's mulberry tea products have been selected as a national gift and presented to foreign leaders twice, according to Liu. The Jialing district was awarded the title of "hometown of Chinese mulberry tea" in 2018.

Sichuan Tujiu Baijiu Co Ltd, established in 1999, has turned into a top 20 raw liquor producer in Sichuan from a small workshop with only a dozen workers. Behind this rapid development is unremitting technological innovation for the past two decades.

Zhai Shenghua, a senior executive of Tujiu, said the company has established research platforms such as provincial-level and city-level enterprise technology centers, expert workstations, and professional studios to enhance its independent innovation capabilities and core competitiveness.


The technical transformation and relocation project of Sichuan Tujiu Baijiu Co Ltd will expand the company's liquor production capacity to more than 60,000 tons annually. [Photo by Peng Chao/China Daily]

The company spent more than 10 years developing "bran-free solid-state fermentation technology" and successfully put bran-free mild flavour liquor into production, which has been designated a dedicated liquor for tasting examination by the China Alcoholic Drinks Association and Sichuan Brewing Research Institute.

Jiufang 20 Years Baijiu, a product of Toujiu, recently won a gold award at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC).

The company is aggressively expanding its capacity with a technical transformation and relocation project, which is scheduled to be put into operation in September.

With a total investment of 1.2 billion yuan, the new facility will have an annual grain processing capacity of 200,000 tons and liquor production capacity of more than 60,000 tons. The annual output value of the new plant is expected to reach 6 billion yuan.

Zhai said the new plant adopts new brewing equipment independently developed by the company. It will not only further improve production efficiency, but also improve the quality of liquor. In addition, the new equipment is more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly and does not discharge sewage.

Local officials in Jialing said the district is striving to expand its food and beverage industry clusters in an effort to double production and sales, and enhance the competitiveness of the industry with strong independent innovation capabilities.

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