Taiwan food icon I-Mei Foods ventures into biotechnology

Company is represented at Bio Taiwan 2018 expo in Nangang

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I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko with guests.

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko with guests. (By Taiwan News)

I-Mei at Bio Taiwan 2018.

I-Mei at Bio Taiwan 2018. (By Taiwan News)

I-Mei at Bio Taiwan 2018.

I-Mei at Bio Taiwan 2018. (By Taiwan News)

I-Mei products at Bio Taiwan 2018.

I-Mei products at Bio Taiwan 2018. (By Taiwan News)

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko at Bio Taiwan 2018.

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko at Bio Taiwan 2018. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – I-Mei Foods Co., which was founded in 1934 with the concept that baking biscuits is an honest profession, has recently crossed over into the domain of biotechnology, setting up two new companies, Health I-Mei (義美生機) and I-Mei Biomedicine (義美生醫).

As I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (高志明) attended the Bio Taiwan 2018 fair Tuesday, he happened to run into Premier William Lai (賴清德) at the head of a government delegation visiting the ATLife long-term care expo.

Health I-Mei and I-Mei Biomedicine said their presence at Bio Taiwan 2018 was aimed at finding a subcontractor for freeze vacuum drying, promoting health products, and finding overseas representatives.

After buying a range of vegetables, the group used freeze vacuum drying to convert them into powder and then turn it into a healthy juice.

As to the growing population of vegetarians, company spokespersons suggested the chia seeds berry drink, which is made out of strawberries, blueberries and cranberries freeze vacuum dried and turned into powder mixed with chia seeds, combining the nutritious elements from both sides.

Each packet contained the necessary nutrients for one day, so even commuters on the run from home to work and back could find the products useful. In addition, they were made with real fruit and vegetables, allowing pregnant women for example to consume them without worry.

Following the introduction of corn, mushroom, strawberry and blueberry products, there were plans to launch cherry tomatoes, figs and raspberries, the company said.

Taiwan enjoys the reputation of being a kingdom of fruit, but farmers recently suffered hardship because of the collapsing prices of many types of fruit. In order to help the farmers out of trouble, I-Mei bought large amounts of fruit such as bananas and dragon fruit. Relevant products are being developed, the company said.

Health I-Mei develops products that are “natural, nutritious, free of additives,” and able to feed people while also maintaining their health, while I-Mei Biomedicine sticks to the concept of “food and medicine from the same source” to extract the most valuable ingredients from natural plants to transform into healthy products.

At the I-Mei stand, an unremarkable silver-colored package sitting next to a stack of chocolate boxes provokes a question about its contents. The answer is clam essence. The product, launched in June, uses selected “la-a” clams from Hualien which have been cooked whole without any processes subtracting from their nutritional value. The only additive is garlic liquid extracted from the garlic in a natural way, so no nutrients have been lost in the process. Still, consumers with a special health condition should first consult their physician or nutritionist before tasting the product.

Posters with large pictures at the I-Mei stand attract the attention with terms such as ceramide, a plant extract which has become popular over recent years. Sesamin, calcium citrate, Agaricus Blazei Murill extract and isoflavone are all similar healthy ingredients. Ceramide is better known overseas and can be extracted for use in cosmetics and drinks.

At present, I-Mei is promoting ceramide as a raw material, but plans are still been made whether it can be used in food products.

Bio Taiwan 2018 takes place at the Nangang Exhibition Center July 19-22, with more than 200 prominent brands promoting their wares at 600 stands.