In Hong Kong, one can find around twenty small boutiques in the subway, with the name Health Works - Chinese Urban Healing Tea; some of them with also a dining area. Crossing their threshold one enters an extraordinary universe: food products based on traditional Chinese medicine. You discover products based on herbal teas, herbs, fruits - guaranteed free of preservatives and artificial colouring - in “responsible” packaging. Prices range from 16 $HK to 56 $HK (1.6 to 5.6 €).
The products change with each season – because in Chinese medicine food requirements are linked to organs and seasons. For example, the "spring" selection aims at facilitating the functions of the liver.
The boutique provides advice aplenty, and explains the origin of the products as well as the philosophy behind traditional Chinese medicine. Their nutritional principles are described and the benefits of each product are written on the packaging. The approach is thus both educational and responsible.
Founded in 1989 under the name Tong Zhi Tang, the company changed it to Health Works(hop) in 2000. Its products are also distributed in 1,500 sales outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores. I find this concept very interesting - very modern, one that might have been conceived in Europe or the USA: the brand has chosen an approach that is sustainable and responsible, positioning it at an affordable price and preferring a local distribution network. At a time when there are very strong fears about food safety in China, and where the government supports the development of domestic brands, it is reasonable to believe that Health Works will grow rapidly in the continent.