SINGAPORE – Increasing consumer focus on health and personal wellbeing have led to many food and beverage companies reformulating their products with functional food ingredients to cash in on the trends. In the latest FHA Insider Special report, ‘Healthy trends driving demand for functional food products in Asia’ released today, industry experts shared their insights into the growing market for functional food ingredients.
The report, developed by FHA-Food & Beverage, the largest international Food and Beverage (F&B) industry event in Asia, examined how these trends are driving demand for certain functional food products such as juices and dairy products. Research from Euromonitor International found that increasing incomes across the Asia-Pacific region is spurring demand for more premium products, and food companies developing and pushing products and flavours using exotic and healthier ingredients.
Aileen Supriyadi, research analyst for Euromonitor noted that fortified ingredients are being incorporated into various product categories such as savoury snacks and juices.
Co-founder of Remedy Kombucha, Australian kombucha producer, Emmet Condon commented, “There’s certainly potential for growth as more people around the world cotton on to the benefits of live cultured foods and the health risks posed by the excess consumption of sugar-loaded soft drinks. No matter where you are in the world, people are looking for healthier, tastier options when it comes to fizzy drinks.”
Morinaga, a Japanese dairy products and functional food ingredients manufacturer is banking on increased consumer awareness and developing live culture strains with specific health targets. “The probiotics market in the Asia-Pacific region has witnessed an increase in the new product development activities wherein novel and specialty strains are incorporated to achieve targeted health benefits,” said Dr Wong Chyn Boon, research associate, international division, Morinaga Milk Industry Co.
While countries like China and Japan holds a prominent share in the market, the demand for probiotics functional food and dietary supplements in the South-east Asia region is expected to remain promising for the next five years, she added.
Functional food and drink products are not the only things that are showing up in grocery stores and retailers. Across the globe, the culinary world is also venturing into the use of functional food ingredients in menus. Chefs in F&B establishments such as restaurants and hotels have begun to be more mindful of the ingredients they are purchasing and using.
“For a long time, food has been thought of as a form of entertainment, and restaurants changed the scene with creative plating techniques and even unique dining experiences,” said Lucas Glanville, executive chef of Grand Hyatt Singapore. “But while food as a form of entertainment is still important, it is very encouraging to see that diners are starting to think more about what they put into their bodies.”
Glanville added that Grand Hyatt ensures that every meal fulfils its natural purpose to provide fuel to the body as part of the hotel’s holistic approach towards wellbeing.