The F&B sector has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade and it continues to evolve.
Sumit Chopra, Consumer Research Director at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, highlights top five innovation trends that are going to impact the production, marketing and sales of consumer goods in Asia-Pacific (APAC) in 2019.
Fat gets thumbs up
The consumer sentiment towards fats is evolving.
Perceptions such as ‘Not all fat is bad’ and ‘fat is prosperity’ have started picking up in recent years.
In an era of personalized nutrition, interest in specialty diet trends such as Keto, Paleo or Whole30 will continue to grow as consumers are questioning the role of sugar weight management, thus, adding more protein and fats to their diets.
As specialty diets which rely more on fats move into mainstream, food and beverage makers are capitalizing on the opportunity to deliver low-carb and high-fat products.
Buoyed by the unexpected success of high-fat, moderate protein and low-carb keto diet, companies such as US-based Just Inc are exploring Asia’s market to launch their products.
‘Better-for-you’ alcoholic beverages
Consumers are gravitating towards lighter, less caloric, flavored alcoholic drinks, creating opportunities for manufacturers.
Liquor manufacturers are paying close attention to nutrients, calorie counts and healthful ingredients while incorporating ‘better for you’ ingredients such as fruit juice, water and tea.
The ‘better-for-you’ alcohol trend is graduating from niche status to a broader market sufficient in size and scope to interest alcohol manufacturers at the global level.
Manufacturers in APAC are already keeping a close eye on this space.
The Cannabis Co launched The Myrcene Hemp Gin, claimed to be the world’s first cannabis-infused gin that has value as a ‘dietary health and wellness supplement’ in Australia.
In the first phase of ‘better-for-you’ alcoholic beverage revolution, we will see alcohol companies find even more ingenious ways to reach out to health-oriented consumers and more product launches in the flavored alcohol category are expected this year.”
According to GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 Consumer Survey, 64% of consumers in APAC are always or often influenced by how a product impacts their health & wellbeing while making their food choices.
Against this back drop, companies will map out the wellness considerations for the products they offer and position them positive to consumers of all ages to leverage on growing consumer interest in healthy eating, local flavors, and personalization.
In the wake of the health & wellness trend, Nestle forayed into the breakfast cereal category with Nesplus to offer healthy breakfast options to Indian consumers.
In the non-alcoholic beverage category, Kombucha, turmeric latte or kefir will remain very much on-trend to attract interest from major soft drink manufacturers.
Changing regulatory landscape
F&B companies need to be ready for the likelihood of increased regulation of specific products, markets and packaging as governments across the world are exercising more power, particularly around issues such as obesity, consumer welfare and plastic pollution.
The Indian government is exploring frameworks to ensure GST rate cut benefits to reach consumers along with proposing new packaged food labeling rules while F&B manufacturers in China are required to use a new set of quality and safety standards and have a food production license for all food categories.
Halo effect of plants
Plant-based ingredients are seen as safer, more natural and better for the environment than ingredients from other sources.
As a result, F&B companies in Asia are beginning to add plant-based ingredients to their products, rebranding them as sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Unilever’s move to launch vegan ice-cream in New Zealand under its Magnum brand is an example of major companies getting creative with iconic food ingredients in the region.
We will be seeing more launches similar to PepsiCo India’s new packaging format made from 100% compostable plant-based material for Lay’s and Kurkure snacks products.
FMCG non-food makers are also turning to plant-based ingredients.