IT MAY be hard to keep up with changing consumer tastes, but trends especially related to health and sustainability are here to stay. FoodPacific Manufacturing Journal (FPMJ) interviewed some of the leading companies of food and beverage ingredients to get the feel of the industry in Southeast Asia as 2018 unfolds. Companies want innovative ingredients and reduce production cost at the same time. But what does the ingredients sector have for them?
In his exclusive piece for FPMJ, Chr. Hansen executive vice president for APAC and LATAM, Sten Estrup conveniently summarises the major trends influencing product development amongst ingredient providers. He also underscores the value of sustainability in research and development.
India-based Arjuna which participated in Fi Asia 2017 for the first time, is looking to expand its market across SEA especially for antioxidants and natural preservatives. Recently it launched an innovative preservative that slows the degradation of vegetable oil, and thus allows reusing of vegetable oils to an extent.
Natural and artificial preservatives targeting application sectors such as bakery, beverage, confectionery, processed meat, poultry, and seafood, are forecast to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2025 according to Grand View Research. The research firm also said that anti-microbial preservatives are likely to dominate the market in terms of revenue due to an increased demand for anti-microbial agents in the processed meat and beverage industries.
In the areas of sweeteners, starches and texturants, Tate & Lyle is offering a diverse range of solutions – not just products – stresses Harry Boot, senior vice president and general manager for Tate & Lyle’s Speciality Food Ingredients business in Asia Pacific. T&L continually updates its portfolio of offerings in line with shifting consumer trends. Always poised to meet big trends like sugar replacement and calorie reduction, it partnered with Sweet Green Fields in developing stevia-based solutions.
From France, Epi Ingredients entered the Asian market with milk-based ingredients and even fresh dairy products. The company is currently positioning its nutritional products in the beverage and snack segments. With SoFlexi, its latest yogurt-based finished product, the company is telling manufacturers that there are many ways to create new products using this particular ingredient, according to marketing manager Matthieu Lucot.
In our conversations with major food ingredient company Ingredion, Rishan Pillay, vice president and general manager for ASEAN and India, and Lilian Tan, marketing manager, Texture and Delivery Systems, Asia Pacific, also stress the company’s focus on sugar reduction with products like Sweetis™, as well as on the company’s industry-leading starch-based texturisers. Ms Tan actually sums it up for all these ingredient companies when she said that keeping in mind how to help food manufacturers create healthier products drives their R&D.
At a time when consumers are being “mindful” about their food and beverage choices, as Innova Market Insights puts it, manufacturers can’t look away and continue with what used to work. Consumers now want natural, clean, healthy and flavourful products. Even Coca-Cola is reviving Coke with a more flavourful stevia.
In her top trends for 2018, Innova Market Insights Director for Innovation, Lu Ann Williams also mentions buzzwords like "lightness" to indicate that consumers now want products that have less of the delicious but not-so-good stuff like alcohol, sugar. It also refers to portion sizing. But indulgent taste is not something that can be taken away from food or beverage. There lies the balance manufacturers focus on in product development.