Consumers are increasingly looking to inherent health benefits from natural ingredients which convey “better-for-you appeal”. Health has become a crucial factor in purchasing decisions for consumers in Asia.
Over 50% of global food and drinks launches tracked by Innova Market Insights in 2017 were positioned on a health platform of some kind. It is likely that more products will be launched with additional ingredients to boost the health ranking and claims will be used on packaging. These attributes will appeal more to those products consumed daily.
Non-GMO products have a good impact on European and American market segments. But what is it GMO in the end? Genetic modification of crops emerged in the 1990s as a scientific way to aid the farming Industry, delivering economic benefits by creating crops with resistance to certain diseases
or to added herbicides.
The use of GMOs in food and drink is raising more concern at consumer level. Although there are no proven health issues related to GM ingredients, consumer skepticism is largely centered on the idea of a potential – maybe yet to be understood – impact on health.
The EU maintains a reluctance to embrace the technology, while India and China appear to have focused most of their GM efforts to date on non-food crops, such as cotton, as the law in e.g. India and China is really strict in part of GM in order to undergird the rights of the consumers.
However, the number of new food and drink products to carry GMO free claims has increased significantly over the past few years. Between 2010 and 2015, introductions rose with 480% and equivalent to a CAGR of 42%.
Most active markets in the Asian region are Malaysia and Hong Kong as these single markets launch innovations in the categories of bakery, snacks, dairy and baby products.
The ready-to-eat segment extends from snacks to complete meals and incorporates several other trends as consumers display a growing appetite for new healthy ingredients, more convenient forms, and novel concepts.
Individuals are increasingly putting effort in achieving a healthier lifestyle. It is no surprise, that these trends have a need for according super food for super health benefits. Innova Market Insights monitors an increase of 52% new products launched including a superfood claim.
While franchise models are convenient and became a recognized part of the urban lifestyle in many countries, the chain franchise style of operation is by no means the only one, and fast food is not the only style of franchise. While all companies have attempted to expand their product offering to cover more dayparts, including breakfast, the base of sales remains the snack and lunchtime trade in urban areas, as the outlet that effectively replaces workplace canteens.
As Asia continues to welcome new franchise brands, it encourages the cross-pollination of brand diversity across the region, especially in the developing countries where a lot of middle-income individuals will start to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.
Halal is increasing its overall popularity on a global scale. In the United States alone, the market size was predicted to be $20 billion for 2016, an increase of 33% since 2010. Halal food is not only consumed by the Muslim community. Millennials, are a driving factor in the increase of the halal market size.
We are looking at Asia as the most important region for new Halal product launches, followed by Africa and Middle East. When closing up on the Asian continent, Indonesia provides the biggest amount of new product launches when it comes to halal certified products, followed by Malaysia and Singapore. Most growth was seen in Singapore where product launches with a halal claim almost tripled between 2013 and 2017.
Kosher products are gaining popularity outside of the Jewish community that consume kosher products as part of their religious dietary law. Non-Jewish consumers choose Kosher for the claimed food safety of the kosher products. Many consumers perceive the consumption of Kosher products as a way of protection against food-borne illnesses, as well as food allergies and sensitivities.
Three in five consumers purchasing kosher products are buying these products for quality, rather than for religious reasons. Location wise, two thirds of the kosher products that are launched were located in the United States and Canada, only a small amount of that total is launched in Asia. Although the Asian market is growing it cannot equalize the exponential growth of the North American market where new product launches of kosher claims almost doubled in the last five years.
The number of clean label claims has greatly increased in Asia in recent years. The percentage of new products featuring an organic positioning grew from 6.0% of launches in 2013 to 9.5% in 2017 on a global scale. Claims such as “organic”, “no preservatives” and “all natural” continue to be on a wide number of product launches.
Organic is among the fastest growing health claims in Asia. It accounts for 21% of total health claims made in Asia were for organic products in the year of 2017. India as the leading Asian country with regard to organic new product launches is followed by Malaysia and China. In the mentioned three countries the most significant market-subcategories were; bouillons/stocks/seasoning/herbs, tea and vegetables.
The growth in private labels has been one of the most noteworthy trends of recent years in the FMCG industry; many retailers have invested in expanding their private label offerings, and some private labels, have attempted to create their own followings. Private label brands are creating their own identities as a desirable, premium experience of their own. The days when private label consisted of pure copycat products is long over.
More premiumization will be apparent adding a luxury touch to everyday quick meals like sandwiches, sausages, fried eggs etc. Exotic, ethnic and flavours will be key in achieving this.
Worldwide, the most popular product categories made of private label were alcoholic beverages with respectively more product launches of private label beers than spirits & liquors and wine. The three groups combined represented about 12% of the total private label products that were launched between the year 2013 and 2017. In Asia specifically, next to the alcoholic beverages also cooking sauces is one of the most popular kind of private label products.
Vegan eating patterns have emerged from a relative small niche position but are gaining increased attention among consumers, media and the food and beverage industry. New food and beverage launches with a vegan positioning found an average annual growth rate of +44.8 percent globally (CAGR ’13-’17).
Claims concerning veganism and convenience combined have gone up by 27% according to Innova Market Insights with a total of almost 258 thousand claims worldwide. In the last five years, Western Europe where products with both claims combined were used leads the movement and is followed by Asia and North America with respectively 35%, 20% and 16% of the total new vegan product launches worldwide.
The customer base for meat free and meat substitutes is increasing as the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians increases worldwide. According to Xinhua, there are now around 50 million people in China who are vegetarian. China is currently the second most active single market worldwide, accounting for 16% of the world’s total meat substitute product launches. The ongoing concern for future sustainability of the global food chain and ingredient source transparency is having far reaching consequences for food manufacturers and consumers alike.
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