The rise in the region's meat consumption is being led by east and southeast Asia, where rises in income is making its consumption an every day luxury. Growth of meat consumption in this part of Asia has risen by an average of 6 per cent during the last 20 years, stimulated by the rise of urban conurbations and traditional eating patterns. But despite that growth, the market remains relatively undeveloped, suggesting significant opportunity for future investment.
Compared to the West, Asian diets are largely restricted to smaller portions of finely prepared meat. This fact is reflected by this week's product launches, which feature finely prepared meat dishes catering to the smaller portion sizes.
But Asia is also an extremely diverse market, with processed meats including a wide range of products in a different number of formats and packages. Market analysts Euromonitor estimate that retail sales of its main categories, canned/preserved meat, frozen processed red meat and chilled processed meat will total $17.1 billion (€14bn) in Asia Pacific at the end of 2004. That means a growth of almost 7.5 per cent up on the previous year. Consumption per-capita of these products that year, however, will stand at $4.7 versus the $95 expected in Western Europe for 2004 - giving an idea of how underdeveloped these products are in the region, and how much potential of growth they have in the medium/long term.
Currently it is China and Japan that account for the vast majority of these categories of processed meats, with combined sales in 2004 expected to reach the $13.3 billion mark, according to Euromonitor's estimates.
According to Euromonitor's Francisco Redruello, sales of canned/preserved meat in China have benefited from rising disposable incomes and the faster pace of life. On the other hand, manufacturers have focused more of their attention on the development of new products, he says. "Maling's canned luncheon meat has been the best-selling product for many years, and won three silver medals awarded by the State for its excellent taste, smell, colour and high nutritional value. We estimate a growth in retail sales of 22 per cent for these products between 1998 and 2004," Redruello added.
Consumption of frozen red meat in China continues to be low compared to seafood and poultry, with retail sales worth only $550 million in 2004. "The single largest factor contributing to low sales is the preference for fresh alternatives, which are widely available. Thus, only a few branded products have come into the domestic market, and growth is being sustained through growing demand for ready-to-eat and semi-processed meat products in the domestic market," said Redruello who also pointed out that chilled processed meats continue to be the mainstay of the chilled foods category in the country.
Euromonitor currently estimates that retail sales of chilled processed meat in China will reach $1,343 million in 2004, around 40 per cent up on the sales recorded in 1998.And it is the China market that is the focus of the first product launch with Beijing Haofeng Weiye Trade Co launching Canned Beef under the Weifu brand. Packaged in an alumninium can containing 60 grams of pre-prepared meat, it is expected to retail for €2.32 when it is launched during the course of this month. Available in a broth sauce containing salt and spices, the meat is said to be ready to serve once heated up.
Vietnam sees the launch of Seasoned Dehydrated Beef from the Thanh Van company. This traditional delicacy is flexibly wrapped in 250 gram packages that is expected to retail for €2.08. The dried meat is flavoured with sugar, salt, garlic and red hot chilli powder.
Shifting the focus to the Philippines, Foodsphere is launching the Bibbo Cheesedog, a ready cooked sausage made from beef, pork and cheese. Packaged in a flexible plastic wrapping, which features the 'Bibbo' brand name and a cheese design, the product will retail at €2.27 for a 1kg pack. Other key ingredients include skimmed milk, vegetable protein, starch, sugar and spices. The manufacturer says the hotdogs can be either grilled or steamed.
Australia sees the launch of Cordon Bleu's Pork Liver Pâte. Available in 75 gram aluminium cans, the manufacturer claims that it has won some 22 awards at the World Food Olympics for its premium range of food products. The pâte contains cured pork liver, pork fat, milk solids, onion powder, flavour enhancer and an antioxidant.
The final product launch can be found in Taiwan, where Hsin Tung Yang is introducing Ball Sausages. This is a brand new product that caters to the Asian taste for small portions of flavoured meat. Packaged in 380 gram flexibly wrapped plastic trays, it is expected to retail for €2.93. Listed ingredients include pork, sugar, salt, spices and nitrate.
This range of processed meat dishes is part of a selection from Mintel's Global New Product Database.