Dateline Southeast Asia

Agrana expands dairy fruit operation to SE Asia and India

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Southeast asia, Food, Sugar

Agrana expands dairy fruit operation to SE Asia and India
One of the leading fruit companies in the Far East has set out to expand in Southeast Asia by opening new offices in Thailand and India and signing an exclusive supply deal.

Agrana Fruit, the world leader for fruit preparations for the dairy industry, already has a significant presence in China and South Korea. It now hopes to use its new Bangkok office as a stepping stone to support customers alongside a strategic collaboration with regional distribution specialist Jebsen & Jebsen. 

Under the terms of the agreement, JJ will open up new markets in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines for Agrana’s products, which are found in every third yoghurt cup worldwide.

The distributor has also opened a development lab on behalf of Agrana to provide technical and product support, and co-develop solutions for regional customers.

We intend to expand further by making our products globally accessible​,” said Johannes Kleppers, chief executive of Agrana Fruit. 

The enhancement of our Asian footprint is of high importance, as this emerging market offers above-average growth rates of dairy consumption​.” 

The goal of its local representatives is to develop Agrana’s activities in the region and drive sales growth, Kleppers added.

The company has also made its first step into India with the incorporation of a local offshoot. It now intends to increase its sales of fruit solutions that have been adapted for the Indian taste profile.

An Austrian-based company, Agrana is the biggest supplier in its segment. Its global fruit and juice division generated turnover of €1.1bn with products manufactured at 24 processing plants and sales to over 80 countries.

Ingredion launches Sweetis to tap into the Asian non-sugar sweetener market

Ingredion is introducing its range of Sweetis sweeteners, which has been designed to create sucrose-like taste profiles and the mouthfeel of sugar, across Asia-Pacific. 

Sweetis

The ingredients major said the products provide up to 120-130% more intense sweetness than sucrose with fewer calories, allowing formulations to contain up to 50% less sugar.

The range uses Ingredion's proprietary Dial-In Sweetness technology to “shorten the path to achieve optimum sensory profiles​,” Ingredion said in a statement. Sweetis can support on-pack claims of reduced calories and/or reduced sugar.

The range will tap into a growing market for non-sugar sweeteners at a time when health awareness is growing across Asia-Pacific and the region is witnessing a spike in lifestyle diseases, for which sugar consumption is a contributing factor.

Reducing sugar in foods and beverages without compromising taste and texture has been an ongoing challenge for manufacturers, especially when there has been increasing consumer concern in sugar intake​,” said Dina Yeon, Ingredion’s regional sweetness marketing manager. 

With Sweetis sweetener systems, manufacturers can respond to this challenge with products that taste great and are on-trend​.” 

She added that the halal, kosher and non-GM products also offer excellent flowability, and are pH and heat stable.

NTU to open food safety research centre in Singapore

A new research centre to develop more efficient and sustainable food technology is in the pipeline at a Singapore university.

Nanyang Technological University announced that it will open the NTU Food Technology Centre (Naftec) to bring greater expertise across South-east Asia in providing risk, benefit and sustainability assessment to support the industry and regulatory agencies.

Professors Jorgen Schlundt and William Chen
Professors Jorgen Schlundt and William Chen

To do so, the centre will perform research on antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms in food and patients in Singapore and across the region. 

Researchers there also aim to study the health effects of microorganisms in the human gut and learn ways to improve their composition, as well as assessing the sustainability of food production systems.

NTU provost Freddy Boey said that the centre will come at a particularly interesting juncture in the development of food science. 

We are starting to understand the importance of the different relevant entities in our food, such as microorganisms and active biochemical ingredients, and how these entities interact with our bodies​. 

NTU will join forces with national and international researchers to grow this new understanding and support novel food technology solutions for better food and a healthier population in Singapore and the region. We have great expectations of what this Centre can do​,” Prof. Boey added.

The announcement comes as new technology becomes available to deliver scientific breakthroughs, such as the introduction of systems based on international data exchange that can help implement new DNA sequencing databases. 

The centre, which will employ over 20 full-time researchers within the next year, will be led by Jorgen Schlundt and William Chen of NTU’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.

Prof. Schlundt said that the university’s wider research will be applied to food science and technology. 

This includes state-of-the-art methodology to investigate chemicals and microorganisms in food and evaluate their health effects. This means we can start our food-related research right away and be internationally recognised​,” he added.

It has already started working with several Singapore agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Agency for Science Technology and Research, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the Agri-Veterinary and Food Authority and the National Environment Agency. 

The centre will receive S$1.5m (US$1.1m) in funding a year from the university, and S$1.7m in government funding over the next three years.

Related topics: Business, South East Asia, Supply chain, Dairy

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