Dateline Southeast Asia

Four key trends trends driving SE Asian F&B growth in 2017

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Southeast asia, Philippines

© iStock
© iStock
Southeast Asia’s food and drink market will be dominated by four trends this year, according to Mintel.

The market intelligence agency has explored consumers’ evolving priorities, their search for efficiency and their drive for more healthy food to produce its 2017 Food and Drink Trends report.

The trends are the result of observations, insights and predictions of more than 100 Mintel analysts from around the world who represent a range of industries that include food, drink and food service,​” said Avanthi Ravindran, a Mintel consultant who presented the findings at a Food Industry Asia “Lunch Series​” event recently in Singapore.

According to the market intelligence agency, the first key trend, “In Tradition We Trust​”, concerns consumers seeking comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats. 

Ravindran said that more consumers were looking for traditional or retro-inspired products. If they had a tangible connection with the past, traditional products could also benefit from an element of trustworthiness assigned to the claims or story. 

Additionally, this move to the past will lead to innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognisable. 

Mintel’s second key trend, “Power to the Plants​”, reflects consumers’ preference for natural, simple and flexible diets, which will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations. 

Ravidran said that vegan and vegetarian claims had been on the rise in Southeast Asia, with the number of vegetarian claims increasing by 140% between 2012 and 2016. Vegan claims, meanwhile, had increased by 440% in food and drink launches in the region over the same period.

Time is of the Essence​”, the third food and drink trend, suggests that amount of time required for products to be developed will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.

On the one hand, speed and efficiency are key: there has been a 133% increase in the number of Southeast Asian food and drink launches with on-the-go claims in 2016, as compared to 2012. Mintel’s research has shown that, currently, 24% of all food and drink launches in this region carry an on-the-go claim.

However, on the other side, many consumers are seeking balance, which has led to products that have ‘slow’ claims, such as being slow-roasted or promising slow-release energy. 

“There has been a 79% increase in Southeast Asian food and drink launches that include ‘slow’ in the product description in 2016, as compared to how it was in 2012​,” said Ravindran. 

The fourth trend, “Balancing the Scales: Heath for Everyone​”, suggests that healthy food and drink are not luxuries, with inequality of access to such items a grave concern. 

According to Mintel’s findings, lack of access to, and the high cost of, healthy food and drink often impede lower-income consumers from purchasing healthy items, including products that are natural, organic or free from certain ingredients.

Mintel’s observations indicate that many lower-income people are at risk for food-related health issues, such as obesity and diabetes. While low household income does not directly cause these health issues, lower-income populations are more susceptible due to their lack of access to fresh food, limited time to dedicate to physical activity and high levels of stress or anxiety. 

Despite research showing that low-income consumers have healthy intentions, affordability is leading to the consumption of unhealthy meals.

To tackle this, Mintel argues that solutions in the form of providing affordable options of healthy food and drink are needed from brands and retailers, as well as those that are developed from creative, visionary concepts to lower the price barrier of better-for-you products.

Ravindran added: “Companies need to play their part in educating the next generation on the pitfalls of not having enough fruit and vegetables in their diets. So the education aspect becomes integral in the overall marketing of food and drink products in response to these trends​.” 

More stories from Southeast Asia…

Danisco cleared to release five bakery enzymes by Indonesian regulator

Indonesia’s food watchdog has approved five DuPont Danisco range of bakery enzymes, giving the ingredients access for the first time to Indonsia’s sizeable flour milling industry.


The National Drug and Food Control Agency gave its approval for PowerMill, which helps improve flour milling efficiency and extraction rate, and texture enhancer Grindamyl SureBake. 

The approval also means that Danisco’s PowerFresh Special range, which is based on G+ and G4 enzymes for better moisture and softness retention, and PowerBake 9000 and 9500, which combine the effects of xylanase and cellulose to increase water absorption, can also hit the market.

This is a significant milestone for DuPont, and we are proud to be the first company in Indonesia to receive regulatory approval for our G+ and G4 anti-staling amylases​” said Lee Lai See, the company’s regional business director. 

Vikki Paterson, its Asean sales director, added, “Industrial bakers and flour millers in Indonesia can now include this range of enzymes in their formulation to meet the growing market demand for producing quality baked goods with better cost-in-use​.”

“With this new approval, we can help our customers better differentiate their products in the marketplace.

Related topics: Business, South East Asia, Asian tastes

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