Spike in SE Asian urbanites looking to increase protein consumption

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Southeast asia, Bangkok, Asia

Southeast Asians are increasingly leading healthy lifestyles, with as many as three in four urban Indonesians and a third of Thai city residents saying they have been striving to improve their diets this year.

That’s according to market intelligence agency Mintel, which found that consuming high-protein food and drinks have become the most commonly used tactic to achieve this ambition. 

Its research has shown that 64% of metro Indonesians and Thais say they prefer to get their protein from foods that are naturally high in protein as part of their daily diets. This is an increase from the 37% of Indonesians and 41% of Thais who said the same in a comparable survey last year.

Though brands have been taking notice of this trend, protein innovation in Asia Pacific is falling behind. 

Mintel’s Global New Products Database found that Asia-Pacific saw just 5% of new launches carrying a “high/added protein​” claim, compared to the global increase of 26% in the two years to July 2017.

Consumers in the region are showing continuous interest in proteins, and are incorporating more of them into their daily diets and eating regimes​,” said Jane Barnett, head of insights for southern Asia-Pacific, said. 

Much of this growth in demand is attributable to consumer belief that protein aids in the pursuit or maintenance of a healthy physique, and provides them with energy and satiety​. 

While brands in Asia Pacific have taken notice of this interest, there is still more room for innovation within the region​,” she added.

According to Mintel, 47% of urban Thai consumers think that high-protein food or drink assists with building muscle, while 37% of metro Indonesians think it helps in managing weight. 

Moreover, just over two in five urban consumers in both countries feel that high-protein food or drink provides them with long-lasting energy. Four in 10 Thai city residents think that these offerings help them to feel fuller for longer.

Besides achieving a healthy body, it seems that Southeast Asian consumers are keen to look after their minds. Over 60% of metro Thai consumers believe that maintaining a positive mental state is an important factor to leading a healthy lifestyle.

While there have been a couple of products across Southeast Asia’s sports, energy, and lifestyle beverage space that talk about the ‘mind and body’, there is definitely still space for brands and companies to expand into this area​,” said Barnett. 

Globally, we see a growing rate of products that aim to provide more of a holistic approach, incorporating a beneficial nutritional profile, as well as either enhancing a consumer’s mood or providing the elements needed to keep the mind sharp and focused​.”

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