DuPont to open new Japan innovation centre as wellness, 'snackification' and healthy ageing take centre stage

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

DuPont will continue to invest in emerging markets (in Asia) in order to build local capabilities and develop local food solutions.
DuPont will continue to invest in emerging markets (in Asia) in order to build local capabilities and develop local food solutions.
DuPont is set to open a new Innovation Application Centre in Japan later this year, highlighting wellness, snacking and ageing as the region's hottest trends.

In Asia Pacific, in addition to manufacturing sites, DuPont Nutrition & Health currently has four innovation centres in China, India, Singapore and Australia. It also has a strong presence in many major Asia-Pacific cities such as Shanghai, Singapore, Delhi, Sydney, Seoul and Tokyo.

“This expansion will bring us even closer to our local customers and allows us to focus on delivering new innovations tailored to meet the unique needs of the Japanese marketplace,” ​said Dr Li Yongjing, regional president of Asia Pacific, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

“We have seen very strong growth over the past several years and expect this trend to continue,” ​he said.

“We will continue to invest in emerging markets (in Asia) in order to build local capabilities and develop local food solutions.”

Dr Li said, according to a report published by Polaris Market Research, the worldwide market for specialty food ingredients is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% between 2018 and 2026.

The Asia Pacific market is anticipated to account for approximately 40% of the overall global market for the next five to six years.

“We feel upbeat with the prospect of the Asia food industry especially in China, India and South East Asia, driven mainly by increased prosperity, increased urbanisation and greater health awareness,”​ he said.

“DuPont has a strong innovation pipeline and takes a very optimistic view with regards to our growth expectations (in Asia).”

Asian food trends

In recent years, according to Dr Li, consumers have become more aware of the need to eat healthily. The Asian population is also ageing rapidly.

Moreover, Asia is facing a rapid urbanisation rate, driven mainly by increased prosperity as the region’s dynamic economy continues to drive growth, said Dr Li.

He said, while the food space in Asia is always evolving, they are expecting to see a few emerging trends that are here to stay.

“Health and wellness is going mainstream, and trends such as low-sugar, ‘snackification’ and protein enrichment will continue to be key,”​ said Dr Li.

In South East Asia, 75 million people are living with diabetes — the second-highest incidence of diabetes in the world. Dr Li said, sugar is the new fat. Wellness trends and rising health awareness are increasingly moving consumers away from sugar.

However, taste remains important to consumers and Dr Li said data from Mintel has shown that consumers prefer products that use naturally-sourced sugar substitutes than artificial sweeteners. 

“Natural sugar replacement is expected to be a common trend in the near future,”​ said Dr Li.

Furthermore, he said ‘snackification’ is a global trend creeping into Asia.

“Snackification takes on a premium positioning. Anything that is healthy with a touch of indulgence is the standard for a snack,”​ he explained.

On top of that, consumer behaviour and lifestyle changes — such as rising incomes and a busier time-tight lifestyle — are all driving demand for convenience foods, especially packaged snacks.

Foods that are healthy and offer convenience such as ready-to-drink beverages, shelf-stable food products and meal replacers are likely to drive this category, he said.

Another key regional trend to note is that people in Asia are consuming more protein in their diet and are seeking an extra protein boost from natural sources. Dr Li said, besides animal-based protein, plant-based protein is also gaining popularity and is expected to gain significant growth in Asia Pacific.

Last but not least, as the populace continues to age in Asian countries such as Japan, China, Singapore and Korea, the food industry can expect to see to see innovative novel, enriched foods targeted at seniors for healthy ageing.

Local taste profiles

Recently, during Food Ingredients China (FIC) 2018, the largest ingredients event in Asia, DuPont Nutrition & Health launched its new YO-MIX M11 starter culture — part of DuPont’s Danisco range of tailored blends.

According to DuPont, YO-MIX M11 presents excellent post-acidification control, delivering extra mildness and creamy texture in yoghurt. This allows dairy manufacturers to achieve a well-balanced taste profile, ensuring a consistent mouthfeel and mildness in their products throughout shelf-life.

Dr Li said YO-MIX M11 marks “a new step in the world of mild yoghurt cultures”​. He said, in dairy products, pH consistency is crucial to produce consistent, good quality yoghurt, as any drop in pH is an indication of contamination and can lead to a reduced shelf life, or a product that is off-taste.

A stable pH also ensures that live probiotics in the food product remains viable.

He added that while DuPont Danisco YO-MIX M11 will be launched globally, DuPont had taken Asian preferences, needs and challenges into consideration when developing the product.

He said, YO-MIX M11 has a more sensitive response and better regulation when facing acid accumulation, hence it produces lesser lactic acid at the end of the fermentation process, imparting a mild taste to the yoghurt.

“Based on DuPont consumer research in Vietnam, Indonesia and China, consumers in these countries enjoy a harmonised, well-balanced taste profile, suggesting a mild sour taste with a good level of sweetness in their yoghurt,” ​he said.

 

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Healthy Ageing APAC Summit 2018: Our next event will assess how the food and nutrition industry can meet the needs of APAC’s rapidly-ageing populations of today and tomorrow. The event, in Singapore on June 12 and 13, will bring together policymakers, academics and industry experts from the likes of Nestle, Blackmores, Swisse and Japanese ‘engay’ food pioneers Nutri co.  Find out more here

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