Trend Tracker: Dessert trends in Japan, e-commerce in Saudi, alternative meats in China and more feature in our trends round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Ice cream is Japan's top choice in the desserts and confectionary category. ©Getty Images
Ice cream is Japan's top choice in the desserts and confectionary category. ©Getty Images

Related tags Trends APAC

Dessert and organic trends in Japan, e-commerce in Saudi and alternative meat popularity in China feature in this edition of Trend Tracker

Sweet treats: Four top trends from Japan’s dessert and confectionery sectors

From ice cream on a roll, to high-cocoa content chocolate, here are four trends currently shaping Japan’s confectionery and dessert categories​ as seen at the recent FoodEx Japan show.These four trends were: Ice cream as Japan's top dessert choice, the rise of healthy chocolate, functional candies and the appeal of rolled ice cream for younger consumers.

Saudi’s e-commerce trends: Preference for processed food dips as health demands soar

More Saudi shoppers are buying healthier food​, such as whole grains and organic food, while demand for highly processed food have dropped.

Danube, Saudi Arabia’s hypermarket, which also operates the country’s first e-commerce grocery platform, released new trends observed in its online grocery shopping application Danube App last week.

Findings released showed that both male and female consumers are becoming more health conscious, with an almost “identical rise”​ in demand for healthier food, such as whole grains, organic food, fruits and vegetables.

The trend was seen alongside a dip in the demand for highly processed food.

China tops the US in embracing plant-based and clean meat products: Study

More well-educated and high income Chinese city-dwellers are embracing plant-based and clean meat​ as a healthier, more nutritious, and exciting option.

In fact, they prefer plant-based and clean meat more than the Americans, although the US is the innovation hub of alternative meat products, where companies such as Impossible Foods, JUST, and Beyond Meat are based.  

According to a study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems​, more Chinese were “very or extremely likely” ​to buy clean meat when compared to the Americans and Indians.

The number of Chinese who were “very or extremely likely”​ to purchase clean meat was twice as much as the Americans at 59.3% versus 29.8% and 10% more than the Indians.

Premium trumps sustainability in Chinese chocolate, coffee and tea markets – Exclusive insights

Chinese consumers still prefer premium products as opposed to those making sustainability claims​, in contrast to many other markets worldwide, according to analysis from insights provider Lumina Intelligence.

“Brands making ethical claims in China have half the number of Weibo followers than products making no claims. Premium trumps sustainability at present [in China],”​ Lumina Intelligence Analyst Oliver Nieburg told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

A detailed analysis of over 150 of the bestselling products across chocolate countlines, chocolate tablets, coffee, black tea and green tea sold by five major retailers in the country (Vanguard, RT Mart, Tmall, JD and Suning) revealed that just 9% of products made sustainable claims.

Organic products in Japan: Strict standards, small market, but huge opportunities - Retailer

Adhering to Japan’s strict organic standards and requirements is the biggest hurdle for overseas firms trying to get a foothold​ in the nation’s fledgling sector, which is now being tipped for a growth spurt.

That’s the view of Bio c’ Bon Merchandising Department General Manager Akiteru Imai, who shared his views at FoodEx Japan.

The firm was formed as a joint venture between Japanese organic pioneers Aeon and Marne & Finance Europe, which operates Bio c’ Bon in France. It currently runs four “casual organic” stores in Tokyo and aims to have 50 branches by 2020.

Although demand for organic is relatively small in Japan – with annual growth relatively stagnant compared to an average of 13% across APAC as a whole - consumer interest is slowly growing and there could be vast opportunities future for suppliers – providing they can meet the stringent local standards.

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