COVID-19 and APAC's food and beverage sector: All our coronavirus one place

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

COVID-19 and APAC's food and beverage sector: All our coronavirus one place

Related tags: COVID-19, coronavirus, Food

Here's your constantly updated and comprehensive round-up of FoodNavigator-Asia's COVID-19 coverage.

‘National priority’: Australian F&B sector lauds government’s plan for post-COVID-19 economic fightback

14 Oct 2020

The Australian food and beverage industry says a new government manufacturing strategy will propel exports, boost jobs and revitalise its stagnant capital investment environment.

That’s the view of the Australian Food and Grocery Council of the government’s recently-announced Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which recognises food manufacturing as one of the country’s six National Manufacturing Priorities.

A gut feeling: Malaysia’s WonderBrew aims to double kombucha sales this year amid pandemic

12 Oct 2020

Malaysia-based kombucha brand WonderBrew is on track to more than double its sales this year, as it seeks to expand its e-commerce presence amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm has ambitious plans to expand its reach to the masses, marketing as a health drink as well as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.

Joseph Poh, founder of WonderBrew told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “Kombucha is still in its infancy phase in Malaysia, but we see encouraging response from consumers who drink for the health benefits, but at the same time also genuinely enjoy the drink​.”

Trans-Tasman collaboration: Bundaberg-Whittaker’s new ginger chocolate takes off despite COVID-19 difficulties

30 Sep 2020

New Zealand-based chocolate firm Whittaker’s and Australia-based soft drink brewery Bundaberg have overcome COVID-19 restrictions to launch their first dual-country product, the Brewed Ginger Caramel chocolate bar.

COVID-19 virus can survive on chilled and frozen salmon, chicken and pork for three weeks: Study

16 Sep 2020

Chicken, pork and salmon samples contaminated with COVID-19 showed no decline in the virus level after 21 days in both refrigerated and frozen storage conditions.

No-bull elixir: New Zealand’s clean label energy drink brand resumes nationwide expansion after COVID-19 delays

3 Sep 2020

New Zealand clean label energy drink brand Phoric is resuming its nationwide launch after plans were put on hold during the COVID-19 lockdown earlier in March.

Expediate exports to China with blockchain? Australian outfit seeks to speed-up ‘COVID-19-free’ shipments

20 Aug 2020

Australian blockchain firm Two Hands has developed a platform removing all middle men along the supply chain between food producers and end-users, which it believes can also be applied to smoothen meat and seafood exports to China by ‘pre-authenticating’ these as COVID-19-free.

Probably the best strategy? Carlsberg Malaysia pins hopes on e-commerce after COVID-19 sinks financials

19 Aug 2020

Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad (Carlsberg Malaysia) is pinning its hopes on digital marketing and e-commerce to recover from huge revenue and profit drops suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

COVID-19 and shellfish: New Zealand industry positive on trade recovery despite slew of toxin warnings

19 Aug 2020

The New Zealand seafood industry is positive that its shellfish trade with China and Hong Kong is on the way back up despite taking a hit in recent weeks due to a slew of toxin warnings.

‘Three highs, one low’: How CP Foods’ pre-COVID-19 technology investments helped it through crisis – Chairman Exclusive Part II

18 Aug 2020

Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group’s substantial investment in technological innovations and upgrades to its food production facilities under food arm CP Foods were what ensured its continued smooth operations through the COVID-19 pandemic, CP Group’s US Business Chairman Boonchai Opas-Iam-Likit (Boonchai) told us in an exclusive interview.

‘Harsh and hard situation’: Lebanese food distributor sees sales drop 40% amid economic crisis, COVID-19 and Beirut blast

18 Aug 2020

Lebanese distributor Ibrahim Jabra & Sons SAL has revealed sales have dropped 40% as a result of the looming economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosion.

Fortification, plant-based and healthier packaged foods to boom in APAC post-COVID-19 – expert panel

13 Aug 2020

Fortified, plant-based, and better-for-you packaged foods will continue to soar in APAC post-pandemic, with preventive health, wellness and nutrition now firmly ingrained in the conscience of consumers, an expert panel claims.

Heineken: 'In this very volatile world, the Heineken brand is again demonstrating its strength'

11 Aug 2020

Consumers are turning back to brands they know and trust as a result of the coronavirus pandemic - and that’s particularly true for brand Heineken, says the brewer.

From Covid-19 to Ramadan: How Saudi consumer trends shifted from March to May

30 July 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic in March and Ramadan in April and May led to distinct shifts in the food and beverage consumption patterns in Saudi Arabia, new data reveals.

Australia potato peril: Industry highlights price drop as main concern from post-COVID-19 EU fries dumping threat

29 July 2020

The potato industry in Australia is now in a state of ‘high alert’ for any potential French fries dumping activity from the EU, highlighting its chief concerns as price plummeting and farmer welfare after a tough season.

‘How to win in a recession’: Four top tips for Australian F&B firms to spur growth post-COVID-19

28 July 2020

Food and beverage firms in Australia would do well to maintain product pricing, focus on advertising and research, as well as wisely streamline their product ranges in order to come out on top post-COVID-19, according to recommendations from an industry expert.

Go fast or go home: Why food and beverage firms need to innovate quickly to meet consumer needs amid COVID-19

27 July 2020

Brands and suppliers need to innovate with speed and agility to meet the meet changing demands from APAC’s consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, an expert panel featuring a raft of top firms has concluded.

Cultivating future stars: No funding shortages for food tech and alternative protein start-ups despite COVID-19

21 July 2020

Start-ups with a focus on technology related to F&B supply chains and alternative protein product development are in the strongest positions to attract investments in the post-COVID-19 era all across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Philippines COVID-19 recovery: New tax reform bill looks to help smaller F&B firms pay lower rates

21 July 2020

The Philippines’ controversial new tax reform bill aims to help smaller local food and beverage pay lower taxes and stop larger firms from exploring existing system loopholes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak…but experts are warning implementation could be a minefield.

Camel campaign: Australian camel milk firm takes online sales global to address rising post-COVID-19 demand

21 July 2020

Camel Milk Co Australia has expanded its e-commerce sales platform to include a world-wide online shopping cart to cope with rising global demand for its camel milk post-COVID-19

‘Big brands still winning in Asia’: Major food and beverage firms strengthen sales and standing amid COVID-19

20 July 2020

Asia’s biggest food and beverage brands have successfully retained their top FMCG rankings and outpaced overall category growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with major players topping new lists from China to South East Asia.

Legacy vs price: Rice exports from Vietnam and India vie for ASEAN trade post-COVID-19

20 July 2020

Vietnam and India are competing for ASEAN rice trade post-COVID-19, with the former having gained advantage due to support from traditional partner Philippines, and the latter having come out ahead with Malaysia in terms of price.

Trend Tracker: COVID-19 changes, dairy and health trends feature in our round-up

17 July 2020

COVID-19 changes, dairy and health trends feature in this edition of Trend Tracker.

COVID-19 and social media: Why Australian F&B firms need to up their game to stand out in key export markets

16 July 2020

Australian food and beverage firms need to improve their social media engagement to maximise reach to consumers in all of the country’s key export markets, especially given the rise of e-commerce post-COVID-19.

Covid-19 dairy disruption: Japanese firms finding new ways to cope with surplus milk

15 July 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented milk surplus problem for many dairy farmers worldwide, and the Japanese industry was no exception with demand from schools and foodservice outlets slumping.

No idling through COVID-19: Australia’s Health Star Ratings revision on track with salt and sugar reduction key

14 July 2020

Australia’s implementation of the revised Health Star Ratings (HSR) system is on track with a focus on sugar and sodium reduction via a new nutrient calculator, as well as plans for 70% of industry uptake, the Australian Department of Health has confirmed.

Wings of change: Red Bull looks to product localisation and premiumisation for APAC energy drink expansion

14 July 2020

Energy drink giant Red Bull believes that product localisation and development of the premium segment are logical next steps for the market in Asia Pacific, even as its original formulation continues to dominate sales.

From cinema to supermarket: Bulla Choc Tops’ shift to ‘shelf-ready’ format enabled COVID-19 sales success - CEO

14 July 2020

Bulla Dairy Foods’ decision to shift its popular ice cream Choc Tops from a cinema foodservice-style distribution format to a ‘shelf-ready’ product for Coles supermarkets during the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia enabled the brand to continue successful sales during the crisis, according to the firm’s CEO.

India’s COVID-19 free food rations: Government’s ‘compassionate’ gesture blighted by inefficiencies

13 July 2020

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an extension of free food ration distributions for the nation’s poor till November, but recent government data has also revealed that distributions till date have been ineffective in several major states.

Post-COVID-19 New Zealand trade: Tough times ahead for seafood and dairy, say officials

13 July 2020

New Zealand food exports of traditionally strong-performing products such as seafood and dairy are expected to take hits in the coming months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak due to transportation challenges and weakened demand from key markets.

50 Best team launches ‘recovery’ auction as hard-hit hospitality sector seeks lifelines

8 July 2020

As restaurant businesses emerge from the pandemic seeking support, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – an annual ranking of the top 50 restaurants across the globe and which is owned and run by FoodNavigator publisher William Reed Business Media -- has launched on online auction to raise funds for the embattled hospitality industry

Australian wine: How can the industry navigate its way through the pandemic?

7 July 2020

Wine Australia has released its five-year Strategic Plan 2020-2025: noting that 'many significant challenges lie ahead, given the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic'.

China’s COVID-19 food focus: Prevention strategy shifts focus to tightened import regulations

6 July 2020

China’s COVID-19 focus has taken a clear food-related shift with a decided focus on stepping up food import regulations, despite this putting it at odds with foreign food firms and governments arguing against the probability of food-related virus spread.

From convenience to conscious: Covid-19 pandemic leads to shift in snacking priorities - experts

2 July 2020

Snacking has evolved from being a convenient and comforting experience before Covid-19 to a more food conscious and healthy activity during the pandemic, two market experts claim.

UAE’s COVID-19 food trends: Less waste, more self-sufficiency and an orange sales boom

2 July 2020

Food waste dropped, interest in self-sufficiency soared and orange consumption rocketed in the UAE during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the UAE Minister of State for Food Security.

COVID-19 and wine: Aussie consumption holds steady thanks to Gen X consumers

29 June 2020

Wine consumption rates in Australia have maintained steady pre-COVID-19 rates even during the pandemic-induced lockdown, mostly driven by the alcohol consumption behaviour of the nation’s Gen X consumers during this period.

China online fresh foods surge: JD expects COVID-19 sales momentum to persist after 618 promotion

24 June 2020

JD’s online fresh food business JD Fresh recorded a 800% increase in sales year-on-year in the first hour of its June 18th grand promotion (618) – with the firm tipping the trend that first appeared during the COVID-19 outbreak to persist.

Edible oil in India: Industry calls for import ban and local production boom post-COVID-19

23 June 2020

India’s edible oil industry has managed to survive the COVID-19 crisis by processing more crude oil to fulfil local demand, and now wants to strengthen its position by banning all refined palm oil imports into the country.

Thailand post-COVID-19: Food and agriculture exports continue to ‘star’ – trade chiefs

22 June 2020

Food and agriculture products are expected to help Thailand maintain its export trade worldwide post-COVID-19, despite the significant logistical challenges seen in all major export modes of transportation so far.

Grocery sales to drive 5-6% Middle East food industry growth as dining out slumps post COVID-19

19 June 2020

The GCC food and beverage market is expected to increase between 5 to 6% this year, largely driven by retail sales amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dashed dreams? India’s post-COVID-19 agri ambitions hindered by fearmongering and locusts

17 June 2020

India has repeatedly stressed that the country’s agricultural sector will emerge unscathed from and even achieve growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but injurious fearmongering and a severe locust threat seem to suggest otherwise.

Bad news for booze? Malaysia mulls alcohol rules overhaul as industry battles COVID-19 impact

16 June 2020

Malaysia is considering a potential reviews of regulations governing alcohol sales and/or production following a rash of drunk driving accidents in the country, marking yet another hurdle for an industry trying to find its feet due to COVID-19.

Sunshine vitamin: FANCL data reveals Vitamin D is most popular supplement during Covid-19

16 June 2020

Vitamin D was Japan brand FANCL’s best-selling supplement in April 2020, with sales growing 218% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Tax attack? Philippines considers higher sugar levy and new ‘junk food’ tax to offset COVID-19 impacts

15 June 2020

The Philippines is considering implementing higher sugar taxes as well as new taxes on ‘junk food’ high in sodium and trans fat to offset the costs incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak this year.

More bioavailable zinc: India’s national research institute product to be trialled on COVID-19 patients

15 June 2020

India’s national research institute, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), will conduct a clinical trial on a zinc supplement that it claims has a higher bioavailability to support recovery in COVID-19 patients.

Bouncing back: Nestle Malaysia confident in post-COVID-19 recovery amid e-commerce push

10 June 2020

Nestle Malaysia has expressed strong confidence in post-its COVID-19 recovery, with the firm accelerating its e-commerce drive at products with an ‘at-home’ focus.

Japan’s kiwi demand to grow again for Zespri, while firm rewards retailers for COVID-19 resilience

10 June 2020

New Zealand kiwi firm Zespri says sales to Japan have soared by 52% in the last five years, with a further 4% rise to 104,000 tonnes forecast for this year.

FoodNavigator Unlocking Innovation Series: New webinar series to focus on post-Covid-19 insights and opportunities

9 June 2020

FoodNavigator-Asia will be hosting five webinars as part of a groundbreaking new global series of online events brought to you by the FoodNavigator teams in the Americas, EMEA and Asia.

Digital transformation: Alibaba predicts boom in China retail digitisation and healthy foods due to COVID-19

8 June 2020

China online commerce giant Alibaba has predicted that the retail sector in China will see a boom in digitisation as well as a rise in healthy food options moving forth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

WATCH: How digital fingerprints can help prevent food fraud and supply chain disruptions beyond Covid-19

4 June 2020 

AI solutions to track and trace raw materials and ingredients will likely gather pace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where supply chains were disrupted and many firms had to source supplies from alternative providers.

Powders power: LVL Life’s superfood blends ride e-commerce, plant-based and COVID-19 waves

3 June 2020

Singapore-based LVL Life and its plant-based superfood powder blends have seen sales surge during the COVID-19 outbreak with rising consumer demand and a resilient e-commerce strategy combining for its success.

Covid-19 hangover: UAE alcohol market set to see slump as tourism takes a hit

3 June 2020 

Alcohol consumption in UAE is expected to continue to decline, a trend which began last year and accelerated with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, according to new research.

COVID-19 and food safety: Food adulteration and wastage continues unthwarted in Pakistan despite supply concerns

2 June 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, food and beverage adulteration has continued unhindered in Pakistan with authorities having had to seize and discard thousands of units of dairy, fruits, spices and other items despite continuing food supply fears in the country.

‘Dramatic volume declines’ for Australia’s alcohol industry

2 June 2020

Australia’s alcohol beverage producers have reported ‘dramatic volume declines’ due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Alcohol Beverages Australia. April was the worst month on record for sales of beer, wine and spirits.

Not COVID-19 retaliation? Analysts claim Australia-China trade war is ‘over-sensationalised’

1 June 2020

Tensions between Australia and China have recently been running high over barley tariffs and beef bans, but this nothing new nor solely due to ‘punishing behaviour’ over COVID-19, according to several trade consulting experts.

New Zealand’s trade saviours: Fruit, dairy and meat hold the fort as COVID-19 hits other export commodities

1 June 2020

Fruit, dairy and meat have emerged as ‘saviour commodities’ for New Zealand trade amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, with these food exports showing significant growth despite just about all other sectors experiencing falls.

Surviving COVID-19: Coca-Cola Amatil to implement cost-saving measures in 2020 even as sales rise

27 May 2020

Coca-Cola Amatil says it has seen improved sales performance across most of its markets in May, but will have to continue to focus on cost-savings initiatives in the coming year as the company doubles down on efforts to survive the impacts of COVID-19.

‘Consumption evolution’: Further boom predicted for China’s fresh food e-commerce platforms post-COVID-19

27 May 2020

New industry analysis suggests that China’s fresh foods sales by e-commerce will continue to boom, after the Chinese New Year period and COVID-19 lockdowns initially caused trade to spike.

Import and trade priorities: South Korea temporarily relaxes food rules due to COVID-19

26 May 2020

South Korea has moved to temporarily relax regulatory measures for food imports in view of the global COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, particularly concentrating on documentation and labelling requirements to prevent delays in custom clearance.

COVID-19 and beer: Heineken, Tiger reveal online sales surge and NPD focus amid pandemic

25 May 2020

Heineken and Tiger Beer have taken measures to revise marketing strategies and double-down on product innovation after seeing online sales surge after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak hit on-trade consumption.

Kombucha future: Dubai brand Saba enjoys sales boom as pandemic heightens health drive

20 May 2020 

Dubai-based organic kombucha company, Saba Kombucha, says business is booming as the COVID-19 pandemic heightens consumer awareness in health and wellness, with online orders alone increasing by 30%.

Chips are down: Asia faces COVID-19 fries shortage as local spuds struggle to become staple of choice

20 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has exposed supply chain vulnerabilities in Asia for the world’s biggest staple crops, rice and wheat, but the chances of the regional potato industry plugging some of the shortfall is being blighted by a number of hurdles.

Barley believable: China heightens its COVID-19 beef with Australia by enforcing hefty tariffs on crop

19 May 2020

First it was beef, now it’s barley, with China seemingly staying true to its word to deal a series of trade blows to Australia in retaliation for its calls for a wide-ranging global inquiry into the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Packaging, technology and water: Three key areas of focus for Thai food firms to survive COVID-19

19 May 2020

Food and beverage companies have been advised to concentrate on packaging, technology and water use to help maintain production during and thrive after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, in the wake of a near 5% drop in exports.

‘No worries’? Food safety fears in India as COVID-19 lockdowns lead to a shortage of lab staff

18 May 2020

India’s food safety regulatory body Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has insisted that the public need not be concerned about food safety in the country despite a lack of laboratory staff to do food safety testing due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

COVID-19 hits Yili’s Q1 but firm remains bullish over full-year performance and investment strategy

18 May 2020

Chinese dairy giant Yili will increase production capacity and focus on online retail channels as part of its business outlook for this year.

COVID-19 in APAC: Food supply chain to be given ‘specific focus’ for economy regrowth as lockdowns in region relaxed

13 May 2020

Ministers in charge of trade for countries within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) regional forum have highlighted ‘remedying economic challenges’, including the restarting of food and agriculture supply chains, as a key focus even though halting the spread of COVID-19 should remain a ‘top priority’.

COVID-19 in Malaysia: Food industry recovery thwarted as half of states refuse to fully leave lockdown

12 May 2020

The F&B industry in Malaysia has called for food businesses in all states nationwide to ‘concurrently resume’ as per the government’s recent loosening of COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions, but has hit a snag with seven of the nation’s 14 states refusing to fully restart operations.

‘Large volatility’: Coca-Cola Amatil struggles with sales in Oceania and Indonesia amidst COVID-19 lockdowns

11 May 2020

Coca-Coca Amatil has been hit with plummeting sales volumes in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia amidst COVID-19 lockdowns being implemented by all three countries, but remains positive that its strong foundations will tide it through the crisis.

Public-private link: Food South Australia highlights technology in helping F&B businesses tackle COVID-19 impacts

11 May 2020

F&B industry group Food South Australia has turned to technology to help businesses in the region highlight and tackle the impacts of COVID-19 in the region, with its Chief Executive Officer citing three new tools.

E-commerce in Saudi Arabia: Food sales surge amid COVID-19 pandemic

6 May 2020

Consumers in Saudi Arabia have drastically ramped-up their online purchases of food products in the the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data reveals.

COVID-19 in Qatar: Government says sufficient food and consumer goods for one year

6 May 2020 

Qatar says it has enough stock of food and consumer goods to meet demand for at least one year, as the Middle East continues to battle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Broadening GM foods range: Australia, New Zealand forge ahead despite COVID-19 delays to food code amendments

6 May 2020

Australia and New Zealand are still actively seeking to widen the range of genetically modified (GM) foods accepted in the region despite related amendments to the food code being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Raise RDA of vitamin C, D: Study urges health authorities to adjust guidance in light of COVID-19

6 May 2020

Health authorities should reassess the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key micronutrients such as vitamin C and D to support the immune system, said a group of researchers.

Eating at home: China’s COVID-19 online purchasing patterns reveal huge shift towards home cooking

5 May 2020

China’s online purchasing patterns throughout the country’s COVID-19 lockdown thus far have revealed a shift towards food products for home-cooking, a pattern that is expected to continue even beyond current restrictions.

Popular purchases during COVID-19: AI predicting changes to F&B consumption trends in Asia

4 May 2020

Experts claim to have successfully deployed artificial intelligence (AI) technology to predict consumer purchasing trends in Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and found them to skew heavily towards foods and beverages that are related to immunity and DIY preparations.

‘Panda bashing’ claims and boycott threats raise alarm for Aussie supplement firms as China COVID-19 row escalates

4 May 2020

As the two countries engage in an increasingly hostile war of words over the COVID-19 outbreak, could the Australian supplement industry’s huge export success to China now be under threat? Editor-in-Chief Gary Scattergood assesses the risk of collateral damage.

‘New and lasting habits’: Singapore’s online shopping surge will persist after COVID-19

29 April 2020

Many Singaporean consumers have shifted their purchasing behavior from offline to online shopping as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts predict that this shift will be a long-lasting one with effects long past the outbreak.

Thorny issue: Malaysian durian industry hit by demand slump and manpower shortage due to COVID-19

29 April 2020

The durian industry in Malaysia has been hit hard by a drastic drop in demand and lack of manpower due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a sharp downturn for one of the country’s most popular exports.

COVID-19 palm oil depression: Indonesia sees volumes fall drastically for country’s top export commodity

28 April 2020

Indonesia has seen export volumes for its palm oil, its top agricultural commodity, drop drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, with even bigger slumps set to come.

COVID-19 in South Korea: Online food product sales see over 90% growth

28 April 2020

South Korea has seen an increase of over 90% in online food product transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but continues to face trade-related challenges even as the country has moved to relax some social-distancing regulations.

‘Can’t fight COVID-19 alone’: ASEAN leaders call for urgent collaboration in food security and open trade

27 April 2020

Country leaders of all the member states comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reaffirmed commitments to ensure food security and smooth regional food trade in the recent ASEAN Special Summit on COVID-19.

‘Misleading advice’: Poisoning risk of disinfecting fresh produce to prevent COVID-19 – industry expert

27 April 2020

Fresh produce experts in Australia and New Zealand have denounced the merits of directly disinfecting fruits and vegetables as has been advocated via a viral video and mainstream news, calling this a ‘dangerous’ food safety hazard.

COVID-19 in UAE: Fresh food markets and confectionery stores resume business after weeks of closure

24 April 2020

UAE’s fresh food markets, food trading outlets and selected confectionery stores in shopping malls have gradually reopened, following shutdowns due to COVID-19.

‘No crackdowns for now’: Japan temporarily loosens food labelling rules to help firms deal with COVID-19

23 April 2020

Japan has temporarily relaxed its traditionally strict food labelling regulations to help accommodate food manufacturing firms that need to make adjustments to production processes or raw materials in their production chains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Distribution, cultural diversity and trust: Why there is no COVID-19 panic buying in UAE

23 April 2020

Many countries have experienced mass panic buying of food and beverages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the UAE seems to have been spared the worse of irrational consumer behaviour.

Can honey, omega-3, resistant potato starch help fight COVID-19? Researchers to examine via clinical trials

23 April 2020

Researchers from Asia, the Middle East, and the West are now trialling omega-3, honey, and even potato resistant starch, on top of vitamins and zinc, as they race to find products that could contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and its symptoms.

COVID-19 payback: Pakistan flour industry calls for tax exemptions in light of ‘hard work’ during pandemic

22 April 2020

The flour industry in Pakistan has requested the government to exempt or at least subsidise all flour mills from taxes that would normally have to be paid in light of the sector’s significant contributions to food stability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

Rice-ing concern: COVID-19 creates supply and price volatility for Asia’s most ‘cost-sensitive’ crop

22 April 2020

Lockdowns and trade barriers across Asia due to the COVID-19 pandemic have thrust rice - one of the region’s largest agricultural commodities – firmly into the spotlight potential volatility in both supply and cost.

Distribution, cultural diversity and trust: Why there is no COVID-19 panic buying in UAE

22 April 2020

Many countries have experienced mass panic buying of food and beverages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the UAE seems to have been spared the worse of irrational consumer behaviour.

Kiwi kicking on: Zespri continues to sees strong demand in China amid COVID-19 pandemic

21 April 2020

New Zealand kiwifruit producer Zespri has reported strong demand for its fresh fruits in China during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Can honey, omega-3, resistant potato starch help fight COVID-19? Researchers to examine via clinical trials

20 April 2020 

Researchers from Asia, the Middle East, and the West are now trialling omega-3, honey, and even potato resistant starch, on top of vitamins and zinc, as they race to find products that could contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and its symptoms.

COVID-19 in Japan: Major F&B manufacturers battling to provide ‘business as usual’ during state of emergency

20 April 2020

Japanese F&B firms in Japan such as Nissin, Ajinomoto, Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin, Kewpie, Hotei Foods, and Megmilk Snow Brand say they are battling to provide 'business as usual', despite the state of emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oh soy! China condiment giant Foshan Haitian bullish over FY20 performance despite COVID-19 impact

20 April 2020

Foshan Haitian, China’s largest seasoning and soy sauce manufacturer, recorded profits of RMB5.3 billion (US$750 million) in FY19, up 22.64% from the year before, and insists it is on target to top that by RMB1 billion (US$140mn) this year despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

China Focus: Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in our round-up

17 April 2020

Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

COVID-19’s crop crisis: Pandemic poses major risk to Asia’s food supply and trade - expert

15 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic risks causing widespread disruption to Asia’s commodities production, with wheat and rice set to be especially hard hit, according to a regional agricultural expert.

E-commerce boost for alcohol and fresh food during COVID-19 likely to remain: Euromonitor

15 April 2020

Sales of alcohol and fresh foods on e-commerce in China have surged during the COVID-19 epidemic, with market analysts predicting that the changes in consumer buying habits are here to stay.

COVID-19 in India: AYUSH Ministry seeks scientific validation of traditional medicines after initial backlash

15 April 2020

India’s Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) is aiming to put a stop to false claims for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 by setting up a task force to evaluate products and practices.

COVID-19 in ASEAN: ‘Protectionist’ measures threaten global supply chains as lockdowns persist

14 April 2020

Several countries in the South East Asian region have moved to impose extended lockdowns, export bans and other heightened trade barriers in response to continued widespread COVID-19 infection rates within the region, posing a very real risk for food supply chains worldwide.

Yakult’s China sales hit by COVID-19 impact and Lunar New Year hiatus

14 April 2020

Yakult has reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused its business in China to experience a drop in sales in the first two months of the year.

COVID-19 in Oceania: Food safety worries and exports emerge as region’s biggest concerns

13 April 2020

Food safety and export continuity have emerged as the biggest concerns for the food industries in Australia and New Zealand as lockdowns in the region continue, with the various food sectors attempting to allay public concerns.

Hot Right Now: COVID-19, F&B firms as essential services, food supply fears and more social media trending stories feature in our round-up

10 April 2020

COVID-19, F&B firms as essential services, food supply fears and more social media trending stories feature in this edition of Hot Right Now.

COVID-19 concerns: UAE assures citizens of six-month food supply and import objectives

9 April 2020

The Ministry of Economy in UAE has stated that it has enough food to meet the needs of its citizens for at least six months, amidst concerns of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which is showing no signs of slowing in the region.

COVID-19 in China: Food supply and lax regulations cause for concern as government touts ‘return to normalcy’

8 April 2020

The Chinese government has been pushing for a ‘return to normalcy’ for what it deems ‘low-risk’ COVID-19-affected areas within the country, but faces multiple challenges in the form of public anxiety over food security and relaxed control measures.

Depleting stocks, longer delivery time: Companies on meeting vitamin C supply amid COVID-19 disruption

8 April 2020

The huge demand for vitamin C has sent stocks running low for retailers and the situation is further complicated by longer delivery times and more expensive freight costs.

Safety vs sustainability: Single-use food packaging use rises due to COVID-19 – but is it truly safer?

7 April 2020

Single-use, disposable food packaging appears to have made a comeback rising on the coattails of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many consumers believe this to be safer and/or more hygienic – but are these beliefs truly warranted?

COVID-19 APAC lockdowns: F&B manufacturing an ‘essential service’ in some countries – but not enough

6 April 2020

The F&B manufacturing sector has been classified as an ‘essential service’ by many APAC countries in as COVID-19 lockdowns are imposed, enabling factories to continue producing food supplies – but this has not been seen in some places which need the supply the most.

Thailand’s COVID-19 ‘war’: Local food production centre of focus as government guarantees supplies

6 April 2020

Thailand’s food supply preparations to battle the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak have focused heavily on local food productivity, covering both agricultural products and processed foods.

Trend Tracker: COVID-19, sugar reduction, healthy snacking and more feature in our round-up

3 April 2020

COVID-19, sugar reduction, healthy snacking and more feature in this edition of Trend Tracker.

‘Serious consequences’: ASEAN COVID-19 lockdowns heighten food supply fears

1 April 2020

A lack of collaboration between ASEAN governments and the food industry could risk causing supply shortages across the region as several nations enforce COVID-19 lockdowns.

‘Spend more!’: Taiwan premier reassures public of sufficient food stocks amid panic-buying

31 March 2020

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang has opted to employ humour to reassure the local public that his government has sufficient food stocks to tide the country through the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, asking the people to ‘buy as much as you like’.

Going ‘off-air’ for COVID-19: Coca-Cola Philippines cancels all commercial advertising

31 March 2020

Coca-Cola Philippines has opted to halt all of its commercial advertising activities and turn the original funds for these towards supporting COVID-19 frontliners and vulnerable communities.

India’s COVID-19 lockdown: Coca-Cola, Nestle and more MNCs call for F&B manufacturing to be made ‘essential service’

30 March 2020

In the wake of India’s nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, Coca-Cola India, Nestle India and various other big MNCs in the country have called for F&B manufacturing to be made an ‘essential service’ in order to keep shelves stocked and avoid further panic.

Stop COVID-19 hoarding: Indonesian police and Philippines government order purchase limits

30 March 2020

The Indonesian National Police and Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have both issued orders to limit the purchases of noodles, rice and other staple food items nationwide in hopes of curbing the hoarding and panic-buying induced by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Science Shorts: Asian vs Western foods, coconut oil for COVID-19, plant-based production and more feature in our round-up


Asian vs Western foods, coconut oil for COVID-19, plant-based production and more food science and technology stories feature in this edition of Science Shorts.

COVID-19 in the Middle East: UAE closes all fresh food markets, supermarkets allowed to open 24 hours


The UAE government has closed all fish, meat and vegetable markets for two weeks in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Eating right: COVID-19 pumps up sales for India’s protein bread maker


An Indian start-up specialising in making protein bread and cookies saw online sales go up by 15% in mid March, with the firm believing consumers are increasingly making more healthy food choices as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Singapore clamps down on 1000+ e-commerce listings for false COVID-19 health claims


Singapore’s national regulator for health products, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), has removed a significant number of product listings claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19 from local e-commerce platforms.

Too little too late? Pakistan issues new COVID-19 guidelines for food industry amidst rampant rumours and speculation


Pakistan’s Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has recently issued a set of COVID-19 guidelines aimed at the food industry in hopes of controlling the outbreak, amid rampant rumours and speculations about the virus in the country.

Packaging problems: Slowdown in supply of materials in China causing problems in Australia


The export slowdown of packaging materials from China in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak could exacerbate the shortage of products such as rice, flour, pasta, biscuits, and UHT in Australia caused by the current panic buying, according to the boss of retailer Ritchies Stores.

Wine will be fine: Outlook for online sales in China remains positive despite coronavirus outbreak


The outlook for wine e-commerce in China remains optimistic despite the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, according to a leading expert.

COVID-19 wreaks havoc: Meat and seafood New Zealand’s biggest losers in China trade


New Zealand’s trade with China has suffered some heavy hits since the novel coronavirus outbreak began, with the meat and seafood sectors affected worst of all, although dairy has managed to remain stable.

Policy Picks: Malaysia lockdown, COVID-19, sugar-related policies and more feature in our round-up


Malaysia lockdown, COVID-19, sugar-related policies and more feature in this edition of Policy Picks.

Malaysia in lockdown: COVID-19 reignites food supply fears in Singapore despite government reassurance


Malaysia’s announcement that borders of the entire country will be closed for two weeks in an attempt to control the local spread of COVID-19 has led to renewed panic in neighbouring Singapore, which imports large amounts of fresh produce from the country,...

Export challenge: China’s botanical firms in supply chain battle as global orders rebound for immunity ingredients


The COVID-19 epidemic has led to a rebound in demand for plant extracts with immune-boosting effects, but a China industry expert has warned there are difficulties in exporting the goods due to logistic supply chain problems.

Fight COVID-19 with dairy: China industry associations issue consumption guidelines to ‘build immune resistance’


Four major dairy industry associations in China have formed a set of guidelines for dairy and dairy product consumption for local residents in hopes of strengthening public immune resistance to combat the recent COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak.

Coconut and COVID-19: Philippines studying antiviral properties of coconut oil as potential treatment


The Philippines is looking to study virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has since infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,800 worldwide.

China Focus: Sugar reduction, fresh food sales surge, COVID-19 and more feature in our round-up


Sugar reduction, fresh food sales surge, COVID-19 and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

COVID-2019 sparks boom in fresh food imports to China as trust in local produce takes a hit


The recent coronavirus outbreak (COVID-2019), which is believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, has heightened demand for fresh food imports into China.

COVID-2019: Egypt and Jordan suspend import of Chinese food products, Saudi and UAE remain calm


Two countries in the Middle East have suspended import of some Chinese food products to soothe public concerns in light of the COVID-2019 outbreak.

Coca-Cola faces tighter supply of sucralose from China as COVID-19 hits supply chain


Beverage giant Coca-Cola has experienced some delays in its artificial sweetener supply chain from China as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

Coronavirus ‘leverage’: FSSAI ups meat hygiene auditing and manpower in India


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has denied that the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has had any impact on the local meat and fish industry, but said that it intended to ‘leverage’ the crisis to raise hygiene standards...

Strong growth in China but COVID-19 brings uncertainty to demand and supply chain: a2 Milk


The a2 Milk Company said revenue from China was “above expectations” in Jan and Feb, but the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak had brought uncertainty to consumer demand and supply chain.

Hot Right Now: Novel coronavirus, palm oil, Mondelez paper packaging and other top stories trending on social media


Novel coronavirus, palm oil, Mondelez paper packaging and other top stories trending on social media feature in this edition of Hot Right Now.

Coronavirus in Singapore: Vitamin demand jumps five-fold in two weeks for supermarket chain


The coronavirus Covid-19 has sparked a sudden spike in demand for vitamin C and multivitamins in Singapore, according to a major retailer in the city state.

Double threat: Negative outlook for food retail scene as Hong Kong battles coronavirus and protests


Hong Kong’s sales of food retail outlets have dropped 3% to HK$42.8 billion (US$5.5bn) in 2019, compared to HK$44.3 billion (US%5.7bn) in 2018.

Safety First: Novel coronavirus, false labelling, nuclear food ban lift and more feature in our round-up


Novel coronavirus, false labelling, nuclear food ban lift and more feature in this edition of Safety First.

Angel Yeast, Mengniu and Friesland donate to support fight against coronavirus


Hubei-based Angel Yeast Company has donated RMB$1m (USD143k) through the Municipal Charity Federation for epidemic prevention and control in response to the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic.

JD reports surge in fresh food orders in China during Chinese New Year and coronavirus outbreak


China e-commerce giants JD say they have seen sales of fresh foods, especially vegetables, increase both online and offline during the Chinese New Year period and during the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

‘Totally catastrophic’: China’s coronavirus crisis sees global F&B authorities react with varying degrees of caution


The recent coronavirus outbreak originating from animals in China has seen food and beverage authorities and industries worldwide taking steps to prevent spreading or ‘importing’ the virus into their countries – some more aggressively than others.

Ayurvedic protection? India’s AYUSH ministry draws flak for advocating alternative medicine against Coronavirus


India’s Ministry of AYUSH has attracted criticism from medical experts for suggesting alternative medicines, such as Ayurveda, homoeopathy, and unani practices, could act as immunity booster against the deadly novel coronavirus.

China coronavirus: Calls to ban live animal sales in wet markets to halt future outbreaks


Sales of live animals at wet markets across China should be banned in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus 2019-nCoV, according to one expert.

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