Trend Tracker: Pandemic grocery trends, heathier savoury snacks, plant-based innovation and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Pandemic grocery trends, heathier savoury snacks, plant-based innovation and more feature in this edition of Trend Tracker. ©Getty Images
Pandemic grocery trends, heathier savoury snacks, plant-based innovation and more feature in this edition of Trend Tracker. ©Getty Images

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Pandemic grocery trends, heathier savoury snacks, plant-based innovation and more feature in this edition of Trend Tracker.

COVID-19 and grocery shopping: Frozen foods and alcohol come out on top in APAC amidst pandemic

Frozen foods and alcohol have found favour with APAC consumers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, garnering huge leaps in growth across various countries in the region amid lockdowns and tightening economics.

Several food categories saw growth in sales – especially with many consumers panic-buying and stockpiling at one point – but none more so than frozen foods.

“Frozen foods have seen the biggest jump in popularity in APAC markets - especially Hong Kong, where 58% or nearly three in five [are] buying more of them,”​ stated YouGov International FMCG Report 2021.

“In fact, APAC markets account for the top two ‘increasers’ on a global scale [which are] Hong Kong which grew 58% and Singapore which grew 40%. Even at the lower end of the scale, numbers tend hovered around the global average (29%) such as Australia with 29%.”

Crazy for crackers: Mondelez Australia’s premium venture prompted by rise of healthier savoury snacks trend

Mondelez Australia is looking to cash in on the rise of healthier savoury snacks in the country via its recent entry into the local premium cracker category, a sector it believes to be leading this trend nationally.

According to the firm’s President for Australia, New Zealand and Japan Darren O’Brien, the crackers industry in Australia is seeing a boost due to the overall rise of healthier savoury snacks trending locally, and consumer demands are getting higher and more varied in terms of quality and taste.

“Consumers in Australia [are] increasingly considering the ingredients and flavours they’re looking for in a savoury snack, [and their] demands are constantly changing,”​ O’Brien told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

WATCH: Protein, texture and flavour expertise combine at new ADM Singapore plant-based innovation lab

ADM is doubling down its focus on plant-based expertise with a new specialist lab within its Singapore innovation centre, which first opened three years ago.

The new plant-based lab will combine ADM’s technical expertise in protein ingredients, texture and flavour to create plant-based meat alternatives in beef, pork, chicken and seafood formats as well as dairy alternatives for beverages and ice cream.

The plant-based innovation lab will join the existing flavour creation and analytic lab, beverage and dairy applications lab and pilot plant, bakery and confectionery lab, and sensory evaluation facility in the 1,078 sqm facility in Singapore.

Triple whammy: China palm oil demand expected to rise as soybean takes swine fever, trade war and COVID-19 hit

China’s demand for palm oil has seen a rise which is expected to continue for some time after major competitor soybean took a hit to supply, demand and prices over the triple threats of COVID-19, the US-China trade war, and African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to Chinese oil industry consultation firm Shanghai Pansun’s General Manager Cai Neng Bin, the local soybean oil industry is in the difficult position of facing a triple threat from not just COVID-19 impacts, but also ASF impacts and the US-China trade war.

“[In addition to] COVID-19 affecting the overall supply chain for soybean imports, [the] China-US trade war has had an impact on China’s soybean imports from the United States, and ASF has impacted soybean-crushing activities [due to a drop in swine and thus] feed demand,”​ said Cai at the recent Pointers on Price Trends seminar held by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

Cultured meat future: Why government buy-in is crucial for sector to hit production cost parity by 2030

Government buy-in will be crucial for cultured meat firms looking to hit cost parity for their products by 2030, with experts claiming that it will be an uphill battle go head-to-head with traditional meat products in terms of price by the end of this decade.

Research from the Good Food Institute (GFI) has shown that it is possible for cultured meat costs to drop to as low as US$5.66 per kg by 2030 if enough governments opt to invest in cultured meat facilities, and other relevant cellular agriculture advances are made.

According to GFI senior scientist Dr Elliott Swartz, these results came from a modelling study based on a hypothetical cultured meat facility estimated to cost around US$450mn, which used both life-cycle assessment (LCA) techno-economic assessment (TEA) for analysis.

“Reducing the CAPEX burden is critical to the rate of scaling of the cultured meat industry and also to products reaching lower costs, and this could be a very rate-limiting step,”​ Dr Swartz told FoodNavigator-Asia​.


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