Healthier Choices: Plant-based and meat hybrid products, healthy snacking in Asia, China's first plant-based yoghurt brand and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based and meat hybrid products, healthy snacking in Asia, China's first plant-based yoghurt brand and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices. ©Getty Images
Plant-based and meat hybrid products, healthy snacking in Asia, China's first plant-based yoghurt brand and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices. ©Getty Images

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Plant-based and meat hybrid products, healthy snacking in Asia, China's first plant-based yoghurt brand and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices.

Plant-based and meat hybrids: Better Meat Co looks to usher in new category of ‘healthier, cost-effective’ products in Asia

Better Meat Co is eyeing Asia as a major market to bring in a whole new category of hybrid, blended meat and plant-based products, citing superior health benefits and price parity as driving factors.

Blended or hybrid products refer to conventional meat items such as nuggets or meatballs which are infused with plant proteins to convey additional health and/or taste benefits. Although this is theoretically an easier route to take to hit goals such as price parity, the category has received far less attention in Asia as compared to plant-based meats – but the Better Meat Co is looking to change that.

“Our target consumers in Asia with the hybrid product category are not plant-based, vegans or vegetarians but instead meat eaters who are looking for a more balanced, healthier diet,” ​Better Meat Co CEO and Co-Founder Paul Shapiro told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Healthy snacking in Asia: Convenience, nutrition and localisation key drivers of post-COVID-19 innovation – Expert Growth Asia panel

Convenience, nutrition and meeting localised needs have been identified by experts as the three top drivers that food firms looking to innovate in the healthy snacking space in Asia need to take note of in a post-COVID-19 world.

The experts convened at the Healthy Snacking session of our recent Growth Asia Interactive Broadcast 2021 series, organized by FoodNavigator-Asia​ and NutraIngredients-Asia​. [Watch again on-demand here​.]

The panel was comprised of Mars Wrigley General Manager Asia Patrick Gantier, US Daiey Export Council Technical Director for Food Applications Martin Teo, Dole Packaged Foods VP and MD APAC Aashim Malhotra, Eat Real International Sales Manager Yumi Chan, AI Palette Head of Innovation Salomi Naik, and Sweegen Director of Business Development Imtiaz Chaglani.

The panel agreed that snacking in general and healthy snacking in particular is rapidly on the rise in the Asia Pacific region, especially with many consumers having developed a habit of eating many small meals and snacking through the day during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

China snacking premiumisation: Nation’s first coconut yoghurt firm highlights Tmall launch as major brand building opportunity

China’s first plant-based coconut yoghurt brand Yeyo has highlighted the importance of novelty, premiumisation and brand building in capturing the holy grail of middle-class consumers in the country after successfully launching its first flagship store on Tmall.

According to Christiana Zhu, Co-Founder and CEO of the firm behind Yeyo which is Marvelous Foods, the Tmall flagship store is particularly important as it is a key opportunity for brand building, which is crucial when it comes to capturing the attention of rising middle class consumers.

“The plant-based market in China is right on the tip of a wave and there is massive potential due to the rising middle class and the [advent of] COVID-19, where people want to eat healthier,”​ Zhu told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Brand building is particularly important when it comes to China’s urbanites, they want novelty and health and premiumisation, and plant-based ticks all those boxes.

Home baking, flavour innovation and healthier options: Top APAC bakery firms weigh in on trends dominating sector

Bakery products have always been a staple in the Asia Pacific region for breakfast and snacking occasions, but the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the sector’s growth significantly in the past year, primarily driven by the home-baking, flavour innovation and healthier eating trends.

In this episode of the FNA Deep Dive, we take a closer look at the bakery sector in APAC and find out more about the trends driving the industry post-COVID-19, with input from various leading firms in the industry.

The health and wellness trend has penetrated basically every food and beverage category possible, and bakery is no different with many consumers looking for healthier options particularly in the form of products that are gluten-free or containing less carbohydrates.

According to Malaysian bakery firm Fresco Grano which specialises in gluten-free and organic baked goods including breads, cookies, cakes and granola, the health and wellness trend in APAC has come into its own over the past few years.

“The health and wellness trend has really gained its momentum since [at least] five years ago when Fresco Grano first entered the business,”​ Fresco Grano Founder Ryea Sankaran told us.

Triple burden battle: Researchers highlight need for sustainable healthy diet in Lebanon to alleviate food insecurity

Researchers have highlighted the need for a healthier and sustainable diet to alleviate food insecurity in Lebanon, on the back of deteriorating economic conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking at the existing triple-burden of malnutrition in the country including hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, and escalating obesity and non-communicable diseases, researchers have developed an evidence-based sustainable and healthy diet that promotes human health and at the same time controls cost and mitigates environmental impact.

It was achieved using an optimisation mathematical model that generates optimal diet solutions that are healthy, of low cost and satisfy the adequate nutrient needs of adults in Lebanon, while taking into consideration environmental sustainability aspects.

In this study partially funded by FAO, researchers from Lebanon, Italy and UAE have optimised the average Lebanon diet to include a higher intake of whole grain bread, dark green vegetables, dairy products, and legumes, and lower intake of refined bread, meat, poultry, added sugars, saturated fat.

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