Trend Tracker: News on alcohol, alternative protein and sodium reformulation trends feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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News on alcohol, alternative protein and sodium reformulation trends feature in this edition of Trend Tracker. ©Getty Images
News on alcohol, alternative protein and sodium reformulation trends feature in this edition of Trend Tracker. ©Getty Images

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News on alcohol, alternative protein and sodium reformulation trends feature in this edition of Trend Tracker.

‘Maturation redefined’: Kavalan predicts RTD and premium trends will drive Asian whiskey sector in 2022

Taiwan-based Kavalan Distillery has predicted that the whiskey sector in Asia is set to be driven by premium and ready-to-drink (RTD) products in 2022, while also revealing its secret to winning over 100 international awards last year.

With presence in over 60 countries from Asia to Europe and 30 different single malt whiskey expressions under its belt, the distillery recently won the much-coveted International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year trophy, which is awarded to the highest-scoring whiskey maker across Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas.

“Many of our award-winning expressions are mainly single cask whiskies (unblended products where no two casks are alike; vs single malt whiskies which are made from blending different malt whiskies at the same distillery) – usually only ten out of 100 barrels in the maturation warehouse, or just one-tenth of barrels, are selected to be bottled as single cask whiskies,”​ Kavalan Brand Ambassador & Global PR Officer Kaitlyn Tsai told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

‘Winning strategy’: Why hybrid meat / plant protein products can help overcome taste and texture challenges

Hybrid products containing both animal and plant proteins are offering manufacturers the chance to overcome taste and texture challenges, while simultaneously tapping into the large number of consumers who are eager to learn about alternative proteins.

Plant-based foods and beverages are continuously rising in appeal in the Asian region. And according to data from Kerry’s recent protein-focused report The Protein Mindset,​ many plant protein sources hold strong market potential due to positive associations with health and nutrition.

“Emerging plant-based food and beverage products have grown significantly in consumer appeal in Asia, where 75% of consumers regard plant protein as a more sustainable source and associate it with better quality and being more nutritious,”​ Strategic Marketing Director, Applied Health and Nutrition, Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa Jackie Ng said.

Fight back: How APAC’s alcohol sector is brewing success after COVID-19 hangover – Exclusive in-depth analysis

The alcohol sector in the Asia Pacific region was amongst the most heavily-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of many hospitality outlets, but insiders say the outlook is positive thanks to retail modernisation, product innovation and sustainability drives.

This is why in this edition of the FNA Deep Dive, we take a closer look at the state of the alcohol industry in 2022, the major trends driving its growth, and the challenges that still lie ahead.

Making ramen healthier: South Korea zeroes in on noodles as major target for new reduced sodium labelling rules

South Korea has chosen to focus on national staple food ramen as the first target for the enforcement of its new reduced sodium labelling rules, doubling down on the category by announcing the specific sodium values for manufacturers to adhere to.

In October 2021, the South Korean government announced stricter standards for food manufacturers looking to label products as reduced/lower in sodium or sugar, and these standards officially have come into enforcement starting with ramen/instant noodles.

According to the new standards, instant noodle manufacturers may only label their products with terms such as less, reduced, or light if the product contains a reduction of at least 10% of the ‘average value’ of products in the instant noodle category.

“Instant noodles will be categorised according to whether these are sold in cup or bag format, and whether these have soup/broth [condiments] included or not,”​ the ministry said via a formal statement.

Meiji’s market insights: Functional yogurt sales continue to slide, but sports nutrition on a surge

Meiji’s sales of functional yogurt in Japan have been declining due to the levelling of demand and an intensifying market competition, but sports nutrition is on the up, the firm has revealed.

Net sales of functional yogurt dropped 12 per cent to JPY$24.2bn (US$209m) as compared to Q3 FY2020.

The reduction in functional yogurt sales has also dragged down the company’s overall sales and operating profit of its yogurt and cheese business by 7.9 per cent and 26.7 per cent in Q1-Q3 FY2021 as compared to the same period in FY2020. 

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