Healthier Choices: Functional premium milk, healthier plant-based innovation, clean label demands and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Functional premium milk, healthier plant-based innovation, clean label demands and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices.
Functional premium milk, healthier plant-based innovation, clean label demands and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices.

Related tags Healthier choice

Functional premium milk, healthier plant-based innovation, clean label demands and more feature in this edition of Healthier Choices.

Functional future: Premium milk brand Koita eyes NPD spurt to maintain Asia momentum

UAE premium milk brand Koita is doubling up on efforts to introduce new product lines, including functional beverages, as it seeks to maintain its growth in Asia.

The firm has seen business boom by 87% in the region this year, largely on the back of its organic dairy and plant-based ranges.

And after a long-drawn process to obtain regulatory approval, Koita has finally entered South Korea, bringing the brand’s market presence to a total of 12 countries.

As South Korean legislation prohibits the addition of vitamins to imported milk, Koita went to lengths to create a bespoke organic milk product and a new packaging with Korean labels. To ensure the taste and nutrition levels were not compromised, quality checks and taste tests were performed in the company’s R&D headquarters in Italy.

‘Reduce and replace’: Plant-based brands can slash salt by following beverage sector’s sugar strategy - leading academic

Plant-based brands need to slash salt levels by adopting a similar ‘reduce and replace’ strategy used by the sugar-sweetened beverage sector in order to ensure that consumers can reap health benefits of the trend, according to a nutrition expert.

Although the plant-based product sector has seen incredible growth over the past few years, significant concerns still remain regarding the veracity of health and nutritional claims made by brands in the sector, as well as the as-yet unverifiable potential risks of long-term consumption.

One of the most commonly-seen concerns raised by nutritionists has been that of high sodium content, with most plant-based products in the market today considered highly-processed foods that also tend to require salt to mask potential off-flavour notes, particularly when it comes to the plant-based meat sector.

Safety over shelf-life: Thai consumer concerns over long expiry dates driving demand for clean label ingredients

Rising awareness amongst Thai consumers regarding the potential unhealthy connotations associated with long expiry dates is a key factor driving up the demand for clean label food ingredients in the country, according to leading industry experts.

Although the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic generally led consumers worldwide towards an increased preference for foods and beverages that were more affordable and could last longer, the time of panic-buying has now passed and Thai’s seem to be paying more attention to the labels of their purchases.

This has in turn led to rising concerns over long expiry dates, the potential additives in these products conveying these as well as the potential long-term health impacts, according to leading starch firm SMS Group.

Shelf-life and salt: Taste remains greatest barrier for sodium-reduced food products to move out of premium category

Getting the taste right in sodium-reduced food products remains the biggest barrier to overcome in reformulation efforts, according to industry experts.

In addition to taste, it also plays a range of other roles in terms of texture, preservation and more that cause reformulation efforts surrounding its removal to be exceptionally challenging.

Despite this, the prime difficulty manufacturers face when trying to reformulate products from sauces to chips still remains the issue of getting the taste right, and this challenge is compounded in the South East Asian region where taste is the top priority.

Research for mental health: Huge scope for new studies on synergistic impact of ingredients

There is huge scope for more research on how a broad range of ingredients can work synergistically to improve a raft of mental health conditions.

That’s according to an expert from Australia’s Deakin University Food and Mood Centre which specializes in researching the role of diet and nutrition for mental health.

“The role that food and nutrition plays when it comes to mental health is a pretty new field of research, but there has been knowledge of a strong association between diet quality and types of food consumed and the positive or negative effects of these on mental health,”​ Food and Mood Centre Senior Research Fellow Dr Wolfgang Marx said.

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