China dairy giant Mengniu believes that the direction for domestic dairy growth lies in the development of localised protein product innovation, especially in the form of ready-to-drink beverage formats.
The interest in dairy amongst Chinese consumers has grown since the Chinese government and local industry associations identified this as a crucial source of nutrition in line with the national Healthy China 2030 objective several years ago
That said, this interest has thus far seen the most development in categories such as milk, drinking yoghurt, yoghurt, ice creams and the like, and over the next few years Mengniu believes that consumer demand for products focused on protein will trump other considerations.
Heightened consumer awareness of food safety as well as increased demands for convenience in food preparation are driving demand for packaged seafood in the post-pandemic market.
Traditionally many consumers in APAC have preferred to buy fish from specialised supermarket seafood counters, where it was perceived to be fresher and could be cleaned on the spot.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased awareness of food safety, both in terms of bacterial transmission via touch as well as shelf-life concerns given the major supply chain challenges at the time.
The crucial combination of freshness and clean label is emerging as an important flavour strategy that food and beverage brands need to hit in order to cater to APAC consumers’ increasingly exacting demands.
The rising demand for convenient food and beverage options can lead products that tend to be highly processed, but at the same time consumers also want items that are as fresh, nutritious and natural as possible.
The cultivated meat industry in APAC needs to focus on localisation and realistic pricing strategies to avoid repeating past alternative protein ‘pitfalls’, says pioneer Aleph Farms.
Cultivated meat is one of the most advanced alternative protein production techniques being researched in the food industry today, and is expected to take roughly another decade before really coming into its own as an alternative to meat.
Beverage products entering the Middle Eastern market need to be clean label and low in sugar in order to gain a strong local foothold, with both regulatory pressure and consumer demand firmly pushing trends in this direction.
The Middle East and Dubai in particular is well known for being associated with luxury and opulence, which also brings with it a higher awareness amongst consumers when it comes to food and beverage consumption and increased demand for higher quality.
This has very much in the local beverages sector, particularly so when products are associated with beauty and skincare given the weather conditions in the region and the potential impacts of this on the skin.