ASEAN Focus: Carlsberg Malaysia's Sapporo partnership, world-first liquid shio koji enters region, Sunsweet in Thailand and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Carlsberg Malaysia's Sapporo partnership, world-first liquid shio koji enters region, Sunsweet in Thailand and more feature in this edition of ASEAN Focus. ©Getty Images
Carlsberg Malaysia's Sapporo partnership, world-first liquid shio koji enters region, Sunsweet in Thailand and more feature in this edition of ASEAN Focus. ©Getty Images

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Carlsberg Malaysia's Sapporo partnership, world-first liquid shio koji enters region, Sunsweet in Thailand and more feature in this edition of ASEAN Focus.

Beer slump: Carlsberg Malaysia forges ahead with new premium Sapporo partnership despite consumer spending concerns

Beer heavyweight Carlsberg Malaysia has decided to persist with its portfolio premiumisation strategy and a new Sapporo partnership despite concerns over ‘weak’ consumer sentiment and diminished profitability in the third quarter of 2023.

Carlsberg Malaysia recently released its financial results for Q3FY2023, announcing a 10.2% year-on-year decline in revenue to RM513.4mn (US$108mn) and a 0.6% year-on-year decline in net profit to RM75.9mn (US$16mn).

The firm has been persistent in its implementation of a premiumisation strategy​ over the past few years, firm in its belief of this as a crucial strategy to continue achieving profitable growth​ - and it appears this slump in profitability has not changed its plans so far.

“On November 1, [Carlsberg Malaysia] has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Sapporo Breweries for the exclusive manufacturing and distribution of Sapporo Premium Beer in Malaysia commencing from 2024,” ​Clini announced.

Magic marination: World-first liquid shio koji brand hopes to ride ASEAN umami and health trends

World-first liquid shio koji brand Hanamaruki has big plans to ride on the growing umami and wellness trends in South East Asia, after seeing success in western and East Asian markets.

Shio koji is a traditional Japanese condiment that is made from rice, salt, and alcohol that goes through a fermentation process to produce a strong umami flavour. It boasts added enzymatic and probiotic/prebiotic benefits as well due to not being heat-treated, which gives rise to its two major functions of marination and seasoning.

“In terms of marination, shio koji is known for being an effective natural marinade that can reduce any bad smells of meat, chicken or seafood as well as improving juiciness and tenderness,”​ Hanamaruki Senior Sales and Planning Manager Mookda Adunwatthanachat told FoodNavigator-Asia​ at the Fi Asia 2023 show in Bangkok.

Sweet stability: Sunsweet sees stable recovery for prune products in Thailand after pandemic woes

Sunsweet’s ingredients arm is optimistic that stable recovery is incoming for prunes and prune-derived products in Thailand on the back of rising demand after a standstill during the pandemic period.

Although Sunsweet is most well-known for its pre-packaged prunes and bottled prune juices, the firm also runs Sunsweet Ingredients as a major arm of its business in Asia, with presence in markets such as Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

According to the Sunsweet Ingredients’ local Thailand partner Chaipattana, prunes and prune-derived products hit a major hurdle due to premium pricing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is well on its way to recovery today.

“The prune market and market demand is quite stable now, with a lot of improvement compared to last year,”​ Chaipattana Managing Director Orawee Lomsangprow told FoodNavigator-Asia.

Meatable says costs cut and production improved as it aims to debut price-competitive cultivated meat in Singapore

The Netherlands-based food tech company Meatable says it has managed to reduce costs and raise production efficiency of its cultivated meat products, which are on course to be launched in Singapore by next year.

Founded in 2018, Meatable raised US$35m in a recent funding round, bringing its total funding to US$95m, which will be used to scale up production and accelerate commercialisation.

The firm is poised to debut its cultivated pork products in select Singapore restaurants next year, and launch in local supermarkets from 2025. It has partnered with Esco Aster, the country’s sole commercially licensed cultivated meat manufacturer, to kick-start production.

Thai UPF warning: Products routinely exceed fat, sugar, salt RDIs – new data

New data from Thailand claims almost all ultra-processed food (UPF) products exceed the recommended daily amount of sodium and lack essential nutrients and minerals.

Research consistently demonstrates that ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are linked to detrimental health effects. The rise of UPFs has been linked to a shift toward globalised diets that are higher in fat, refined carbohydrates, and lower in fiber.

The researchers behind a study in Thailand​ claim that the consumption of UPFs is detrimental as it can displace nutritious, unprocessed and minimally processed foods in the diet, potentially leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in consumers in the long run. 

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