Fat for fitness: Smaller packs and keto options driving nut butter popularity in Asia

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Forty Thieves believes that its flexibility in providing smaller packaging options as well as a dedicated keto range has served it well to accommodate consumer demands in Asia.
Forty Thieves believes that its flexibility in providing smaller packaging options as well as a dedicated keto range has served it well to accommodate consumer demands in Asia.

Related tags FNA Trailblazers nut butters

New Zealand nut butter specialist Forty Thieves believes that its flexibility in providing smaller packaging options as well as a dedicated keto range is driving growth across the region.

Forty Thieves has a wide range of award-winning nut butter products in its portfolio, spanning from the common almond and peanut butters to  offerings such as Cinnamon Donut peanut butter and Superfood butters.

The firm has successfully managed to not only obtain listings across New Zealand in major chains such as Woolworths NZ and Pak’n Save, but also expanded its reach to Asia in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, debuting both offline in supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice and also various online platforms.

To do this, Forty Thieves Marketing Director and Co-Owner Shyr Godfrey told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that it has been essential to really embrace the differences in nut butter consumption and needs between their home ground and these Asian markets.

“The biggest difference that we've noticed is the jar sizes that are preferred in Asia, where smaller jar sizes are much more preferable here,”​ she told us during the most recent episode of the Food and Beverages Trailblazers podcast,

“This could be because people often live in apartments in markets like Singapore and just have less space to store their products, so they'd rather get smaller products.

“Another major observation is that in New Zealand we are so used to nut butters that it is very much a staple to be used in all sorts of different consumption occasions such as a topping for our morning porridge – but here, it’s still used quite traditionally as a spread for bread.

“But it could also be a freshness thing, as they know they're buying a product from overseas in hopes of a certain quality, so don't want to buy too much of a product that may have a shorter shelf life because it's already been on a ship – either way, we are noticing that accommodating this demand for slightly smaller jar sizes has really seen this do better in Asia.”

In New Zealand, Forty Thieves sees strong demand for larger packs so has many SKUs that focus on larger quantities such as 500g jars and even 2kg Catering Pails, even for the more complicated superfood butters, whereas in Asia the 290g jars are the most popular.

“Another big trend in Asia is that keto is really taking off especially in Singapore and Malaysia – nut butters are generally keto anyway, but we just focused on improving the taste without adding sugar and providing flavours such as caramel and raspberry, and these have been real hits in this region,”​ she said.

“We’ve also made sure to really focus on the keto messaging in the marketing and labelling – it is a call-out for consumers so maybe aren’t all that sure what fits into the high-fat diet so making it really clear that this is a good option for them.

“There still tends to be some preconception of nut butters] as products with a lot of sugar, oil and emulsifiers [and the thing is that] a cheaper product which uses cheaper ingredients such as cheaper nuts will not have the strong, sweet, roasted flavours required to make a good product, and will need that sugar and oil to lift the flavour – but for us, we use hi-oleic peanuts which have that great flavour, so don’t need these additives and can definitely fit well into this diet.”

Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

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