The food industry across the world is changing. As consumers become more educated about what they are eating, they are also more demanding in terms of healthy food ingredients and processes. A new consciousness and intrinsic morality over the last decade prevalent in the Western food industry is now affecting South Eastern countries as the need for planet friendly products are regulated. With this in mind, we can look ahead to the new strategies in the South East Asia food and beverage industry which are aimed at lifelong healthy eating.
The rise of dietary food supplements in Asia
One of the new trends expected to really take a hold in 2020 in South East Asia, is nutritional extras. As well as adapting ingredients within food and beverage products (such as reducing sugar and salt for instance, or adding proteins), dietary supplements are also becoming popular. The health industry is now a huge market in itself and is continuing to expand. Consequently multi-media giants such as Herbalife, offering health supplements in tablet form, have been reaping great rewards.
There has been enormous demand for products such as these in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Business is expected to expand further in 2020 after growth of up to 40% was seen in the second half of 2019. Another company offering the same type of products is the Chinese organisation Infinitus which expanded into the Philippines in June last year1. A representative for Infinitus stated that the company was very pleased that traditional Chinese medicine could be used to meet wellness demand in Asia. The representative also suggested that this was early days in marketing strategies and there were clearly markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazakhstan.
Supplements bought online
Vietnam is also seeing growth in the dietary supplement market. The three trends expected for next year are women’s health, liver health and anti-cancer supplements. Many experts believe it is the growth in supplements which has triggered interest in e-commerce in Vietnam (this in turn has increased the sales of supplement products). The drive for more dietary supplements in Asia appears to be driven by the middle class. Other countries with new lines are Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. In particular, the market has focussed on skin health.
Why the growing demand for dietary supplements?
The main two reasons why demand for dietary supplements is increasing in Asia, is not just due to a more informed consumer base. It is also to do with population, wealth and age. Population is expanding globally – but this is not just about higher birth rates. At the other end of the lifespan, thanks to advanced medical knowledge and technology, people are living longer (surveys estimate that the number of older persons will double by 2050: from 600 million to 1.13 billion) – and so are looking for products to help them through their later years. For many, dietary supplements are a luxury but due to the fact that the work environment and working conditions have shifted over recent years in Asia, it has led to a wealthier population. Hence the sales for supplements are driven by the new money-rich middle classes.
The healthy ageing APEC conference
Dietary supplements are set to be one of the main focus topics at this year’s healthy ageing APEC conference due to take place in July in Singapore2. It will feature expert speakers from major brands, leading academic institutions and policy and market experts. Regional head of APEC, Gary Scattergood said “… the event comes from the perspective that healthy ageing begins from conception. It assesses innovative food and nutrition solutions across all age spans…” This is a very powerful statement as it puts forward the concept that we should not wait until we are elderly to limit the damage that has already been done to our bodies, but create a society where we are eating correct foods throughout our lives in preparation for our older and more fragile years.
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