Consumers are increasingly demanding more information about ingredients and traceability in the booming East-West fusion food category, that spans everything from pandan nuts to kaya ice cream.
These were the key trends highlighted by the business development manager of Singapore grocer and manufacturer Melvados, Bandana Kaur.
Based on this concept, it recently launched its latest and fourth brittle SKU, the Pisang Goreng brittle. It is inspired by the Malay snack called ‘pisang goreng’ or bananas fried in golden yellow batter.
The snack first retailed on 22 April to coincide with preparations for the Muslim festival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid-ul-Fitr), which fell on 3 May in Singapore. According to Kaur, all 1,000 units of the first production run were sold out by 28 April.
“Fusion is everything right now. There is a real push for the localisation of a product. Our bestsellers are the D24 (durian) and onde-onde cakes. People are also more conscious about the ingredients and curious about food sources,” said Kaur.
Splitgill sensation: Thailand’s More Meat strives towards clean label production while planning new RTC line
Thai mushroom-based protein firm More Meat is taking steps towards obtaining clean label recognition while also working on launching a new line of ready-to-cook (RTC) products to later this year.
More Meat’s business strategy revolves around the splitgill mushroom, a local mushroom that grows abundantly on rubber trees in Thailand’s numerous plantations, but is not well-known or recognized as a food ingredient even by local consumers.
“Research has shown that splitgill mushrooms have a high content of beta-glucan which is beneficial for the brain and immune system, and it also has a unique structure that is meaty in itself, with no need for extra flavouring to make it meat-like, so it’s pretty surprising that it’s not been more looked into yet,” More Meat Founder and CEO Kanwra Tanachotevorapong told FoodNavigator-Asia.
China dairy growth: Rising consumer income and increased functional product innovation yields large leap
China’s dairy industry witnessed a large growth in per capita consumption in 2021, backed by rising consumer incomes and firms responding to current trends with the development of functional products.
According to data from the Dairy Association of China (DAC), 2021 saw the per capita consumption of milk in China rise to 14.4kg, a significant increase of 10.6% from the previous year.
“One of the contributing factors to this has been the recovery and rise of consumer income, allowing for a corresponding increase in demand for [quality] products such as dairy,” the association said via a formal statement.
Thai healthy snacking brand MUNCHHH has developed an award-winning range of snacks based on what it has termed the ‘middle ground’ of snacking, with a priority on balancing health and indulgence to keep consumers coming back for more.
MUNCHHH was developed by Thai firm Balance Corp, which has an eventual objective of creating various healthy snacking solutions with a balance between being both delicious and healthy.
“We are looking to be in that middle ground of snacking between snacks that solely focus on being delicious, such as Lay’s potato chips, and products that focus on being healthy, such as supplements or nutritional replacements,” Balance Corp Founder Norawee Bussadeegarn told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Freezing in freshness: How APAC’s frozen food sector is prioritising healthier new product development
Products with a healthier focus are the next major trend within frozen foods sector, with NPD thriving from countries with advanced cold chain systems such as Australia to those with less developed logistics such as India.
The health and wellness trend has been on the rise throughout the entire food and beverage industry in the Asia Pacific region even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and things have been no different for the frozen foods sector.
Before, a great deal of misunderstanding existed about this category, with many consumers believing that these were inferior to fresh foods as the freezing process meant removing nutrients or depleting the quality of the food – this is a misunderstanding that frozen food firms such as Australia’s Dumpling100 have been working hard to overcome.