Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, recently released the overview of food and beverage trends in the Asia Pacific region to share the latest market research, innovation insights and consumer trends.
Mintel highlights four orientations in this trend, and they were: flowers contend with each other in the beverage market, it's time to cut down on sodium in condiments, breakfast opportunities of instant noodles and healthy ageing dairy drinks for the grey hair.
Flowers Contend With Each Other in the Beverage Market
According to Mintel, more and more beverages in China are adding flower ingredients as a promotional element.
Mintel research also reveals that a quarter of Chinese consumers expect to drink more scented tea in the future, and they are equally interested in non-tea floral flavored drink products. About one in three Chinese soft drink consumers are interested in floral flavored carbonated soft drink innovations.
However, Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) shows that the number of new floral flavored drinks in China is on the rise: 28 percent of new drinks launched in 2018 were scented with flowers, compared with 14 percent in 2014.
01 Cherry blossoms surge in China this spring
Although cherry blossom flavored food and drink products originated in Japan, they are also popular in China. Coca-Cola's Spring Cherry Blossom Limited edition, launched in Japan in 2018, has gone viral online in China.
Thereafter, more cherry-blossom-related products have appeared in the Chinese market, such as Starbucks' cherry blossom series of seasonal products, including cherry blossom flavored lattes and cakes, as well as mugs with cherry blossom designs.
And it is not just prevalent in the food service industry. Lipton has launched cherry blossom flavored instant milk tea in China, while RIO has launched canned cocktails flavored with sakura & brandy.
02 Take advantage of the functional benefits of super flowers
In addition to being used as a natural flavoring agent, some flowers are known in traditional Chinese medicine for their health benefits, such as chrysanthemums, honeysuckles and roses. Thirty-three percent of Chinese soft drink consumers are very interested in soft drink products with Chinese herbal ingredients.
Mintel believes flower ingredients have made a good impression on Chinese consumers with their natural and healthy image. Manufacturers and brand owners should make full use of this opportunity to create new types of floral flavored beverages that are beneficial to health by taking advantage of the positive perceptions that consumers have formed.
03 It's time to cut down on sodium in condiments
Mintel research found that a third of urban Thai consumers wanted to avoid salt in their diet after being aware of the effects of high sodium intake. Meanwhile, seven out of ten urban Indonesian consumers have cut back on salt to stay healthy.
01 Encourage consumers to accept low-sodium foods
Some brands avoid advertising low sodium in public, as some consumers are wary of low-sodium products. One approach that may be more acceptable to consumers, for companies to address the problem of salt reduction, is to gradually adjust the sodium content in their products.
02 Field to be explored
When making condiments, manufacturers may consider not adding salt. At present, condiments from Indonesia and Thailand are experimenting on it.
On the side, as Southeast Asia abounds in coconut, manufacturers might as well use the amino acid in coconut as a breakthrough point. Coconut amino acids are made from organic coconut water mixed with sea salt, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, and MSG-free. Moreover, replacing soy sauce with edible coconut amino acids can solve the problem of edema caused by the high salt content that might be brought about by the ketogenic diet.
04 Breakfast opportunity for instant noodles
The latest research from Mintel shows that manufacturers may be missing out on an important occasion: breakfast. Up to 38 percent of Indians eat instant noodles for breakfast, significantly higher than the proportion of instant noodles as a snack (20 percent). In view of this, instant noodle manufacturers may consider exploring breakfast as a consumption occasion to increase the interest of consumers.
Instant noodles are not a local food in most parts of India. Mintel research shows that, However, two thirds of Indians consumed instant noodles in the three months to August 2018, which suggests that while per capita consumption of instant noodles may be low in India, its penetration rate is high.
One of the reasons instant noodles have become a popular breakfast food in India may be that Indians tend to eat their breakfast hot and salty.
05 Convenience and nutrition
Besides taste, convenience is another attraction of instant noodles for breakfast. A quarter of Indians said they would prefer to buy more packaged breakfasts if they had less time to prepare or wait. Therefore, it is very important for instant noodle manufacturers to convey the convenience message on the front of packaging.
Furthermore, Mintel research found that two in five Indian consumers want a nutritionally balanced packaged breakfast food, while three in five instant noodle consumers want vegetables in their noodles.
Therefore, in addition to increasing the breakfast occasion, instant noodles may as well consider adding Better-for-you ingredients, such as vegetables, or replacing ordinary flour with more nutritious substitutes such as sorghum and finger millet.
06 Healthy ageing dairy drinks for the elderly
According to Mintel’s Global Food and Drink 2019 Trend, "healthy ageing" is becoming a critical issue for the food and beverage industry, as consumers regard health and wellness as a holistic, positive and unremitting pursuit.
Many consumers believe that dairy drinks are functional and effective for maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Mintel research reveals that almost half of Chinese consumers agree that milk is good for the elderly. Therefore, dairy drinks can be promoted as healthy aging products.
07 Creating functional products that meet various needs
In addition to maintaining bone health, protein is also an important part of a healthy diet. The International Osteoporosis Foundation research shows that older people need more protein than younger people, as the former tend to have lower calorie intake, which may lead to significant protein deficiency. But for now, many dairy brands do not emphasize the benefits of protein for healthy aging.
While bone, joint and immune system health has traditionally been a focus of products for the elderly, Mintel predicts that, in the future, there will be more prominent demand for brain and eye health, which will capture the attention of consumers who are concerned about dementia, memory loss and poor eyesight.
Moreover, Mintel believes that consumers, especially seniors, want to benefit from the products they buy or consume, and do not want to be reminded of their age. Therefore, based on the concept of "healthy ageing", brands need to develop products to help the elderly stay active, relieve physical discomfort and improve physical flexibility.
08 Year of Innovation: Summary of food and beverage products
In addition to the four major trends, Mintel Global Food and beverage analyst team, based on new product data from daily monitoring, has identified the most innovative new food and beverage products in the Asia Pacific region in the past year: