Vitafoods Asia 2017

APAC's fastest growing functional and fortified food markets revealed

Fortified and functional products dominate health and wellness F&B sales in APAC. ©iStock

Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are tipped to be among the fastest growing functional food and fortified product markets in APAC to 2021, while Japan is witnessing a wave of product innovation on the back of its new Food with Function regulations.

Reema Bhagwan Jagtiani, a Singapore-based analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International, shared these findings at Vitafoods Asia, at a conference on opportunities in the region for packaged food and beverages.

In 2016, APAC accounted for 32% of the global health and wellness market for packaged food and beverages, with retail value sales hitting US$208bn. This has made the region the largest health and wellness market in the world.

Fortified and functional products dominated packaged health food and beverage sales, with 46% of sales in the region coming from this particular segment. On a global level, sales in the same segment stand at 35%.

Regulation helping innovation

In Japan, the new Food with Function Claims (FFC) regulations have been credited with encouraging “the successful use of innovative ingredients”.

Introduced in April 2015, FFC allows manufacturers to make limited health claims about their products without having to undergo the more rigorous and expensive Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) process.

While it is a notification system and not an official certification, it has led to more innovative products being introduced into the fortified and functional product space.

These include, tea, sparkling water and fruit squash containing dextrin and dietary fibre that are said to suppress fat and sugar absorption, tea powder containing mono glucosyl-hesperidin that stimulates healthy blood flow, and a beverage containing gasseri-kin SP that is supposed to reduce body fat.

Traditional Japanese food and drink items, such as the vitamin K2-rich natto and the manganese- and vitamin B-rich amazake, are also being researched for future use in such products.

The future of fortification

Euromonitor has predicted that by 2021, the packaged health food and beverage market in the region will likely grow by a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%. Fortified or functional, as well as naturally healthy products, will retain the largest share of retail value sales within this sector.

In addition, India, Japan and China will remain the top three APAC health and wellness markets in terms of retail value sales, with respective regional market shares of 7%, 20% and 55%.

This can be attributed to several factors, such as the size of their consumer base, regulatory and demographic patterns, and increasing consumer awareness.

Additionally, the firm has forecasted that between 2016 and 2021, APAC's fastest growing fortified and functional product markets will see a CAGR of between US$4m to US$8m, with Hong Kong at the top of the list, followed by China, Vietnam, Malaysia and lastly, Indonesia.

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