We talked with Viola Zhang, Marketing Executive at Chaucer Foods, about emerging trends in the Asia-Pacific snack and meal solutions market.
APAC consumers are more interested in functional foods than they were prior to the pandemic, looking for products that address both physical and mental health. Sugar consumption also remains a key concern, with the majority of people showing a preference for low sugar or zero sugar beverages. Drinks made with naturally sweet fruits and vegetables are becoming increasingly more popular in Korea and Japan as a result of these trends.
We also see an increased focus on ingredient and supply chain transparency. The combination of these trends is leading to significant innovation with plant-based ingredients – a trend that we expect will continue in the future.
Have consumers’ snacking habits changed during the pandemic? How do you expect this to influence innovation?
In China and India, there has been a significant increase in mid-day and afternoon snacking.1 Overall, consumers want to eat healthier, but they also want foods and beverages that can satisfy a craving or serve as a meal replacement during the day. Innovating with all-natural and nutritious ingredients – such as fruits and vegetables – can help product developers respond to these trends and create new snack products that combine convenience with added nutrition and standout flavor and texture.
How can freeze-dried ingredients help product developers innovate against these trends?
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables retain vibrant colors, crunchy textures, and authentic flavors that can provide a multi-sensory eating experience for consumers. As an inclusion, freeze-dried products can bring vibrant flavors and crisp texture to formulated snacks or meals. Freeze-dried fruit powders dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquid, adding vibrant color, authentic fruit flavor, and nutrition to functional beverages, juice drinks, and teas.
With no added sugars or artificial preservatives, freeze-dried ingredients also sync with consumers’ desire for clean-label ingredients and healthier formulations.
1 “Fear of ‘Covibesity’: Emergence of snacking trend in APAC boon for fruit-based, wellbeing-focused products,” Food Navigator-Asia. June 2021.