FB : Fonterra
Thanks for the wonderful invitation, I recently went to catch up on the latest food trends in Malaysia at a media roundtable organized by Fonterra Brands Malaysia.
The panel was led by Fonterra Brands Malaysia’s New Product Development, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Director, Megawati Suzari who was joined by Kantar Worldpanel’s Regional Account Director, Karen Leong, and Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef James Won who is the owner of Enfin, an award-winning French restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
Do you know that Malaysia has the highest prevalence of obese and overweight people in ASEAN according to a recent Economic Intelligence Unit report. However, the tide appears to be changing with consumers demanding healthier, more nutritious and convenient food.
There is a growing focus on health and well-being in Malaysia and across the region, which is changing consumers’ relationship with food, while technology is helping make everything more accessible.
With an expanding middle class and rising disposable incomes across Asia, there is now a wider base of consumers willing to spend on products that support their overall health.
“At the same time, consumers are increasingly time-poor and are seeking convenient options that will allow them to maintain their health on the go. From an industry perspective, this means consumers want healthier snacks and beverages in a ready-to-eat or simplified cooking format,” explained Ms Karen.
“We’re lucky at Fonterra because we work with dairy as our core ingredient – it is truly a superior ingredient that allows us to deliver consumers high-quality nutrition through a variety of products, and consumers are increasingly recognising the important role dairy plays in a balanced diet.
As a consumer-focused business we need to understand the impact of these bigger trends, but at a dairy category level there are further drivers we are focused on to ensure we connect the dots all the way through, so that we can deliver something consumers will want to eat or drink,” said Ms Megawati while elaborating further that changing taste preferences is a key consideration when looking at product innovation.
One of the reasons I like Fonterra is because their products are without added sugar or artificial sweeteners and using natural colouring and flavouring to bring out the real taste of each product.
“The drive by consumers across the region for products that support greater health and wellness is also helping grow demand in the health ageing category. We are capturing the growth of this segment through one of our flagship brands Anlene. The product range is fortified with nutrients to support bone, joint and muscle so that as we grow older, we can all live a more active lifestyle,” said Ms Megawati
The need for convenience is also seeing more people eat out of home with growth across the foodservice sector.
Sharing his knowledge on the changing palettes of Malaysians, Chef James said, “We are also seeing a real change in offerings thanks to the trend of lessening the carbon footprint by consuming locally grown produce. People are not just looking at healthier food choices, but also towards livestock welfare and eco-friendly options in terms of vegetables. People want to know where and how the products they consume are coming from, to better ensure quality.
When we talk about flavours, it is the authenticity of local flavours that Malaysians crave for in their daily lives – and already we are seeing restaurants around the country catering towards this.”
More photos at FOOD Malaysia facebook page, a Malaysian food and lifestyle blogger since 2010