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Cost a barrier to healthy eating in Malaysia - FIA

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:5/24/2019 01:05:39 PM

The Food Industry Asia (FIA) and IGD survey Malaysian consumers and F&B businesses to understand behavioural trends and provide a reformulation landscape.  

The Food Industry Asia (FIA) and research firm IGD recently released the report, ‘Healthier Product Reformulation in Malaysia’, the first-ever survey of consumers and F&B businesses in the country. FIA sought to understand local behavioural trends and perceptions of solutions that deliver improved nutrition such as reformulation and product labelling.

The survey shows 99% of respondents desire to maintain a healthy diet and try to improve their consumption habits. However, 71% said the cost is a barrier to achieving a healthy diet. On the topic of reformulation, 76% agreed that F&B companies should tweak their recipes to make products healthier as long as the taste remains the same or better. Respondents also said they are not entirely satisfied with the options available, with 3% believing F&B companies offer sufficient healthy food options with no further changes needed from the industry.

FIA noted that the Malaysian government has increased initiatives to promote better nutrition especially to ease malnutrition.  It said reformulation can also support consumers’ desire to adopt a balanced and healthy diet.

Report findings at a glance:

  1. There is strong commercial incentive for F&B companies to reformulate products: 76% of surveyed companies identified meeting consumer demand as the main motivator for reformulation and the same percentage felt the need to respond to government/pressure groups.
  2. The industry’s reformulation priorities have shifted: F&B companies have become more focused on sugar and salt reduction as well as increasing dietary fibre when reformulating products. The industry’s efforts are now also geared towards fortifying products with vitamins and minerals to address the shortfall in consumer diets.
  3. Consumer acceptability was identified as the top reformulation challenge: While the challenges for different nutrients vary, taste and consumer acceptability emerged as the top concerns for businesses in sugar and salt reduction efforts. Budget and the lack of technical knowledge were also identified as key challenges for businesses.

Source: FIA



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