BY Christian Philippsen, Managing Director, BENEO Asia Pacific
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in demand for more sustainable and organic foods. Now, more than ever, consumers want to make ethical and healthier choices. With more than half of consumers in Asia Pacific already regularly checking the ingredients list for food and drink products before the pandemic, even more attention has now been placed to what goes into foods and drinks.
Even before the pandemic hit the headlines and impacted markets around the world, the issue of well-being has already been highlighted as a major trend for 2020 and beyond.
Consumers want to avoid products that contain chemicals, synthetics, and artificial ingredients. In Asia Pacific, about half of consumers seek out food and drink products that contain recognisable ingredients. Additionally, transparency has become a powerful purchasing driver for consumers in the region, with about two-thirds agreeing that they want simplicity and transparency when choosing products. These figures show that food manufacturers could stand to gain significant interest if they capitalise on this trend.
The rise of organic
With organic products and ingredients considered a vital element for ethical and sustainable purchasing behaviour, consumer interest in all things natural continues to grow. Globally, figures show organic products have become more important to 1 in 4 consumers in the last year and many are willing to pay a premium price for them. This is thanks to the growing consumer perception that these products are healthy and natural, and are therefore an intrinsic part of a healthier lifestyle.
According to Grand View Research, the global organic market is set to surpass the USD320 billion sales mark by 2025 — with Asia Pacific expected to grow the fastest, accounting for 12% of global revenue. It is highly likely that this trend will be accelerated even further as a result of the increased consumer understanding of, and interest in, the link between nutrition and health.
Organic foods have, unsurprisingly, benefitted from a heightened interest in health. This is due to the fact that consumers generally consider organic foods to be safer and healthier during these unsettled times. The demand is also expected to remain even after the pandemic surge calms. According to the research company Ecovia Intelligence — which has analysed the buying patterns that followed in Europe after the BSE crisis, and following SARS in Asia —demand for organic products will remain strong post-pandemic.
Delivering organic, functional ingredients
As more customers proactively seek out organic solutions, BENEO has been working in partnership with manufacturers, exploring areas to help them meet the increasing demand for organic food and drink products. This has led to BENEO recently announcing the expansion of its ingredient portfolio with two new organic solutions.
The first, Remyline O AX DR, completes BENEO’s existing portfolio of rice starches with the availability of organic solutions for both regular and waxy rice starch. Rice is widely considered a familiar and natural product, with 61% of consumers worldwide seeing rice starch as natural. When asked about key starch ingredients (rice, corn, potato, tapioca and wheat), rice came out on top as ‘a cupboard ingredient’ (67%), that is ‘healthy’ (58%) and ‘easy to digest’ (51%).
Remyline O AX DR is the first of its kind to be brought to market, opening up new possibilities for product development. As a waxy rice starch, it contains no amylose and therefore maintains a stable texture throughout a product’s shelf life. Remyline is suitable for fruit preparations, meat and poultry applications. Technical trials have shown positive results for these applications, as well as for improving the texture of creamy desserts and yoghurts.
BENEO also recently launched Orafti®Organic, a carefully grown and selected organic variant of its popular chicory root fibre, and yet another first to market. Orafti®Organic enables manufacturers to add natural prebiotic fibres that will improve taste and texture, while also allowing for fat and sugar reduction in products across key applications such as dairy, cereals, bakery and confectionery.
Inulin and oligofructose, such as those produced by BENEO, are the only plant-based prebiotics available in the market. According to the International Scientific Association for Pro- and Prebiotics, they are also two of the very few proven prebiotics. Prebiotic fibres play an important part in helping boost fibre consumption, while promoting digestive health by helping to nurture the beneficial bacteria in our gut. A healthy and balanced gut microbiome promotes digestive health and has a beneficial effect on the overall body. Digestive health, and in particular, the gut microbiome, has been a big focus for BENEO’s research for several decades and will continue to remain a key area of interest as demand for inulin and oligofructose grows.
Consumer interest in organic products is continuing to rise across the Asia Pacific. The introduction of BENEO’s organic waxy rice starch and organic chicory root fibre opens many new opportunities for food manufacturers looking to introduce organic convenience foods — where the region’s organic packaged food market is expected to grow the fastest. These not only allow them to formulate future-forward foods and drinks that can support consumers’ preferences, but their overall health, as well.
 FMGC Gurus | Trust and Nutrition Labeling
 FMCG Gurus Clean Label Survey 2019
 HFI 2019
 HFI 2019
 Grand View Research | Global Organic Beverage Market
 HFI Global Trend Study 2018
 Haystack report 2018
 Grand View Research | Global Packaged Foods Market
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