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Ingredient solutions for healthier food and beverages

Source:FoodPacific Manufacturing Journal     Date:2021-12-09
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Ringier Events hosted the ASEAN Food and Beverage Ingredients Summit, together with business partner, ingredients company, Kerry, on November 12. The online event is part of a series of conferences covering health and nutrition topics that reflect the changing needs of the market. As various surveys show, consumers are now putting their physical and mental wellbeing front and center, and their interest in products with health benefits has been growing since the pandemic began.


While nutrition is necessary, taste is the prime driver when consumers choose any food or beverage. Hence, the conference theme, Nutrition Revolution | The Good versus the Bad: Finding the Right Balance, underscores the need for manufacturers to meet both the taste and nutrition requirements of customers.


Ringier invited Kerry, PT Foodex, PT Nestlé Indonesia, and LeSafrre, to share new solutions applicable to the manufacture of plant-based and non-plant-based products. Majelis Ulama Indonesia brought attendees up to speed on Halal standards, while GAPMMI shared the state of Indonesia's food industry.


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For his presentation, Harsch Koshti, Marketing Director of Taste Technologies at Kerry in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, discussed the latest consumer trends in beverages, the challenges in product development, emphasising that everyday beverages can be made more nutritious and tasty at the same time. One of the natural product solutions that Kerry is also known for is TastesenseTM, with applications not just in beverages, but other foods as well. Such ingredients are neutral in taste but they manipulate overall sweetness, intensity and mouthfeel, as well as mask bitterness and off notes, in products.


Because excessive intake, or long-term intake of salt/sodium raises a person’s chances of developing disease, governments have been encouraging lower consumer salt intake through programmes and policies, such as Singapore’s War on Salt, Australia’s Salt Reformulation Program for 27 Food Categories, Thailand’s Salt & Sodium Reduction Policy (2016-2025), India’s Eat Right India Movement, and Indonesia’s National Action Plan on NCDs. Surprisingly, the average daily intake in these countries is still higher than the recommended 5g/day of the World Health Organisation. Sharing more data, Biospringer Asia Pacific Marketing Director, Hugo Leclercq, said Thailand’s mean salt intake is at 13g/day, while Australia, India, Indonesia, and Singapore’s are at 9g/day. He said that the major sources of sodium are sauces and gravies, processed meat and seafood, snacks, and now plant-based meat analogue and cheeses.


Salt is necessary in most F&B formulations for flavour and preservation, but manufacturers can reduce their use of this ingredient, along with sodium, to make their products attractive to health-conscious consumers.


Mr Leclerq’s presentation on salt reduction solutions aims to help manufacturers understand how they can formulate with yeast extracts that increase the umami flavours, while cutting sodium by up to 30 percent.


From PT Foodex Inti Ingredients, Jenny Kartika Rusli, Business Development Director, did a detailed presentation on natural extracts particularly those using animal proteins, spices and other flavourings. Ms Rusli highlighted the huge growth in meat and seafood consumption in Asia (see chart).


Citing a Grand View Research survey, she said the market for meat extracts (powder and paste forms) continues to be driven by the popularity of meaty flavours in processed foods; increasing consumption of a protein rich diet, and the impact in flavour enrichment. Ms Rusli also made it clear that extracts from meat, seafood, and chicken are not only for taste enhancement but also serve a nutritional purpose by adding high protein. Aside from these, extracts offer technical properties such as those referring to label claims. In her presentation, Ms Rusli also explained how extracts are produced at Foodex and how food manufacturers can use these to complement other flavours.


On trends in 2022 and beyond, she said two are very prominent, namely: Authentic which refers to preferences in regional cuisines and authentic flavours, as well as Spice 2.0, where specific spices are at play. Aside from these, she said Korean flavours characterised for being sour, bitter, and tangy at the same time, will rise in popularity. The umami taste is always a top trend because it offers depth of flavour with less use of sodium. She also said healthy and natural ingredients will definitely remain on trend as demand calls for no or reduced use of MSG, preservatives, trans fats and synthetic ingredients.  


Plant-based product launches in snacks, ready meals, etc, have been increasing year-on-year. Products are increasingly filling Asian grocery shelves and dining tables as innovations using alternative proteins become widely available. Consumers in the region are no stranger to soy and other plant-based ingredients, so the market also welcomes meat free or dairy free options. Consumers understand plant-based products to be the healthier choice, as they are low in calories and good for the lactose-intolerant. In general plant based are high in fibre and antioxidants, but low in protein and certain vitamins.


Consumers also know plant-based to be sustainable and environment-friendly when compared to meat and dairy whose productions require much more water and land and give off higher carbon emissions. But when it comes to taste and texture, there is room for improvement in plant-based.


David Hari Tjahjono, Head of Manufacturing Services at PT Nestlé Indonesia explains this further in his topic, Plant Based: Healthier Lifestyle with Less Impact on the Planet. It’s a topic in line with the company’s vision of providing “Good Food and Good Life”. Mr. Tjahjono supported this presentation with consumer insights from data from Mintel and Kantar), and also talked about Nestlé’s growing interest in this segment. He discussed the challenges especially in the manufacturing setup.


For this conference, Muti Arintawati, Executive Director of Majelis Ulama Indonesia and President Director of LPPOM MUI, talked about updates in Indonesia’s Halal Regulations and Implementation, which were valuable to would-be exporters to this country. LPPOM MUI is Indonesia’s leader in Halal Assurance solutions.


Adhi Lukman, Chairman of GAPPMI or The Indonesian Food and Beverage Industry Association, talked about how the Food Industry can respond to changes in consumers’ behaviour post COVID-19. Mr Lukman reported that the local F&B industry will grow 5-7% in 2021. Citing PWC Consumer Insight Survey, he also said that Indonesians are becoming more digital, health-conscious, eco-friendly, and price-sensitive and look toward the future. He emphasised that innovation – invention and commercialisation – will take companies forward as they navigate out of uncertain times.


The conference was supported by the GAPPMI (The Indonesian Food and Beverage Industry Association), the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers,  The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and Majelis Ulama Indonesia. Over 130 delegates attended the event, representing Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and India. Most of them are from R&D, QA, and business development.

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