What is food innovation in Asia? Food innovation is the development and commoditization of new food products, processes, and services. Few areas of innovation are as far-reaching as food, and as the recent McDonald’s BTS phenomenon shows, food innovation doesn’t even need to be about food.
Nowhere is food innovation as imperative as the world’s fastest-changing food market: Asia. Significant population growth, fast-changing consumer requirements, and climate change challenges will impact every aspect of the food industry, from early-life nutrition to chronic disease awareness. So how can food and beverage companies innovate for this fast-changing, fast-growing market?
Here are 4 food trends and 6 different types of innovation in Asia that large companies and startups alike can harness.
4 food trends in Asia
Emphasis on healthy home cooking
Fortified & functional food
6 types of food innovation in Asia
Collaborating with influencers
Through time-limited collaborations with influencers, brands have harnessed two powerful secrets to growth: fan communities and the fear of missing out. The BTS McDonald’s meal is just one such example. Their BTS-unique packaging and sauces have been met with overwhelming demand from fans, and is a prime example of how a food brand can leverage the reputation of influencers.
This goes to show how food innovation in Asia doesn’t necessarily have to be about food.
Reducing supply chain waste
Around 30% of food in Asia is wasted along the food supply chain before reaching consumers. Innovating on the supply chain could solve the food waste problem – freeing up more resources to feed the planet and its growing population. IXON, a Hong Kong-based start-up has created a sous-vide aseptic packaging to store fresh meat at room temperature for up to two years. This eliminates the need for cold chains, decreasing the cost of transportation for meat suppliers and improving accessibility of meat products for lower income countries.
Consumers are now privy to a whole host of personalised nutritional advice and are looking for ways to incorporate that into their diets. Acknowledging that consumers are now more discerning about what they put into their mouths, Anrich3D offers consumers personalised meals through the use of 3D food printers. Consumers are able to enter their personalized nutritional advice onto their platform and “print” out a meal consisting of precise amounts of ingredients for optimal nutrition.
Consumers are seeking products and services that help make their lives easier, faster and more convenient whilst ensuring well-being. Sustenance creates meal pouches that make it convenient for consumers to eat healthy without the hassle of cooking healthy and having to put diets at the centre of their lives. Their meal-replacement offerings cater to time-starved people like busy workers who prefer to have a quick yet healthy meal.
Making the planet a priority
Consumers are now buying brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability through adopting practices such as up-cycling ingredients, plant-based foods, regenerative meat and eggs, and sustainable seafoods. S4S Technologies, a start-up from India has developed a way to dehydrate food using solar energy to prevent it from going to waste. Excess food is dried, preserving up to 85% of the nutrient profile, and turned into snacks and ingredients for cooking.
Enhancing the experience
Satisfying consumers with a great service can elevate your brand and products into compelling experiences that keeps them coming back again and again. Haidilao’s success is strongly attributed to the experience that it provides for its customers. Complimentary services like manicures, selfie prints and smartphone detailing are just some of the experiences that augments the value of Haidilao’s hotpot offerings.
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I’m Zhao Ruen Tan, Market Research Associate at Board of Innovation. Spreading innovation culture is in our DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to our mission by sharing this article.