Snacking is rapidly evolving in Asia Pacific - so much so that the region is no longer a follower, having surpassed both Western Europe and North America in 2016 and 2017, respectively, in retail value sales of snacks in the world. In line with consumers’ changing perceptions of health, snacking trends across Asia Pacific are increasingly incorporating various health themes. Localised innovation and disruptor brands lead the shift, welcoming an expanding base of consumers across the region.
Despite its new position as the largest region for snacks, per capita sales in Asia Pacific remain low. This indicates tremendous future potential. Health-focused innovation that caters to the growing healthy living trends in the region offers a clear path for realising this potential.
Healthy innovations in snacks have largely aligned with three key health trends in Asia: Mindful Indulgence; Back to Basics; and Functional Fuel.
Snacks that have not removed or added ingredients to their intended formulation remain in demand. Substituting ingredients with naturally-healthy alternatives, such as grains, potato substitutes, and inherently nutritious food such as fruits and nuts, appeal to various perceptions of health.
Asian consumers are looking for minimally processed snacks that can meet demands for health. As a result, manufacturers are going back to herbal ingredients or are tweaking basic formulations to offer functional benefits (ie healing or satiety) or to naturally reduce fat, sugar or calorie content.
Fortified/functional snacks have seen rising demand in Asia. Consumers in the region, especially fitness enthusiasts and seniors, are increasingly considering these snacks as tools in achieving their health goals.
Local manufacturers in Asia Pacific countries are expected to lead the next frontier of innovation within the global snacks market. As other markets deal with similar trends in healthy living, the innovative approach of Asian manufacturers can provide both inspiration and a template for growth.
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