Fonterra’s NZMP General Manager South & East Asia, Hamish Gowans says, “Protein’s popularity with South-East Asian consumers is mounting, as people around the region turn to protein-fortified food and beverages in their quest for healthier, more nutritious diets
“Protein is evolving from being a ‘fitness’ to a ‘health and wellness’ ingredient in food as people become more aware of the benefits of protein and as incomes rise. Although protein has long been associated with body builders and elite athletes, protein-fortified food has expanded into the mainstream, even migrating into infant nutrition and pet food.”
Mr Gowans said that more and more people are looking for specific nutritional benefits in their food, and dairy protein is particularly high quality, providing all the amino acids essential for good health.
NZMP’s sales for protein ingredients in the South-East Asian region have more than doubled over the last two years and Mr Gowans believes the region continues to offer great potential.
“Many companies are looking for ways to ‘premiumise’ their products through innovation. As part of our collaboration with these companies, we are working with the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North to develop new, innovative dairy products. We expect to bring these products to market in the next 12 to 18 months.”
Mr Gowans said NZMP has led the way in developing dairy protein ingredients and offers the largest range of dairy protein ingredients in the industry marketed under the NZMP SureProtein™ brand. NZMP customers use protein in a wide range of food and beverage products including cheese, protein shakes and yoghurt snacks and protein is now appearing in new convenient formats such as chips, beverages and gels.
“People are becoming more constrained in the time they have, so convenience now plays a factor. This means consumers are reaching for products such as on-the-go snacks and drinks such as cookies, snack bars and ready to drink beverages, particularly sports drinks, as well as purchasing protein in powder form.”
Mr Gowans said Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia offer particularly promising growth prospects in the region.
“Singaporeans are enthusiastic about health and fitness, which is driving demand for protein-fortified diets in the country. However, the ageing population and rise in chronic medical conditions are growing issues for Singapore and mean the population is likely to want more protein over coming years.”
Mr Gowans said the global protein ingredients market is forecast to grow by more than 7 per cent to reach US$43.3 billion by 2024.
Fonterra’s NZMP business sells more than US$1 billion in dairy ingredients throughout the South and South East Asian region each year. In 2016, NZMP opened its new dairy ingredients warehouse in Singapore, its first in the region, to support the growing demand for dairy nutrition.