Fonterra unveils key food trends set to shape Malaysia in 2018


Fonterra Brands Malaysia, a global leader in dairy nutrition, today announced Malaysia’s top food trends and innovations for the year ahead.

Speaking at an exclusive media roundtable held at Fonterra Brands Malaysia headquarters, Linda Tan, who helms the company’s foodservice division Anchor Food Professionals (AFP) Malaysia and Brunei, explained that Fonterra has always been at the forefront of innovation.

She said continued innovation is key to Fonterra staying relevant in an evolving consumer market and the company does that with its products, services and menu concepts by building strong collaborations with local food and beverage (F&B) partners.

“Over the next 10 years, the potential for growth in consumer demand in Malaysia is phenomenal. In an era where change is the only constant, we need to keep developing and innovating our products to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers. Interestingly, while food trends used to always come from the West to the East, we are seeing the reverse today as the Asia Pacific culinary scene evolves with its diverse ingredients, preparation methods and distinctive tastes,” said Linda.

Linda cited four key food trends that will shape Malaysia in 2018:  

  • Rise of the middle class premiumisation: With an increasingly urbanised population and expanding middle class with higher incomes, there is an exponential increase in demand for better quality and better value items.  
  • Natural and healthy = quality: More and more consumers are motivated by the trend of natural foods and healthy living. They are increasingly concerned about food safety and health, which leads to the growing appeal for premium, high quality and natural products.
  • Indulgence and convenience (grab-and-go and snacking): Consumers are also looking for convenient indulgence, craving great-tasting and quality food items as and when they want it. 
  • Menu innovation and customisation: As consumers develop more sophisticated tastes, they are increasingly driven to try new flavours and expect customised menus. This becomes a key area of focus and driver of growth for food solutions providers and F&B establishments as they try to keep up with consumers’ expectations.

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Bob Smith, site manager, fonterra stanhope

As a dairy nutrition provider with strong leadership positions across its dairy brand portfolio, Fonterra Brands Malaysia is always looking at introducing new and innovative products to stay ahead of the curve.
“2017 saw the rise of many interesting food trends, and some of these were contributed by Fonterra – such as the pineapple wasabi cheesecakes and creamy tea macchiato. This is in part driven by the rise of a generation who appreciates foods not just for its taste and nutritional values, but also for its visual appeal in a social media and ‘Instagram’ world,” said Linda.  

She added that innovation and speed are crucial to success in capturing these trends. “We had to move fast and bring new ideas to capitalise on these opportunities and stay ahead of competition.

“These have become key considerations in menu development and have been successfully incorporated into AFP’s dairy innovations such as the Modern Japanese Pastry and PizzArt last year with several F&B partners,” said Linda.

She added that Fonterra will continue to innovate and explore creative ways to incorporate dairy – including milk, butter, cheese and cream cheese – in menu creations with its partners.

The event also enlisted Chef Pele Kuah, Deputy President for Professional Chef Association of Malaysia and Group Executive Chef of Movida Group. Chef Pele presented his insights on consumption trends among Malaysians and how dairy can be used innovatively in recipes.

He demonstrated two exciting dishes – Cheese Sang and Sesame Cream Cheese Prosperity Balls – which incorporated the unique flavour and texture of Anchor Cream and Anchor Cream Cheese products. During the event, the media partook in the Cheese Sang prosperity toss to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities.

“With Malaysian consumers becoming more urbanised and affluent, we are seeing more challenges and opportunities in developing culinary innovations. This means that there is more scope for us chefs and restaurateurs to work with foodservice experts such as AFP to come up with better, tastier dishes for consumers,” said Chef Pele.  

Chef Pele also emphasised the importance of exchanging international food knowledge through symposiums and conferences. He said, “The upcoming Worldchefs Congress 2018 in July is one great example. With chefs from more than 100 countries gathering in Kuala Lumpur, the event will be a platform for food enthusiasts to share the latest food trends and insights, bringing the global and local F&B industry to the next level.”