Asia’s $205Bn nutraceuticals market opportunity

For most Asian countries, growth in the healthcare industry has been outstripping GDP growth, and some estimates are that spending on healthcare could surge by nine times the current rates in some countries in the region.

By 2030, some 500 million people, will be aged 60 or above in Asia. To tackle the economic ramifications of the issue, such as the rising costs of healthcare, governments across Asia are developing new strategies that address and promote healthy ageing.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), healthy ageing is “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are taxing the healthcare system. The incidence of NCDs and their associated requirements for long term care increase with age, which is compounded by increasing life expectancy, as the requirements for long term care is sustained over a higher number of years. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 70 per cent of deaths globally result from NCDs, particularly cancer and from issues related to obesity, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

NCDs can be prevented through better health and nutrition. Academic studies in the United States (US) show that every $1.50 invested in preventative healthcare can save $7 in treatment cost.

As we age, our metabolism decreases and we require less energy, but our need for nutrients increases. Our societal thirst for fast food and satiety has resulted in a prevalence of fatty, salty and sweet foods, which have rapidly become part of our staple diet and yet do not deliver sufficient nutritional value. Better nutrition aids healthy ageing by improving nutrient deficiency.

Thus, governments are promoting the benefits of nutraceutical products such as fortified food, reformulated food and functional food that offer nutritional supplements and assist in treating or preventing disease (apart from anemia), to provide medical benefits.

Considered measures to tackle health problems through nutrition include programmes such as national nutrition plans in China; school lunch programmes in India that are interventions to prevent child malnutrition; or stipulating through regulation in Malaysia to restrict access to high-calorie products through food-zoning, which controls the type of food sold in certain areas and makes sure that calorie information is on display; or higher taxes on high-sugar and high-fat food; or even, to incentivize food in Singapore workers to persuade consumers to choose healthier food options.

Today, preventive measures and education offer a $294 billion in opportunity for the nutraceuticals industry in Asia.

Food fortification programmes are extremely cost-effective in addressing both over- and under- nutrition as they cost as little as $85 per disease. Temasek, referencing multiple sources, estimates that by 2030 in Asia, the markets for food fortification will be $180 billion.

Global food companies are removing sugar and artificial preservatives by reformulating products to be healthier. Local brands in China, South Korea, and Vietnam are reformulating products with locally sourced medicinal ingredients such as red ginseng and cooling herbs. The product reformulation market in Asia is estimated at $93 billion.

And the functional food market, or food that is fortified and enhanced to provide substantial health benefits, is estimated at $21 billion. Among other ingredients, they may contain probiotics, prebiotics, plant stanols, and vitamins such as B, D and minerals such as folic acid.

To enable Asians to explore nutraceuticals, the Vitafoods Asia 2019 Conference and Exhibition will be held in Singapore from 24-25 September 2019. The nutraceutical event for the Asia Pacific region, Vitafoods Asia informs and helps brand owners to select, manufacture and distribute products from the global nutraceuticals industry. Some 44 per cent of the more than 5,000 visitors that attended Vitafoods Asia in 2018 sought products for, and information on, healthy ageing.

Asia’s premier nutraceuticals event, Vitafoods Asia showcases evidence-based products that combat malnutrition, disease, and low immunity, along with the ill effects of obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, and a lack of exercise. The exhibition features functional beverages and food, dietary and health supplements, health food, natural and herbal medicines, and nutricosmetics that are beneficial to healthy aging. Over 350 international suppliers attend to provide innovative and high-quality nutraceutical ingredients, dietary supplements and services to buyers from Asia.

Exhibitors include digestive health sponsor, DuPont, Collagen Protein sponsor, Gelita, healthy ageing sponsor, DSM, Curcumin sponsor, Sabinsa, and GenCanna, the official Cannabidiol (CBD) sponsor for Vitafoods Asia 2019.

Vitafoods Asia connects suppliers to buyers, as well as service providers to brands, who can also access product development, regulatory and marketing entry advice at the show to learn how to penetrate new markets in Asia.

Discover key APAC nutraceutical trends at Vitafoods Asia

Vitafoods Asia, the nutraceutical event for the Asia Pacific region, brings together the three key ingredients required to develop and launch new innovations from lab to market: science, business, and government agencies.

Nutraceuticals have positive physiological effects on the human body, but do not easily fall into the categories of food or pharmaceutical drugs. Research-based, nutraceuticals offer the benefits of medicine and health delivered through functional foods and beverages.

Nutraceuticals deliver benefits for gut health, beauty-from-within, cognitive function and stress support. They can help to prevent and reduce issues such as obesity, healthy aging, or cancer, and may be used to boost immunity. They can also be used to improve mood, sleep quality and psychological performance. Key consumption trends in nutraceuticals in the Asia Pacific region for 2019 include:

  1. ‘Feel the benefit’
    Most food or beverages that carry a nutraceutical benefit do so over time and can’t be felt immediately, but one category of nutraceuticals offers an immediate ‘feel the benefit’ effect. These products are made with Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, and they help with pain relief or relaxation. The Asia Pacific region represents a growing market for CBD and is predicted to account for 23 per cent of the worldwide spend by 2022. At Vitafoods Asia 2019, CBD products will be featured for the first time with GenCanna Global Inc exhibiting.
  2. Low Carb, High Protein
    Across the world, dieticians are recommending low carbohydrate, high protein diets to address diabetes, which, along with fad diet trends like keto and paleo, has increased demand for protein supplements. To minimise food waste and meet demand, protein is being harvested from the discards of cheese-making, Whey, and the discards of gelatine production, Collagen. Another result of the low carb diet is to substitute wheat flours with vegetable flours in baked goods and or to substitute starches using buckwheat, quinoa, red, and black rice to replace the staple white rice. Discover food and beverage items that address this trend at Vitafoods Asia 2019 from exhibitors such as Capsula GMBH, Gelita AG, Jusungfarm, Moringa, and Weihai Unisplendour Technology.
  3. Willingness of Consumers to pay a premium price
    Convenience foods that tie with a trend are commanding premiums of 100-300% over regular versions of the same food, e.g. high-protein bars and puddings. Vitafoods Asia offers great opportunities to source finished, branded and OEM products, from suppliers such as Kerry, Nutriobio and AstaReal. Discover these food and beverage items at the Tasting Bar, and vote for the best tasting products. At Vitafoods Asia 2018, Nutribio and AstaReal were both winners at the Tasting Bar Awards. The visitors awarded Nutribio’s ‘Triple Layer Vanilla & Brownie bar’ the Best Functional Food winner; and AstaReal’s ‘SoothMe’ the Best Functional Beverage.
  4. Provenance ­
    Consumer interest in the provenance of healthy products is increasing demand for products sourced from Australia, New Zealand and France in Asia, helping to drive sales of nutraceuticals across the region, especially in China. Vitafoods Asia makes it easy for Asian buyers to discover provenance brands in one place as the show attracts 350 international exhibitors from over 40 countries.
  5. Nutricosmetics
    Nutricosmetics blend cosmetics with nutraceuticals and can address issues associated with healthy aging. According to a report by Grand View Research, investment in novel formulations for aesthetic appeal has strengthened demand from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Vitafoods Asia 2019 will feature nutricosmetic products from exhibitors such as Capsula GmbH, Dr Paul Lohman (Asia) Pte Ltd, Gelita AG, Phil Inter Pharma and Biocell Technology.
  1. Healthy aging
    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that Asia’s elderly population is projected to reach some 850 million by 2050 and that consequently, in the next few decades, the region will become one of the oldest in the world. While Japan has the largest population of people 65 years old and over in the region, markets rapidly growing in this segment include the Republics of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Visitors to Vitafoods Asia can learn from expert speakers at the Life Stages Theatre how nutraceuticals are being applied for healthy aging, and discover products from exhibitors such as Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical Co Ltd and Kappa Bioscience, among others.
  2. FODMAPs
    An emerging trend in the food industry is for Low-FODMAP accredited products. FODMAP classify groups of carbs that are notorious for triggering digestive symptoms like bloating, gas and stomach pain. Backed by scientific evidence, the FODMAP diet is accepted by dietitians and gastroenterologists; and is attracting growing media and consumer attention as a key attribute is that it is easy to feel the benefit of the diet. In response, large food companies such as Nestle and Kelloggs are producing FODMAP-friendly products or re-labelling existing products as FODMAP-friendly. Discover FODMAP-friendly product manufacturers such as Giellepi SpA, Nexus Wise and Primex at Vitafoods Asia 2019.
  3. Functional beverages
    The fastest growing segment in nutraceuticals is Functional Beverages, a trend that has been helped by the increasing popularity of immunity drinks such as the probiotic Kombucha. Energy drinks is still the largest revenue segment of functional beverages, and RTD tea, coffee and enhanced water are the fastest growing sub-segments.

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