Five Ways to Ace in the APAC Food & Beverage Market The region presents a unique opportunity for both established and new brands with innovative and sustainable product offering to earn larger consumer acceptance

By Navneet Singh

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Food and Beverage market in the APAC region is one of the most dynamic and interesting space to watch. The market is evolving beyond estimates yet has mature consumers; this makes it both a challenge and a huge opportunity for international as well as local brands. The region is witnessing an unprecedented growth in disruptive product launches with key ingredients centred on health. Rising populations, income levels, and ever-evolving tastes are giving rise to a plethora of new trends and product categories.

The region presents a unique opportunity for both established and new brands with innovative and sustainable product offering to earn larger consumer acceptance. In the past few years, consumers have been reciprocating and adapting to new products they believe to offer a better value. F&B space in APAC has become one of the highest competitive categories due to increasing consumer demand for good quality and healthy products.

Even when the market and consumer sentiments are ever changing there are a few golden rules to go by when it comes to developing champion food and beverage products:

- Disrupting Taste With Product Innovation

Taste is undoubtedly the most important aspect. Irrespective of category like popular snacks, beverages, health, gluten-free, vegan, lifestyle, etc, it is important to have the correct taste. Without perfecting the right taste proposition one cannot develop a sustainable product that earns merit with the consumers. Good taste gives the product a better life cycle in the market.

Innovation needs to address the user needs and gaps, making it relevant for consumers. To earn a steady pace with the consumers brand needs to create a proposition that delivers an instant connect and usefulness. It is imperative to dive deep with research and trials to understand the current and continuing relevance and need for the innovation. It also lays down the base for future improvisation and improvements.

- The Right Price And Top Quality

One can have a path-breaking product to offer, but growth and acceptance level can suffer if the price is not right. Every market has its own perception of price versus value which is a strong element in making a choice. A brand needs to understand this perception and prepare its offer accordingly. Without balance in price - value being offered the product might now even get a fair trial with a very well informed and exposed consumers. The best quality product needs to be built in a way to reduce cost and transfer the benefit to the consumers.

- Promote Natural Choices

When it comes to new F&B products, Asian consumers are increasingly demanding for natural and green. Consumers are selecting products that have natural ingredients and functional benefits. Products that are high in protein, low in fat, calories and salt with an additional offering of health benefits such as antioxidants, vitamins etc. are enjoying greater consumer attention and respect. One such example is the booming demand for F&B products powered with natural sweetener Stevia which is fast catching pace in Asia as a healthier, natural alternative to sugar and other artificial sweeteners. This plant-based, no-calorie sweetener is supporting food & beverage companies in developing new products and recipes with lower calorie and sugar content.

- Transparency And Clean Labels

Gone are the days when consumers would consume a product without knowing how it is made or believed what they were told. With global information available to the consumers now do their own research before just going by what the brand has to say. They have access to millions of voices which are willing to share and hence it's hard to keep a secret. So it becomes best to stay clean and be transparent. Consumers stay attached to a brand and product they can trust. Consumers are increasingly demanding for products that have ingredients which they can understand. They are sceptical of artificial or factory made ingredients. It is critical for brands to offer informed choices to consumers via clean labels.

- Communicate And Connect

A brand needs to communicate with the consumers in more than one way and connect through various mediums. Communication does not necessarily mean just bombarding with advertisements. A brand needs to have a conversation, reach out with your value offers, your USPs, and also be open to hearing your customers. Hear what they have to say and adapt to the changing preferences.

A lot of people would argue that trend is also something that one needs to consider while developing and launching a food or beverage. But it is not entirely true; one can either follow a trend or start a new trend if one has to be a winner.

Wavy Line
Navneet Singh

South East Asia Head, PureCircle

Navneet is a veteran marketer and global business strategist with deep-rooted experience in cultural, economic & social affairs in Asia, Europe & Americas. He is currently playing a major role in establishing the South Asia operations for PureCircle.

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