Food and nutrition trends in Asia-Pacific

A balanced diet and an active lifestyle are keys to healthy living, and this holds true in current times more than ever. As with the rest of the world, there is a marked interest amongst Asia-Pacific consumers for better nutrition information and knowledge that is largely driven by the need for a strong immune system amongst other things. With nutrition constantly developing and evolving, Susan Bowerman, senior director, worldwide nutrition education and training, Herbalife Nutrition, gives her predictions on the food and nutrition trends that will continue to grow in popularity this year.

 

1. Superfoods
One of the prominent trends in major Asia-Pacific countries has been the rise of the superfoods. These are considered to the foods that can promote vitality and overall health, and also play a role in boosting the human immune system.

Superfoods generally contain one or more bioactive components such as poly-unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, probiotic micro-organisms, antioxidants, essential amino acid, polysaccharides and enzymes. They are often the sources of various important antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids, selenium, B-carotene, zinc and lycopene. Various types of berries, tea, ginger, walnuts, almonds, broccoli, spinach, chia seeds, acai, coconuts, red beans and cocoa are some of the widely consumed superfoods.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to some of the largest population of senior citizens in the world. Therefore, such superfoods which may promote overall health and vitality have become extremely popular in the recent years.

2. Plant-based diets
There are indicators that the plant-based food trend will gain momentum in the new normal. A survey by Herbalife Nutrition among 8,000 consumers in Asia-Pacific showed that in the past year, 49% of the respondents who have made changes to their diet started eating more fruits and vegetables, 46% ate less meat, while 39% chose to eat more plant-based foods. The top reason cited for the changes was to improve their health.

For those who want to eat more plant-based food but do not want to give up the taste of meat, there are plenty of meatless meat options. While bean and grain-based burgers have been around for some time, there are newer products made with plant protein powders that provide the taste and texture that meat-eaters crave. This is positive news for many of the survey respondents who did not want to eat less meat because of the taste factor.

Lastly, the affordability of meat-free products was not seen as a significant barrier to its wider-spread adoption. In all the eight countries surveyed, key obstacles were overwhelming about taste and how other family members preferred meat.

The full article is published in the latest edition of Food & Beverage Asia Feb/Mar 2021 issue. To continue reading, click here.