Malaysia: New trends and changing demands

With a growing consumer market for trendy plant-based products to Halal food, Malaysia stands at a promising juncture for growth and development. What lies in the future of road ahead for the country’s food and beverage manufacturers? We speak to John Jose, marketing director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia to find out more

In Tetra Pak’s 2023 Trendipedia report, it identified three main trends for the food and beverage industry: Flexi-shopping, In control, and Eatertainment. How do these trends highlight the changing role of consumers and producers in the industry?

Jose: With the current rising inflation and evolving economic conditions, some consumers have adopted the “Flexi-shopping” trend, which is having a flexible mindset when it comes to shopping. For example, some consumers cut back on expenses where necessary but still allow themselves occasional indulgences, especially for those that are perceived as additional benefits around health or sustainability.

For producers to capitalise on this trend, brands can consider smart and connected food packaging that uses sensors and QR codes to track the freshness and safety of the food inside. Additionally, producers can offer new ideas for consumers on how to use and re-use products as part of efforts to be more sustainable.

The second trend identified as “In-Control” refers to how consumers these days are using the way they eat and drink to bring a feeling of control to their lives. Consumers are more conscious of the impact of their dietary consumption on their physical health and well-being. By deciding when to indulge and when to moderate their consumption, they take their health into their hands. Technology advancements such as health monitoring apps and hyper-personalised nutrition enable this further.

Producers should consider aligning product ranges or offerings to promote wellbeing such as weekly wellbeing subscriptions. Additionally, they can communicate the nutritional benefits of their products by using “minus” claims – low fat, low sugar, lactose; and “plus” claims such as fortified food and drinks – added fiber, protein.

The other main trend is “Eatertainment”. During the pandemic, social media and gaming provided opportunities for some people to have fun and connect. Food became an outlet for creativity and joy, and this was a global phenomenon. Today, a new community of creators and explorers wants to keep growing their following across the world. Metaverse experiences provide another outlet for multisensory creativity and “eatertainment”. Social platforms enable millions of consumers to discover, experiment and share their food experiences online.

There is an opportunity here for producers and brand owners to focus on their communication with consumers through digital engagement and ensuring they have a presence on social media. For instance, work with lifestyle influencers to show how ingredients can be substituted with other healthier ingredients or demonstrate how DIY mix can be done at home to their followers.

Overall, these trends highlight the changing dynamics between consumers and producers in the food and beverage industry. Producers need to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and economic conditions by offering diverse product portfolios, providing transparent information, and embracing technological advancements to meet the demands of flexi-shoppers, individuals seeking control, and those looking for “eatertainment” experiences.

Read the full article here.