Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing retail markets for processed meat, poultry, and fish, with Indonesia and India playing key roles across these categories, according to research from Mintel. So what’s the key driver behind this demand? Turns out the answer is time. Or, more precisely, lack of it.
“Demand for processed and ready-to-eat foods, particularly frozen foods, is growing across Asia as increasingly time-pressed consumers have embraced the convenience of the freezer and microwave cooking,” says Patty Johnson, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Aligned with consumer interest in the region, processed meat, poultry and fish product innovation in 2016 saw strong focus on convenience claims, such as ease of use and microwaveable.”
Demand for processed and ready-to-eat foods, particularly frozen foods, is growing across Asia as increasingly time-pressed consumers have embraced the convenience of the freezer and microwave cooking.
Mintel research shows Indonesia is currently among the fastest growing processed meat and poultry markets globally with a CAGR of 26.7% between 2011 and 2015, followed by India (22%), Vietnam (15.5%), China (13.9%), and Brazil (10.9%). Mintel estimates Indonesia’s processed meat and poultry market reached a value of IDR 16 trillion in 2016, while India is estimated to have reached a value of INR 11 billion. Vietnam, China, and Brazil have estimated retail values of VND 10 trillion, CNY 275 billion, and BRL 12 billion, respectively.
Mintel also reports that India is one of the fastest growing retail markets for processed fish and seafood globally, growing at a CAGR of 24.9% between 2011 and 2015, while Indonesia has seen a CAGR of 19.5%, with Turkey (11.8%), South Africa (11.2%) and Russia (10.8%) rounding out the top five growth markets. In 2016, the company estimates India’s processed fish and seafood market reached a value of INR 2,422 million, while Indonesia is estimated to have hit IDR 32 trillion, Turkey TRY 372 million, South Africa ZAR 3 billion and Russia RUB 148 billion.
In the five years between 2011 and 2015, Thailand also experienced a positive CAGR of 9.4% for the processed fish and seafood market and a CAGR of 7.5% for the processed meat and poultry market. In terms of retail market value for 2016, Thailand’s processed fish and seafood market is estimated to have reached THB 65 billion and its processed meat and poultry market, THB 60 billion.
Driven by a surge in innovation activity, the global processed meat, poultry and fish markets saw an 18% increase in product launches in 2016, compared to 2014, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). In 2016, Asia Pacific was the second most active region globally in terms of processed meat, poultry and fish new product development (NPD), accounting for 24% of processed meat, poultry, and fish product innovations, led by China, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to Mintel.
What are consumers buying?
A consumer study conducted by Mintel reveals over two in five (43%) metro Indonesians and 39% of metro Thais aged 18 and over tend to shop closer to home or work due to a lack of time. Furthermore, over one in four (28%) consumers in Indonesia prefer to buy smaller, bite-sized or convenient packs as they can eat these anytime, anywhere, rising to over one in three (37%) Indonesians that fall within the monthly household income bracket of IDR 15,000,000 and above. In Thailand, as many as one in five (22%) consumers prefer to buy smaller, bite-sized or convenient packs for the same reason.
Snacking has become a lifestyle for many consumers, resulting in a shift in consumer attitudes across Asia, and understandably so. Consumer research from Mintel reveals eight in 10 (80%) metro Thais and seven in 10 (69%) metro Indonesians snack at least once a day.
The development of snacking within Asia is being driven by consumers who are increasingly turning to snacks for satiety purposes. As many as two in five (39%) metro Indonesians look for snacks that keep them fuller for longer when making purchase, while one in three (34%) metro Thais do the same. Meanwhile, 42% of Thai consumers and 39% of Indonesian consumers say they eat snacks instead of having a meal at times.
“Consumers’ evolving eating habits and shift towards more snacking occasions have impacted the food manufacturing industry in different ways,” Johnson says.
On top of snacks that provide satiety benefits, demand for healthier snacks is rising as consumers overall have become more conscious about their food choices. Protein is already in high demand in countries like the United States, and while adoption is slower in Asia, the region’s love affair with protein has seen growth in recent times. There is rising demand among Asian consumers for a wider variety of high protein snacks, creating opportunities for new product development in the meat, poultry, fish and meat substitute categories, she adds.
This increasing demand for high protein snacks among Asian consumers is reflected in Mintel research which reveals that two in five metro consumers in Indonesia (40%) look for snacks that are high in protein when making purchase, while one in three (32%) metro consumers in Thailand look for the same high protein snacks, according to Mintel.
“In 2016, the casualisation of meal times and growing awareness of protein continued to drive global development of snack-targeted products across the processed meat, fish and meat substitutes categories,” Johnson says. “In today’s fast-paced world, it is important that processed meat, poultry, and fish products provide convenience to alleviate the pressures of modern-day life.”