Functional Foods Market in Asia: Opportunities and Challenges

2016-06-30 | Future Market Insights | Food and Beverages

Food is the most essential commodity for humans. When it comes to buying a food product from the store shelves, nutrition and health benefit are key influencing factors for consumers. A functional food is precisely an integration of these two elements, making it a favorable choice for daily consumption. Functional foods are a variety of food products having a functionality of benefiting health besides providing nutrition.

Functional food is a food product that provides basic nutrition and has an additional functionality in it. This added bonus in functional foods helps consumer maintain a good health, working as a preventive measure against general diseases.

In an era where demand for any product rises only when the consumers want something more, functional foods aptly fit the description for being a revolutionary addition to the global food market.

Status of Functional Foods in Asia

Asia is a lucrative market for functional foods as consumers in this region have consistently shown interest in buying functional food products. The special functional ingredients present in these products makes functional food market one of the most promising segment in Asian food market.

The functional food market is Asia has seen a substantial growth in the past five years.The growth of functional foods market in Asia is influenced by an attested growth in GCC region. GCC region is expected to witness annual growth rates of over 10%in the next five years.. The growth of the market in Asia is expected to be buoyed by the growth of the market in GCC.

Drivers for Asia’s Functional Food Market

Functional foods is progressing to be a significant part of the future of Asia’s F&B industry. Functional foods sector is likely to be the fastest growing segment in Asia’s organic food market. The Asiatic region records the largest percentage of global population, with India and China being the most populous nations in the world. The high rate of population growth is directly proportional to the growth of functional foods market. With such a vast consumer base, manufacturers have a host of opportunities to pump up sales volume. . Awareness of healthcare and facilities in Asia is not as remarkable as the other regions in the world and many people rely on functional foods as a preventive measure against diseases.

Besides healthcare, nutrition is also a crucial aspect of consuming functional food. More than half of the entire global population is concentrated in the Asiatic nations. With respect to this, ideal nutrition has become one of the most rigorous necessities in Asia. Functional foods comprise of functional ingredients that supply nutrition as its basic function. China and India are the two powerhouses of Asia and are known as global hubs for manufacturing products. The human resources undertaking these manufacturing process require a genuine supply of functional foods that meet their bodily needs.

Regional Segmentation

In China, the workforce in manufacturing outlets relies on functional foods to supplement their energy needs and ward off ailments such as exhaustion and nausea. China’s population of over 1.3 billion serves to be a suitable consumer base for functional food market. The Asian functional food market is outperforming in terms of sales production of food products as the Chinese population relies on it as a necessity.

India, on the other hand, is a major supplier of natural and organic ingredients in the global food and beverages market. The availability of essential and functional food ingredients has given rise to new products as an alternative to the existing ones. The functional food market in India is growing with regards to production, exportation, and health awareness. The 1.2 billion population in Indian subcontinent is the second most lucrative region in Asia, and is expected to witness a sizable growth in the future.

Demand for Natural and Organic Ingredients

Not just in Asia, consumer skepticism on the potential impact of artificial ingredients is a key factor promoting the rising demand for natural and organic ingredients all around the world. Consumers are being more health conscious than before, changing the flow of growth in numerous F&B market. Functional foods market is the most sought after food market due to the claims of its health benefits. Awareness on the benefits of consuming functional foods with natural and organic ingredients has  reduced the demand for synthetic functional foods.

Looking for Functional Food Ingredients

In Asia, supply for functional food ingredients is opportunely met to its growing demands. Due to availability of such healthy ingredients, the functional foods market in Asia is advancing into a secure position. Unlike several other regions scarce with availability of functional ingredients, Asia has the benefit of having more access to making functional food products. This gives rise to exportation of Asian functional food products on a larger scale. Manufactures reap better profits, which gives rise to a dedicated division focused on extraction of functional food ingredients.

Future Trends

Considering the strong fundamentals of the Asia functional food market, it’s expected that the growth will remain steady in the future as well. The prominent future trend for functional food market in Asia will be an increased emphasis on the nutritional claims made by manufacturers on the labels. In the future, consumers are more likely to buy something au naturale and more healthy instead of something artificially adulterated.. Demand for functional foods has traditionally been higher from the geriatric segment, and this trend is expected to gain further momentum in the future. Besides these, the other future trends include chemical consciousness, lifestyle enhancement and health convenience.