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Asia Pacific: Fonterra’s protein ingredients promising in SEA

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Southeast Asians’ growing appetite for protein offers growth prospects for NZMP’s protein ingredients brand, says the dairy ingredient business of Fonterra.

NZMP is therefore teaming up with companies in the region to develop new protein-related products.

“Protein’s popularity with Southeast Asian consumers is mounting, as people around the region turn to protein-fortified food and beverages in their quest for healthier, more nutritious diets,” says NZMP GM South & East Asia, Hamish Gowans.

“Protein is evolving from being a ‘fitness’ to a ‘health and wellness’ ingredient in food as people become more aware of the benefits of protein and as incomes rise.”

“Although protein has long been associated with body builders and elite athletes, protein-fortified food has expanded into the mainstream, even migrating into infant nutrition and pet food.”

He adds that more people are looking for specific nutritional benefits in their food, and dairy protein is particularly high quality, providing all the amino acids essential for good health.

Meanwhile, NZMP’s sales for protein ingredients in the region have more than doubled over the last two years, offering more potential.

“Many companies are looking for ways to ‘premiumize’ their products through innovation,” says Gowans.

“As part of our collaboration with these companies, we are working with the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North to develop new, innovative dairy products. We expect to bring these products to market in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Marketed under the NZMP SureProtein brand, customers use the dairy proteins offered in cheese, protein shakes and yoghurt snacks and even in chips, beverages and gels.

“People are becoming more constrained in the time they have, so convenience now plays a factor,” he says.

“This means consumers are reaching for products such as on-the-go snacks and drinks such as cookies, snack bars and ready to drink beverages, particularly sports drinks, as well as purchasing protein in powder form.”

Gowans said Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia offer particularly promising growth prospects in the region.

“Singaporeans are enthusiastic about health and fitness, which is driving demand for protein-fortified diets in the country,” he explains.

“However, the ageing population and rise in chronic medical conditions are growing issues for Singapore and mean the population is likely to want more protein over coming years.”

He adds that the global protein ingredients market is forecast to grow by more than 7% to reach US$43.3 billion by 2024.