Earlier this year, several beverage companies in Singapore signed a pledge to reduce the amount of sugar in their sugar-sweetened products to 12 percent or lower by 2020.

The initiative—signed by beverage companies including Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Pokka, and Yeo Hiap Seng—followed Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech at the National Day Rally which highlighted the fight against diabetes and the need for healthier lifestyles.

Supermarket companies in Singapore, such as NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong, have also shown their commitment towards promoting healthier dietary habits by offering discounts on brown rice products.

Consumers seeking healthier lifestyles

Products and services which offer healthier options in a convenient way are growing in popularity as they complement busy consumer lifestyles, and serve as a healthier alternative to fast food. Indeed, on-the-go food—once seen as convenient but otherwise poor in nutrition—is quickly taking a new turn. MOGO, for example, is a meal delivery service in South Korea that provides a selection of healthy and vegetarian-friendly meal kits.

Urban populations which are experiencing greater affluence and spending power are at risk of developing detrimental health afflictions, such as diabetes, due to an increased sedentary lifestyle. According to the Health Promotion Board, Singaporeans today are on average 3kg heavier than they were 15 years ago. It is estimated that Singapore could hit obesity rates of 15% by 2024, which could prove to be a tipping point.

As consumers become aware of such alarming numbers, more will seek preventative health solutions and engage in healthier and conscious eating. Brands will do well to identify this pattern for better health and offer healthy alternatives, while encouraging consumers to select the better choice.

Winning trust through labels

Meanwhile, some consumers are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to changing their consumption habits and choosing healthier options. An increasing number are making a conscious effort to understand the nutritional information behind products, and are demanding that brands be transparent with their communication of products.

As explained by Mintel Trend ‘Bannedwagon’, consumers are focusing on labels, ingredients, and production methods, embracing once-niche ways of living and eating. Labels cut through the clutter of too much information and represent something valuable to consumers because they empower them to feel as though they’re in more control of their health. It is essential that companies make labels clear, meaningful, and trustable. For instance, Australian dairy company Bulla voluntarily introduced the country of origin packaging ahead of mandatory regulations, while Coca-Cola launched a new recipe for its Coke Zero line with revamped packaging to better communicate its zero-calorie ingredients.

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Keen to know more about the consumer trends playing out in Asia Pacific? Mintel’s ‘Top Trends in Asia-Pacific’ quarterly webinar series features Mintel Trends analysts sharing the research and evidence behind key consumer trends, providing examples of how leading-edge brands are already responding to trends, and offering recommendations for how companies can plug into the strategy. Sign up to join the next ‘Top Trends in Asia-Pacific’ webinar here.

Delon Wang is Trends Manager, Asia Pacific at Mintel. He oversees Trends content and Trends client servicing for the region.

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