Chris Brockman
As EMEA Research Manager, Chris oversees the Food & Drink Analysts in Europe, while focusing on the latest innovation, market shifts and trends in the bakery category.

Consumers around the world are now aware of and concerned about the harm caused by prolonged exposure to blue light from phones and computers. Increased exposure is known to cause fatigue, poor vision, dizziness and other eye-related problems.

According to a news report, Thai consumers are spending an average of 9.11 hours/day in front of the screens, which is among the highest globally. While avoiding longer screen times is not always possible, helping consumers with products such as eyeglasses with amber lenses to protect the eyes from the blue light is useful.

What’s even better is the opportunity for brands to offer food and drink products enriched with functional ingredients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can aid eye health. In fact, the latest research from Mintel highlights that almost half of Thai consumers would like their diet to help improve their eye health.

Positioning products for kids and office workers

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) indicates that eye health claims and ingredients are becoming more prominent, especially for kids across Asia. A range of vitamins is being highlighted in products designed to support eye health, particularly lutein and vitamin A.

Thai brands have an opportunity to position products for kids and teenagers spending large amounts of time playing online games and for students and office workers who have to spend hours each day at their desks staring at screens. Products that can help protect and delay the degradation of vision from technology can find favour among these groups.

Opportunity for functional dairy drinks

According to Mintel GNPD, eye health claims in dairy drinks are increasing globally year on year. Currently, the majority of dairy drinks with eye health claims also include other health benefits provided by vitamins/mineral fortification.

As concern over the adverse effects of increased screen time starts to rise, products promoting eye health can appeal to consumers across Asia, especially Thailand. In fact, Mintel research reveals that almost half of users of functional food/drink in Thailand have done so to maintain/improve their eyesight.

There is an opportunity to deliver beverages that offer eye health benefits, but are not limited to dairy drinks. But given the reputation of dairy drinks being a nutritious beverage and particularly good for kids, makes them an obvious sector in which to focus on innovation. Moreover, brands should spotlight eye health as the main benefit on the front of the pack and highlight how ingredients can protect against blue light damage.

Love Vision Passion Fruit Flavoured Nutritional Yogurt Drink with Fruit Puree, China
This product is said to contain lutein esters to help protect and relieve tired eyes and taurine and vitamins A and E to help eyes to see better at night. It claims to be free from fat, added preservatives and added artificial sweetener.

Bolt Chocolate Flavour Malted Milk, Myanmar
This milk is fortified with Omega 3, which is important for brain development, eyes, immune system and regulating blood pressure. This product also contains added dietary fibre, vitamin D3 and protein and is said to help in the development of the body and the brain for children.

What we think

Companies and brands have an opportunity to cater to consumers in Thailand who spend some of the highest percentages of time in front of screens. As consumers are increasingly spending more time in front of screens and exposed to blue light, concern about eye health is growing. Thai consumers, in particular, are concerned; therefore, functional dairy drinks with ingredients to improve/maintain eye health will greatly appeal.