Amrin Walji
Amrin is a Senior Innovation Analyst who specialises in analysing trends driving product innovation and development across the food and drink industry.

Mintel Trend ‘From the Inside Out’ outlines how consumers are increasingly recognising the connection between diet and physical and mental health – creating a space for functional foods to help consumers reach their individual wellness goals. This trend is prevalent in Asia, mainly thanks to traditional practices such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda – which celebrate the connections between plant ingredients and specific health benefits.

Desserts with added functional benefits can provide the category with a better-for-you image. However, it is vital to highlight the functional attributes on-pack to educate consumers about the product’s role as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Collagen is more than just a fountain of youth

Collagen is part of the connective tissue that helps skin retain its firmness and is a major component in cartilage, which is important for joint health. Although the body naturally produces collagen, production slows down over time and is greatly affected by environmental stresses such as exposure to the sun or pollution. According to Mintel research on eating habits of over-55s, over two-fifths of Chinese seniors aged 55-74 show interest in food with anti-ageing properties. This indicates an opportunity for brands to develop desserts containing collagen which are likely to be attractive to seniors.

Healthy Food Real Green Grape Collagen Gonyack Jelly contains 30% konjac powder for high satiety, 0.01% green grape extract powder, and 0.01% fish collagen for ‘inner beauty’ (South Korea).

Mama’s Workshop Peach Gum, Gum Tragacanth and Snow Lotus Seeds Soup is said to nourish and repair skin, aid in beauty, stabilise blood sugar levels and detoxify the body. It’s formulated with snow lotus seeds, which are rich in collagen (Hong Kong).

Yuyujajeok Yuzu Flavoured Collagen Konjac Jelly is made with 0.23% konjac powder and 5% yuzu juice. The low-calorie snack contains 10 calories and 340mg fish collagen peptide, which is said to be good for the skin (South Korea).

Aloe vera is also used to improve skin elasticity

Playing on the health benefits of herbal ingredients, aloe vera is widely promoted as being able to improve skin elasticity. An example from Vietnam is GC Food’s Aloe Vera dessert, which is made with 100% natural, clean aloe vera, and is said to ‘brighten the skin and improve overall body health.’

Opportunity for dessert brands to tap into gut health

Good digestive health is increasingly recognised as an integral building block in overall well-being. This is partly thanks to recent findings linking gut health and the microbiome to a multitude of health benefits, including improved mental health and enhanced immunity. That Asian consumers, particularly seniors, seek foods that support digestive health, suggests how dessert brands can formulate with fibres and live bacteria cultures to attract older demographics to the category. One such example is DHC Diet Program Yogurt Jelly with Lactic Acid. This jelly is rich in dietary fibres and contains 1 trillion Enterococcus faecalis EC-12 per stick. It provides only 4.6 calories and is free from artificial colours and preservatives.