Processing And Producing For Healthy, Safe Convenient Foods

Monday, September 18th, 2017

APFI talks to Andrew Kwan, group managing director, Commonwealth Capital, on trending products and processing technologies.

What is one trending product being seen today?

Many ready-to-eat options have been made easily available today.

Across Southeast Asia, busier lifestyles have led to a growing demand for convenience, resulting in more people dining out, as well as increasing preference for ready-to-eat (RTE) meals. These are foods that need not be cooked or reheated before serving.

Riding on rising consumer demand for convenience foods, the global ready-to-eat food products market is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 7.2 percent from 2016 to 2026, and is estimated to be valued at US$195.3 billion by the end of 2026, reports market research agency, Future Market Insights.

In Singapore, we anticipate that the trend will continue to rise as well, in view of busy work schedules and on-the-go consumption habits. At the same time, growing affluence and health-consciousness has resulted in increasing consumer demand for healthful food items.

As such, the Commonwealth Group has launched the ‘The Common Good Company’ (TCGC) brand in Nov 2016. This is a strategic collaboration between other food and beverage bands, and it carries a range of innovative ready-to-eat food—such as nasi lemak, salmon with cauliflower quinoa rice, Thai basil rice, beef rendang baked rice and cream of pumpkin soup—for convenience stores at selected petrol stations in Singapore with plans to roll out island-wide.

The introduction of TCGC was part of the group’s efforts to cater to the growing penchant for quick, but yet nutritious meals. The group looks beyond price and taste, and competes based on the nutritional value of our products.

What are some trending processing technologies to invest it at the moment?

An example of products undergoing high pressure processing.

The first processing technology that offers various benefits is proprietary MicroThermik processing, where food is optimally cooked through precise application of calibrated heat—and thus is never over- or undercooked.

This technology also eliminates microbes (e.g. bacteria) from the products, which therefore retain their commercially sterility throughout their shelf-life and can thereafter be stored at ambient temperature for up to 12 months, while retaining their original taste, texture and nutritional value. As such, the use of this technology provides significant export opportunities.

The technology can be used for applications such as: all cuts of meat products (beef, lamb, chicken, etc.), most seafood (fish and some crustaceans), grains (rice, wheat), pasta and noodles, all kinds of soups, and vegetables (carrots, broccoli stocks, cabbages, peas and beans).

With this technology, the group can now also produce higher quality healthful food products that use less salt, sugar and no added preservatives.

Another complementary technology that we have invested in to create longer shelf-life, chilled ready‐to‐eat meals is the High Pressure Processing (HPP) line. This technology enables extension of shelf-life between three and eight times, and retention of sensorial and nutritional properties of food through its cold pasteurising technique.

Both these complementary food manufacturing processes allow for the development of clean label products where the extension of shelf-lives is achieved without the use of artificial preservatives.