What’s Shaking Up The Beverage Market?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

The APFI team speaks to Hamish Gowans, General Manager South & East Asia for NZMP (Fonterra’s dairy ingredients business), to examine drivers behind the functional beverage trend.


The Shift Toward Tasty & Functional

In recent years, innovation in the beverage market has been astounding—from convenient health management solutions to better-for-you energy-enhancing drinks, we’re seeing a shift towards beverages that boast distinct functional benefits. Gone are the days when simple ‘Great Taste!’ advertising would rake in consumers. Today, most savvy consumers look for value-added drinks that fulfil their health goals in quick, convenient and tasty ways.


A study by Innova Market Insights published in 2017 indicated that almost 30 percent of drinks launched around the world had functional benefits ranging from antioxidant and vitamin enrichment, to gut health—and the trend remains in an upward swing this year. In Asia specifically, a rapidly ageing and educated population with increasing disposable incomes is driving the functional food and beverage category, especially in the dairy and protein market.


Protein Power

Mr Gowans comments: “We’re seeing trends trickling down from global markets in the US, Europe, China and even Japan. These markets are leading the innovation in the beverage industry. Governmental messaging to the broader public, especially in Asian countries like Singapore, largely focuses on ageing and age-related diseases, which prompts savvy businesses to cater to public concern about their health.  As a result, we’re seeing an increased interest in formulating nutritional solutions using dairy ingredients in various industries like medical, elderly nutrition and sports, to name a few.”


“Protein beverages are particularly popular in the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) functional beverage category. These protein beverages can contain up to 14 percent protein, which helps to fight sarcopenia for the elderly, and also helps with post-surgery muscle recovery. NZMP has developed solutions using our broad range of protein ingredients that allow manufacturers to formulate high-protein beverages without the thick and heavy mouthfeel and grainy texture that is normally associated these types of drinks. Protein-enriched solutions are most important for patients and older consumers who struggle with tasks like chewing, swallowing and digesting their food.”


Value-Added Water

It is important to note that protein drinks aren’t specialty drinks—they’re not just for athletes or gym enthusiasts who wish to develop and maintain muscle strength. On the contrary, protein can be an everyday drink in the form of protein water. NZMP’s latest RTD product combines water and Whey Protein Isolates (WPI) in a crystal-clear formula, which opens up a new way for consumers to think about the benefits of consuming something as simple as water.


Mr Gowans: “Recently, NZMP conducted a survey in Indonesia and Thailand which helped us understand the nutrition demands of the local consumer. As a B2B company, consumer research helps us formulate and position our products to meet gaps in each market. Overall, we’re seeing a growing understanding of the role of protein and dairy in the consumer diet, which enables us to craft our marketing messages and product positioning in-line with the trend. Our protein water is one way to meet consumers’ demands for convenient and efficient protein solutions.”



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