What’s Shaping The Beverage Industry In 2019

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

The APFI team interviews Luc Steenwelle, Product Group Manager Beverages Asia Pacific, FrieslandCampina Kievit, about the key consumer trends that are shaping the beverage market in Asia for 2019 and beyond.


  • How have consumer interests in beverages shifted throughout 2018? What are the causes of these shifts?

In 2018, eating and drinking became not just a primary need, but a full-fledged lifestyle. With the rise of social media, consumers haven’t only been looking for delicious beverages, but they want them to be fashionable, with consumers sharing and rating their consumption online, via blogs, social media and apps. Consuming ‘Instagrammable’ drinks has become a must for millennials, which means beverages must have the potential to touch all the senses, with variations in taste, colour, texture, temperature, flavour and even sound. This has resulted in beverage concepts that go beyond categories, such as the red velvet cappuccino: a red velvet cake merged with a hot drink, creating a unique and delicious fusion. This trend will continue to develop in 2019.

Consumers have also become busier than ever. Their lifestyles are more active, they’re constantly on-the-go, and require convenient, flexible and affordable solutions that suit their needs wherever and whenever. This has been coupled with an increased need for balance with self-care. That means that on-the-go drinks can no longer compromise on nutritional profile, and must respond to growth in consumer awareness of the impact of what they eat and drink.

This is strongly linked with the rapid rise of the ‘clean’ eating and drinking trend. With information being more readily available, particularly on a plethora of apps on mobile devices, consumers can make better informed choices about the food and beverages they consume. They are no longer simply looking at calorie intake, but are scrutinising sugar levels, fat levels, energy intake and they are aware of allergens and additives. Providing consumers with understandable labels is key, as consumers look for ways to make conscious, mindful and ethical choices. That means it does not end with a clear label: the label should also address health, ethical, sustainability and food safety demands.


  • Which subcategories of beverages are predicted to grow next year?

In the Southeast Asian region, there is increased demand for ‘real’ ingredients and increased awareness of dairy benefits. As a result, we are placing an added focus on ‘Hi-Dairy’ products, which consists of approximately 70 percent dairy ingredients and will provide better taste, while containing lower levels of sucrose and higher levels of protein.

At the same time, the need for transparency among consumers is growing. As people purchase and consume products in a much more thoughtful way, it is becoming less acceptable for manufacturers to provide end-products with labels that people don’t understand. Because of this trend, we have developed our Hi-Dairy offering in a way that allows manufacturers to make milk or dairy claims for their beverage products, delivering on consumer expectations.


  • What are the main challenges beverage manufacturers face when meeting these trends?

Combining health aspects with indulgence has traditionally been difficult. Consumers sometimes associate ‘healthy’ with ‘bad taste’ and, for many consumers, indulgence was per definition unhealthy, a kind of guilty pleasure. For manufacturers, the challenge is to market healthier indulgence, and convince consumers that healthier products with honest ingredients can taste great.

When offering dairy solutions, the challenge is to find the right level of dairy content. The benefits for consumers of using real dairy include dairy being a natural product that is associated with healthy eating and high quality, and the fact that dairy is the basis of foaming Italian specialities such as cappuccino, which are gaining in popularity in Asia. In addition, one of the most important benefits is that consumers are able to recognise and understand the ingredient list.

However, using 100 percent dairy ingredients is not always desirable due to a possible short(er) shelf-life or a specific taste preference. Moreover, importing dairy ingredients can also prove tricky as well as costly for manufacturers. So, the challenge here really is to come up with the right level of dairy and non-dairy components.


  • Is Kievit working on ‘glocalised’ beverages within Singapore and/or other Asian countries?

Yes, we are. For us, glocalisation is one of the main trends we’re expecting to grow in 2019.

Glocalisation is the practice of doing business according to global and local considerations. In the beverage world, this means tailoring the product towards both the local taste preferences and heritage, as well as exporting those local nuances to other parts of the world.

The middle class is rising in different regions in the world. At the same time, digitisation of the shopping experience is increasing too, resulting in a growing presence of web shops selling not just local products, but importing products and information from all over the world. Consumers’ buying power is growing, as is their knowledge of what people millions of miles away are eating and drinking. European flavours have become more popular in Asia, such as Starbucks’ Speculoos Latte in Singapore. On the other hand, Asian flavours have increased in popularity in Europe with the rise of Matcha and Chai Tea.

This trend is reflected in our products. For example, our latte creamer Vana-Blanca M820 and our foaming creamer Vana-Cappa X960 have proven to work well in Hojicha Latte, tailored to the Indonesian taste profile and inspired by the Japanese way of drinking tea.

Another example is the Taro Drink. Our cold soluble creamer Vana-Blanca CS-09 is the best fit for this cold drink concept, combined with taro powder. Combining taste profiles from different countries and cultures in this way is what glocalisation is all about for us.


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