Riding The Natural Wave Of Ingredient Innovation
Sunday, February 10th, 2019
BASF shares their view on the growing trend of ‘natural’ in their human nutrition portfolio. By Ms. Goh Lay Kwan, Global Marketing Head for BASF Human Nutrition
What are the trends that we’re seeing in Asia Pacific with reference to “naturalness”?
Global and regional trends influence the nutrition and health business. As economies in Asia Pacific continue to grow, consumers in the region also see an increase in their disposable incomes. Coupled with the increasing awareness and interest towards health and nutrition, consumers are increasingly demanding healthier ingredients in food and beverages.
Not surprisingly, we see a strong growth trend in the “naturally healthy” (NH) categories in both packaged foods and beverages in Asia Pacific, with consumers purchasing more of these options and paying more for them.
Based on the latest Euromonitor data, we see a year-on-year growth of more than 10 percent for NH packaged food from 2017 to 2018, and close to 9 percent for NH beverages in the same period. The data indicates a mid to high single-digit growth outlook for the next five years. This growth trend is consistent across key markets in the region such as China, Japan, India, with some markets like China and India expecting to drive this growth.
In addition, based on recent consumer research we recently commissioned, one of the key takeaways revealed that consumers have a preference for plant-based products which are perceived to be natural, cleaner and healthier.
How does BASF meet this demand? Are there any specific products or ingredients that are especially relevant in your opinion?
BASF is also experiencing a steady increase in customer interest and demand for natural options in our health ingredients portfolio over the past few years—and we expect this trend to continue.
Our carotenoids portfolio is an excellent example of how we offer a wide range of ingredient options to cater to the different and evolving needs of customers and consumers.
Carotenoids are pigments widely found in nature in many vegetables and fruits such as carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins that deliver numerous health benefits in addition to its natural colourant properties. Most important of these, is the anti-oxidation function in all carotenoids, as well as the pro-vitamin A function of beta-carotene. Vitamin A is considered an essential vitamin and plays an important role in vision, cellular differentiation, immune function, iron metabolism, antioxidant activity and maintenance of normal skin.
On top of our nature-identical beta-carotenes (Lucarotin®)—which are used primarily as colourants in food and beverage applications—we offer a fermented version of beta-carotene, as well as a truly natural beta-carotene range, (BetateneTM) that is used in functional food and beverages and in dietary supplements.
BetateneTM is derived from a natural micro-alga, Dunaliella salina which produces beta-carotene to protect the chlorophyll which is used in photosynthesis. BASF’s natural beta-carotene is harvested from two lake systems located in Hutt Lagoon, Western Australia and Whyalla, South Australia. The salt lakes take on their famous vivid pink colour from the presence of algae Dunaliella salina trapped in the salt granules from which BASF harvests natural beta-carotene. The algae are grown utilising sunlight, seawater and nutrients to produce a mixed carotenoid-rich concentrate. In a way, BASF is like an agriculturalist who grows and harvests the Dunaliella salina from more than 800 hectares of open-air seawater lagoons, carefully managing the growth conditions, nutrients and trace elements.
Moreover, we use mechanical harvesting and minimal processing without petro-chemical solvents to preserve the integrity of the carotenoid mix from the Dunaliella salina. This, we believe, is probably the most natural manufacturing process of a beta-carotene or mixed carotenoid product without human interference on the carotenoid profile currently available in the market.
How can F&B manufacturers use BetateneTM to improve the natural value/ perception of their products?
Apart from use in dietary supplements, we believe that BetateneTM can be widely incorporated into different functional food and beverage solutions. Its various benefits—especially the anti-oxidant effects, pro-vitamin A benefits to overall health, and how this natural beta-carotene is grown and harvested—are all the value propositions food and beverage manufacturers can highlight to create a compelling consumer story for “naturally healthy” products.
There is yet another benefit: the algae source also offers food and beverage manufacturers a health ingredient that is also suitable for vegetarians.
As always, BASF works closely with our customers to support them with application, marketing and product development, leveraging our deep scientific expertise and technical know-how to provide the right nutrients to the right people at the right time.
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