Food for health

Food for health

The ASEAN region is emerging as an international growth hub for premium foods and the health and wellness industry.

Bowl of healthy fruits

Globally, health and wellness is positioned as one of the fastest growing food and beverage categories. This is largely due to a sharp rise in chronic disease and illness that is linked to lifestyle and diet. Action is being driven by consumers, governments and organisations to curb chronic disease and illness, leading to more interest in health and wellness and preventative food measures.

ASEAN food for health drivers

ASEAN food for health drivers

In 2017, Australia’s trade with ASEAN countries grew by 9 percent over 2016 to reach $105 billion, which is greater than Australia’s two way trade with Japan and the United States. 

An increase in calorific intake and changes to the composition of diets are having a significant impact on the health of ASEAN populations, with over 70 percent of deaths in South East Asia being attributable to non-communicable diseases by 2030.

Four key consumer-led market opportunities

Through market analyses, industry interviews and an in market workshop in Singapore in April 2018, we identified four key areas of opportunity for food producers and governments: 

  1. Health by stealth – With diet and lifestyle related diseases expected to reach epidemic proportions across ASEAN by 2030, government intervention and consumer demand is driving the growth for healthier food products. Exciting opportunities across ASEAN exist to capture this market through the introduction of functional food and the reformulation of staple food, reducing sugar, salt and saturated fat without compromising taste or texture. The healthy packaged food market is expected to increase by 5 percent year on year between 2018 and 2022.
  2. Alternative proteins – The global population is forecast to increase to approximately 9 billion people by 2050. Consequently the demand for protein will double. Significant investment is flowing into this sector as organisations innovate and commercialise alternative protein products which offer nutritional value and alleviate the environmental impacts associated with traditional protein production. The alternative protein market is expected to be worth US$5.2 billion by 2020. The ASEAN market is predicted to be a high growth market for alternative protein due to both the rapid population increase and the long cultural history of consuming non-meat based protein.
  3. Gut health – Increasing consumer awareness, rising chronic disease and affluence, has enabled products targeted at gut health and microbiome to grow significantly. As more consumers seek products to support their health, the product segment targeted at gut health will continue to propel forward. The market for probiotics is growing by 7.1 percent per year in the region, with the overall market value in 2020 expected to reach US$96 billion. The overall gut health market is predicted to be much larger.
  4. Precision nutrition – Consumers are increasingly looking for personalised advice to alter both their diet and lifestyle to prevent or manage chronic disease. Real time personalised nutritional advise is being enabled through advanced predictive analytics, affordable diagnostics kits and a rapid uptake of wearable technology and IoT across the region. The global market for precision medicine will be worth up to US$2,452 billion by 2022, with personalised health and wellness contributing to 67 percent of this market at US$1,640 billion. Over a third of ASEAN’s consumers now demand personalised nutrition solutions.

Three approaches to consider for entry into the ASEAN market

Australian health and wellness food businesses are well-placed for success in our nearest export region. However, there is work to be done to finesse market entry approaches and ensure alignment to the complex ASEAN region and its dynamic base of consumers. Three core approaches need to be considered:

  1. Personalising to local consumption preferences in specific markets.
  2. Leveraging increasing consumer awareness of health and wellness and rising affluence.
  3. Partnering for successful entry and distribution.


Need help accessing Asian/ASEAN markets? Talk to KPMG’s Asia & International Markets team.

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