In Asia, eating biscuits has been an age-old culture in most societies from Indonesians to Indians to Chinese consumers. This habit of consuming biscuits for breakfast or as a favourite tea-time snack, has led to tremendous innovations with manufacturers offering biscuits with nutritional contents to those with spicy flavours to entice consumers.
Latest research from Mintel highlighted that the highest growth markets for biscuits, including crackers and cookies, in this region are India and Indonesia which experienced double-digit CAGR growth exceeding 11% for the past 5 years. Other Asian markets like Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, China and Vietnam are enjoying moderate growth from 5-9%.
In terms of per capita consumption, Australia has the highest individual consumption surpassing 7kg.
Mintel also highlighted that compared to other regions, the Asia Pacific region seems to offer greater proportion of NPD (new product development) relating to cheese, spicy and seaweed flavored biscuits (see Chart 1.0). ‘Cheese’ flavor is on the uptrend in Asia not only in the biscuit segment but also in most packaged food categories including in certain beverages. Future NPD might revolve in the introduction of biscuits with a combination of cheese and an additional 1-2 ethnic flavors to ignite consumer interests. Cheese itself also has a multiple of varieties and flavors which manufacturers can capitalise on their NPD efforts.
Apart from just playing with multiple flavors, manufacturers also seek to offer biscuits with nutritional contents, some of which are vitamin and mineral fortified or contain high fiber or protein. This area has seen steady growth in the past 4 years. Mintel reported that roughly 3% of NPD in savoury and sweet biscuits in the Asia Pacific region during the 12 months ended May 2018 had vitamin and mineral fortified claims (see Chart 2.0). Mintel also highlighted that fortification with nuts and seeds had seen steady launch activity and accounted for 18% and 8% of NPD launches respectively.
It is worth to note that 30% of sweet and savoury biscuits with the fortified claims were targeted at children.