Top Takeaways: Food & Hotel Asia 2016
This year’s Food + Hotel Asia 2016 (April 12-15) featured product innovations from over 3,000 companies converging from 71 countries. Stylus highlights key themes from the event, including food preservation, flexible tech tools and the mass adoption of clean eating.
- Long-Life Packaging: Developed by Japanese company Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Ageless is the world’s first oxygen-absorbing agent, which absorbs the free oxygen in sealed food containers to create a deoxidized environment, extending the shelf life of the contents. The agent can prolong lifespan by five days for delicate foods such as pastries, or up to five years for vacuum packed soups. It also negates the need for additional preservatives. “Ageless technology has many applications, and is currently used by the British Museum to preserve artifacts,” explained Chua Kaiyan, a Mitsubishi GC brand representative at the event.
- Ever-Present Concierge: Noodoe is a subtle but ever-present concierge tool designed for speedier and more efficient in-situ dining. A small and sleek ‘service block’ is placed on each diner’s table, and is wirelessly connected to a wristband worn by the table’s waiter. To send the waiter a message, diners press a button on the block, which include alerts such as ‘service’, ‘water’, ‘next course’ and ‘check, please’.
- Flavour Spectrum: Insent is a taste-sensing system that offers an objective evaluation of taste with a unique analysis tool. The system converts various tastes into numerical data, which is then plotted onto a spectrum – called a taste radar – measuring everything from the bitterness of beer to the umami of a Pot Noodle. Whilst some may deem this to take the magic out of food creation, for many companies it offers a powerful tool with a range of applications, including quality control and precise flavour development.
- Halal’s Big Future: According to the Halal Supermarket Guide 2016, the global halal industry is worth around $2.3trn, and is growing at an annual rate of 20%. Around 13% of the exhibitors were halal certified suppliers. Many brands, including western ones, are transitioning to halal certification as the market for Muslim food continues to grow. “For the Japan 2020 Olympics, organisers are already collaborating with the halal food industry. There is a demand for halal from both tourists and athletes,” explained Noor Intan, a brand representative from Halal e-marketplace DagangHalal Asia.
- Upgraded Supplements: A number of pharmaceutical companies promoted healthy snacks and/or dietary supplements aimed at a range of audiences – from lactose-intolerant children to busy mothers-to-be – tapping the market for health and convenience. Australian supplement company Homart offers fresh eucalyptus honeycomb (loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and gummy vitamins in varieties such as Super Colostrum (enhances immunity), Super Goats Milk (strengthens bones) and Super Lung (calms coughs and expels chest congestion).
- The Rise of Clean Food: “The clean food movement is not about hormones or sustainability or chemicals, it’s really just about being honest,” said Shane Giles, food & beverage director for the Intercontinental Hotel Group across Asia, Africa and the Middle East in a seminar at the event. The clean food movement, which has firmly taken root in Europe, is now gaining traction in Asia – a key importer of foreign meat and produce. As an example, Giles highlighted the rise of high-end restaurants in Bangkok that serve local meat, something that was unthinkable even five years ago.