According to Euromonitor's Francisco Redruello, retail sales of spreads in Asia-Pacific are expected to total $1.78 billion in 2004. "This figure, apparently high in actual terms, is quite low if we use per capita values. Western Europe, for example, shows a per capita consumption level of $12, compared to $0.50 per capita in the Asia Pacific region. Low per capita consumption in Asia Pacific is the result of a combination of socio-economic factors, mainly low income per household and the still high importance of home-made versions of many of these products in the region."
However, with sales in the largest market, China, set for substantial growth, Redruello believes that the potential for this market is enormous."We forecast that the Chinese market will grow by 42.5 per cent in constant terms until 2009," he said. "Euromonitor's research highlights the expected growth in niche products such as chocolate spreads, as Western-styled spreads become more and more popular among the incipient Chinese middle-class. Small low-quality local brands of honey, on the other hand, will disappear gradually from supermarket shelves, opening the path to more 'global' names and providing an opportunity of expansion for foreign firms."
The first launch is being made in the Philippines by the country's leading food company, San Miguel. Margarine Mantekeso is being launched as an extension to an existing line under the Magnolia brand in 100 gram moulded plastic tubs. This is a dairy and yellow fats combination that is expected to retail at €0.21. It is made with cheese to give it a savoury flavouring and is also enriched with vitamin A, B and D and E. The product also comes in sweetened and garlic varieties.
Moving to Singapore, where US-based food giant Conagra is launching Light Vegetable Spread under the Blue Bonnet brand in a new packaging. The brighter design and larger tub size draw attention to the fact that the product now contains 60 per cent less fat than regular margarine. The product will retail for €1.81 for a 453 gram tub that contains 31 per cent light vegetable oil and is said to be free from cholestoral and trans fat. It is also fortified with vitamin E.
Still in Singapore Australian manufacturer Ballantyne Confectionery is launching Ballantyne Salted Butter. A pure butter made from pasteurised cream and salt, it comes in a paper and foil wrap containg a 250 gram slab that is expected to retail for €1.15. It will be distributed locally by Auric Pacific Marketing.
In Vietnam French dairy specialist Grand Fermage is launching Aux Cristal de Sel de Mer de Noimoutier Butter, through local distributor TNHH Song Toan. This is a sea salt butter and yellow fats combination that is a brand new product launch for the market. It is foil-wrapped in 125 gram slabs that are expected to retail for €1.30.
Lam Soon Edible Oils is launching a new packaging for its Daisy Soft Margarine on the Malaysian market. Another butter and fats combination spread, it now comes in a 500 gram plastic tub with a design that emphasises that the product is now fortified with nine vitamins and is cholestoral free. Halal certified, the product is expected to retail for approximately €1.35.
This range of spreads is part of a selection from Mintel's Global New Product Database .