Why is snacking so popular in Asia, and what does this mean for food manufacturers?

In Asia, large snacking equals big business. By the end of 2021, munching will be worth more over $500 billion. Sales of confectionary and snacks are expected to expand at a rate of about 4% yearly in Indonesia, a country with a population of 270 million people, until 2025. What prospects do overseas snack manufacturers have in light of this growth? What are the needs of local consumers, and how can companies address them?

What do customers enjoy?

Asia, like other regions, has a varied range of culinary cultures. One common thread running through all Asian cuisines is the emphasis on food texture. Dishes with tendons cartilage and other materials rarely found in other areas’ cuisines, for example, are extremely popular in China. Popular snacks include crunchy shrimp crackers, crispy fish skin, and soft and chewy spicy chicken feet. Snacks with a decent or unusual texture, in addition to tasty flavors, will be particularly appealing in many of the region’s markets.

What are the chances that a foreign snack brand would succeed?

To flourish, foreign snack businesses do not need to imitate local favorites. They’ll be competing on price with local brands that have a deep instinctive understanding of what makes a good local favorite—a tall order that might leave many brands salty. It is considerably preferable for a foreign brand to concentrate on what it does best and just add a local flavor. In Chinese-speaking regions, Lays, for example, offers seaweed, tomato, and barbeque (using a popular local seasoning blend) flavored chips. In addition to its conventional products, Oreo offers sugar-free cookie sandwiches filled with matcha or jasmine flavored cream.

These are all significant hits and wonderful examples of how big and small companies can bridge the gap between what’s hot in their home market and what’s hot in Asia while maintaining the distinctiveness and originality that will draw local snackers and set them apart from the competition.