)%$ INGREDIENTS FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA DECEMBER 2018 / JANUARY 2019 25 clients and customers value so highly.” To support loyal customers and attract new ones, DKSH has invested in innovation centers across Asia, focused on tailor-made solutions, cleaner label, cost-saving formulations featuring newer additives and ingredients and innovative prototypes developed and delivered quickly to customers. “We conceptualise, develop and trouble-shoot products to ̬t the needs of local markets. DKSH works closely with its suppliers and our innovation centres across Asia to help customers reformulate for healthier products, without sacri̬cing taste or consumer appeal.” Growth Opportunities As a leading Market Expansion Services provider, DKSH assists food and beverage companies to grow. Customers can not only access DKSH’s wide-ranging product portfolio, but also their market information and strategic advice, basedon the experience, know-howand network of specialists. Mr. Hopkins detailed: “DKSH has a comprehensive sourcing network in Japan, Europe and Asia. We constantly “scout” to source and secure new ingredients and additives. One country benefits from the next, as we ensure our customers are ̬rst in line to access new trends. DKSH invests in various market information services, such as Euromonitor and Mintel, to make sure our customers stay up-to-date and get that all- important early read on emerging regional and global trends.” Minimising Obstacles DKSHBusinessUnit PerformanceMaterials also plays a vital role to help customers and clients overcome regulatory challenges. “International companies expanding to Asia often experience regulatory challenges. Regulations across countries are different, complicated and often “tightening”. Some food ingredient suppliers are unprepared for these complicated and variable regulatory barriers. DKSH helps suppliers and customers smooth the regulatory path through our extensive global regulatory team. We use rigorous systems to comply with all import, trade and cultural regulations and requirements.” Advice for Suppliers With competition heating up, as more and more innovative ingredients are discovered or created, Mr. Hopkins highlighted the hard work required for ingredient suppliers to build value propositions and brand reputation in order to win. “I think saying that suppliers need to be ‘more competitive’ or ‘compete’ against low-cost production in China is not always the right discussion to have. Any business needs to build and communicate value to consumers. Our customers can try to be cheaper – or differentiate themselves and build brand equity,” detailed Mr. Hopkins. He continued: “Endless competitionmeans our suppliers in Europe and Japan need to continue to develop compelling value propositions for local customers. Suppliers need to show the link between their innovative ingredients and increasing the probability of long-term success and higher operating margins for our customers. Working like that takes resources, patience and very sharp communication skills.” Trends and Advancement in Asia Asia’s food ingredients scene is constantly changing at a fast pace. As Vice President of the global food & beverage industry at DKSH, Mr. Hopkins has a bird's eye view of the sector and unique insight into how it has been developing in recent years. “We are seeing health trends with high demand for reduced or no sugar, natural preservatives, high ̬bre, lower sodium, clean label, GMO- free, allergen-free and lactose-free products. However, the vegetarian and vegan trends are still slower in Asia than in Europe. To some extent, demand for these trends is driven by a ̫ ordability. The good news is that GDP per capita in Asia continues to rise and with it, also demand for healthier food.” While some of these healthy trends such as antibiotic-free milk depend heavily on government legislation and enforcement, Mr. Hopkins expressed his con̬dence that with the support of parents everywhere who want the best for their children, healthy, high quality processed food and beverage products will eventually win the race. To date, DKSH has 825 business locations in 37 markets, a majority of which are in Asia, as well as around 32,000 specialists. Expect the company to continue strengthening its position as a worldwide ingredients distributor. “To expand faster, DKSH has acquired companies in Indonesia and is pushing forward rapidly in emerging markets like Myanmar andCambodia. Asia is changing quickly, andwe are evolving along with it too,” he concluded. At Food Ingredients Asia 2018, DKSH welcomed visitors to its booth to find out more about its product portfolio and market expansion services.