by Melanie Vine
October 8th, 2015

We recently spoke with Simon Dang, Vice President, Inline Strategy, Weber Shandwick China, regarding our “Asia Pacific Food Forward Trends Report II, the second annual report into the biggest food trends across four countries in the region – Australia, China, Korea and Singapore.

Simon gave us his take on what trends he’s personally experienced, what results surprised him this year, and the one key insight he’d like his clients and the industry at large to take on board. Simon Dang headshot

What key trend or finding surprised you the most from this year’s Food Forward report?
I was surprised to see such a high number of people in China claiming to cook at home. 50% said they made a home cooked meal ‘most days’ – given the proliferation of food delivery apps and services available in the country, it really was an interesting revelation.

What would be your key food trend prediction for the region for 2016?
I think the next trend will be a greater emphasis on dieting and healthy eating, as well as greater consumption of foreign imported products.  It’s all about curiosity, discovery, and food safety.

What trend will appear next year that might not have been so prominent in 2015?
I imagine that the infrastructure for food delivery will continue to improve, meaning that getting perishables delivered, such as fruit, meat and dairy will become more popular.

Have any of the trends mentioned in the report affected your daily life directly?
I used to cook a lot, but now, having lived in China for over four years, I’m cooking less and ordering in more.  It’s just so easy to push a few buttons on an app.

Which interesting new food trend are you keen to try out yourself?
In China, there are new businesses that allow chefs to come to your home and cook for you.  It’s a combination of having a home cooked meal and ordering in.   Several of my friends have recommended it as a treat but I haven’t tried it yet.

What’s the one key insight you’d like your food brand clients and the industry at large to implement over the coming year?
It used to be that if you were a foreign brand, you’d have a relatively easy time attracting customers. This was especially the case in China, that new, novelty factor paid off, but that’s not really the case anymore. It takes time to build a brand.  Foreign food producers need to take time to build the foundation, leverage key opinion leaders and social media, and invest in building a community.  There’s a lot of competition and higher scrutiny of both domestic and foreign brands.  

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