Supplier news: The top 10 most-read supplier stories in APAC’s nutrition industry in 2021

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The top 10 most-read supplier stories in APAC’s nutrition industry in 2021 ©Getty Images
The top 10 most-read supplier stories in APAC’s nutrition industry in 2021 ©Getty Images

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See our top 10 most read supplier stories in APAC’s health and nutrition industry this year, featuring winners of the NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2021, using cell-based milk technology to produce functional foods, and emerging delivery formats for probiotics.

1. WATCH: NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2021 winners announced

We have announced the winners​ of the NutraIngredients-Asia Awards for 2021.

This was the fourth edition of the annual event, designed to recognise and reward the region's brightest and best across ingredients, finished products and initiatives.

The ceremony was broadcast online, following a record number of entries.

The awards were open to all companies and organisations with products and services available in the APAC region.

2. Special seven: Ajinomoto study showed amino acid supplementation improved cognitive function in older people

Ingestion of seven essential amino acids improved cognitive and psychosocial functions in healthy older persons, according to a study​ by Ajinomoto.

The seven essential amino acids were leucine, phenylalanine, lysine, isoleucine, histidine, valine, and tryptophan.

The double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial showed that participants who consumed 6g of these amino acids significantly improved their cognitive function and social interaction than the placebo group, which is expected in preventing cognitive decline.

For a rapidly ageing country like Japan, decline in cognitive function has become a major social issue.

3. WATCH: Ajinomoto and AstaReal on amino acids and astaxanthin for preserving muscle mass in elderly

In this year’s February edition of Nutrition Asia, we heard from Ajinomoto and AstaReal​ – two companies which have been researching and developing nutrition products for improving muscle health among older adults.

Recent scientific findings were showing how incidence of falls in elderly was not merely a case of weak bones, but also due to the reduction in muscle mass​.

The focus of Ajinomoto for muscle health has been in amino acids, in particular, branched-chain amino acid leucine.

The company first launched its amino acid product for muscle health “Amino Aile Leucine 40” in the Japanese market in Nov 2013.

4. International Rice Research Institute to breed new variety with anti-cancer properties in Philippines

Researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines have started work towards breeding a new variety of rice​ with anti-cancer properties.

Led by Dr Nese Sreenivasulu, research unit leader for consumer-driven grain quality and nutrition at IRRI, the project aimed to introduce antioxidant properties into high-yielding rice varieties through conventional breeding to help lower the prevalence of cancer.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and while part of it is due to genetics, a larger portion is influenced by lifestyle factors such as unhealthy diet, obesity, exposure to carcinogens, and smoking.

Currently, the approach to cancer is centred around treating the symptoms, so researchers at IRRI decided to use a prevention approach instead.

5. HMO in supplements: BASF the first to gain Australian approval to supply 2’FL for use as prebiotic

BASF received approval​ from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia to supply a human milk oligosaccharide ingredient, 2’Fucosyllactose (2’-FL), for use as a prebiotic in dietary supplements in Australia.

In fact, the company would enjoy a first-mover benefit by being the only firm that can supply 2’FL for use in supplements in Australia for two years.

The market exclusivity policy​ was a new framework introduced by TGA, where companies that invest in innovation and research will enjoy a two-year period of market exclusivity for newly approved ingredient.

For BASF, the 2’-FL ingredient trademarked PREBILAC was said to confer digestive and immune health benefits by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, inhibit pathogen adhesion, quenching inflammation, and normalising gut movement.

6. Functional foods in Japan exclusive 2: GABA, black ginger, indigestible dextrin most popular ingredients, weight and blood sugar claims top chart

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), black ginger and indigestible dextrin were the top three most popular ingredients​ used in products notified under Japan’s Foods with Function Claims (FFC) in fiscal 2020.

This was according to a report ‘FFC product analysis for fiscal 2020’​ published by Smooth Link, a Japanese consultancy firm specialising in life sciences.

The fiscal year of 2020 (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021) saw a record number of 1,067 products, bringing the total to 3,602 products since the system launched in 2015. Read Part I here.

7. Functional food opportunities: TurtleTree explores new realm with cell-based milk technology

TurtleTree, a biotech company using mammalian cells to produce cell-based milk will be launching functional foods​ from the human milk bioactives and functional ingredients derived from its technology.

Based in Singapore since 2019, the company started work on infant nutrition, developing breast milk​ using stem cells from volunteers to create mammary glands that lactate.

Human breast milk contains components such human milk oliosaccharides and milk proteins which are important for infants’ health.

We noticed that the same components have been shown scientifically to be amazing for adult health as well​,” said Max Rye, TurtleTree’s chief strategist.

8. WATCH: Activated Probiotics and Chr Hansen on studying probiotics for immunity, atopic conditions and sleep

In this year’s January edition of Nutrition Asia, we shined the spotlight on two firms – Australian brand Activated Probiotics and global supplier Chr Hansen – which were assessing the potential of probiotics​ to aid immunity, atopic conditions, and sleep.

“Whenever we are looking at probiotics, we are looking at the immune system, because the inherent nature of probiotics mechanism of action is going to be modulating immune function,”​ said Rebecca Edwards, head of education at Activated Probiotics.

The company currently has a number of probiotics which claim to stimulate or help enhance the immune system function, including Biome Breathe, Biome Daily, and Biome Daily Kids.

For instance, its Biome Breathe product, which uses Bifidobacterium breve B632 and Lactobacillus salivarius LS01, ​claims to “help stimulate a healthy immune system response”.

9. Functional snacking: Morinaga Milk Industry banking on confectionery and snacks as promising formats for paraprobiotic strain

Japan’s Morinaga Milk Industry is banking on the confectionery and snacks as emerging formats​ for its paraprobiotic LAC-Shield (heat-killed Lacticaseibacillus paracasei MCC1849) application.

L. paracasei​ MCC1849 is a lactic acid bacterial strain isolated from the intestine of a healthy adult, that has been heat-killed and inactivated, and displays immune-modulatory effects.

It has been commercially available in Japan since 2014 and is currently used in various kinds of products including soups, tofu, and seasonings, where probiotics are traditionally difficult to incorporate.

The company has eyed the growing functional snacking trend to incorporate MCC1849 in products such as chocolate, candy, sweets, cookie, biscuits, baked goods, and popcorn, targeting the young adult population.

10. Sulforaphane supplementation improved processing speed and working memory – Kagome study

Supplementation of sulforaphane (SFN) – a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli – was found to improve processing and working memory​ in a 12-week study conducted by Japanese firm Kagome Co Ltd.

However, when combined with brain training activities, the improvement in cognitive performance was not enhanced.

Findings of the study were published in Nutrients. ​The study was conducted during July 2018 to July 2019 by the fruit and vegetable juice manufacturer and Tohoku University.

A total of 144 adults with an average age of 67.71 completed the study.

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