‘Unique’ demand: Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam expands functional products for kids, seniors

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

The range of functional food products from Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam. © Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam
The range of functional food products from Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam. © Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam

Related tags Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam Morinaga Milk elderly food kids nutrition

Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam is increasing its line-up targeting children’s and the elderly’s nutritional needs, describing the high demand for these products as being “unique” to the country.

Previously known as Elovi, Morinaga Nutritional Foods Vietnam (MNFV) was officially introduced on March 25.

It is a subsidiary of Japan’s Morinaga Milk Group, which entered the Vietnamese market in 2021. It was also in the same year that the company had acquired the Vietnamese homegrown firm Elovi – which mainly produces beverages, juices, yogurt, and milk products.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia,​ Uechi Naoto, deputy general director cum executive director (corporate division) of MNFV, said that the rebranded company would step up its line-up of nutritional and healthier food products.

Of which, children’s and seniors’ nutrition would be an area of interest, as demand for these products are in particular, higher in Vietnam as compared to the other South East Asian countries.

Describing the trend as unique to Vietnam, he said: “Vietnam has a relatively large market for nutritional drinks supplements and yogurt as compared to the neighbouring ASEAN countries.

“We understand that customers' spending on healthy nutrition is high, we also think that there is a greater need for health products for children, for parents…which is a very unique point about Vietnam.”

In particular, the company will develop products that satisfy the health needs of different age groups.

Uechi added that Vietnamese consumers would be more willing to spend if the products were safe and reliable, as cases of fake or adulterated products have been rampant in the Vietnamese market.

Although he acknowledged that MNFV was still a “very new” and a small player in Vietnam, which has been dominated by a few local and MNC players, he believes that there are unique advantages that it could bring to the market, such as products containing functional ingredients made by its parent company in Japan. 

These ingredients include its postbiotic, the heat-killed Lacticaseibacillus paracasei ​MCC1849 strain marketed as LAC-Shield and lactoferrin etc. 

Watch the following video as Uechi tells us more. 

Fat-free, immune enhancing products

In addition, MNFV will look at developing more nutritious and functional products that are fat-free and less sugar.

Uechi explained that this was because diabetes and obesity have been on the rise in Vietnam.

A study published in Inquiry​ last year reported that the prevalence of overweight among Vietnamese children below five years old had increased from 5.6 per cent in 2010 to 7.4 per cent in 2019.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents aged five to 19 years old had also risen from 8.5 per cent to 19 per cent and from 2.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent respectively between 2010 and 2019. 

As such, the company had launched an immune support and fat-free yogurt in Vietnam in 2022. The product contains 10 billion LAC-Shield which has been shown to significantly lower the number of days of stuffy nose and sore throats in a 24-week clinical trial​.

“Our mission is to contribute to the wellness of Vietnamese people by providing nutritious and delicious products, utilising technology that we have cultivated in Japan for over 100 years,”​ Uechi said.

Growth Asia Summit 2024 will shine the spotlight on healthier food innovation,

with experts from PepsiCo and Mondelez presenting insights in this area. 

Register now​ to attend the summit that is taking place on July 16 to 18 at

Marina Bay Sands Singapore. 

In Japan, LAC-Shield has been used by around 500 companies in more than 1,000 products. 

Aside from manufacturing functional foods locally in Vietnam, Morinaga Milk’s health supplements sold in Japan will also be imported for sale in Vietnam.

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