Fonterra’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific region, Judith Swales, said Covid had drawn consumers’ attention to the importance of health and wellness.
As Fonterra faces a future of declining milk volumes, the country’s largest dairy company is looking to extract more value from every liter of milk and focus on the growing global market for health and wellness dietary supplements. to be US$66 billion (NZ$100 billion).
Fonterra plans to launch consumer products to improve cognition, eyesight and stress in the coming months. The development of brain health products builds on the company’s expertise in pediatric nutrition and reflects an increased awareness of the importance of mental health.
“One of the things that’s really been revealed by Covid is cognitive health,” says Judith Swales, Fonterra’s general manager for Asia-Pacific.
“We know that health and wellness, immunity and cognitive health are very much on the consumer agenda. Covid has highlighted this for consumers.
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People are spending more time in front of screens, leading to eye strain and sleep-disrupting blue light issues, and they’re more stressed, Swales says.
The company is tapping into a global trend towards natural foods with health benefits that has been accelerated by Covid.
It has partnered with the Langer Lab, the world’s largest academic biomedical engineering lab, and herbal ingredient companies to develop phospholipid-rich buttermilk powder products.
Fonterra has a trademark ThinkSharpwhich includes the key nutrient Phosphatidylserine to support memory, concentration, mental processing and creativity; Pro Sight, which promotes eye health and visual performance, blend of lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A and riboflavin; and Stres-Leswhich includes vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin B6 to help stabilize mood, improve sleep and promote better concentration.
The company has developed and licensed a 40-minute online brain fitness test that measures 12 different areas such as deductive reasoning, processing speed and reaction times which it has tested with a representative sample of people including online gamers, corporate and badminton professionals. players.
People are encouraged to test themselves again after taking the product for 28 days.
“A lot of people who’ve done it say they’ve seen a pretty noticeable difference,” Swales says.
Fonterra is looking to partner with another company to bring certain consumer products to market over the next three months. He expects the products to be popular in China and the United States, but plans to test the concept closer to home before launching it further.
The dairy company plans to increase its investments in research and development by more than 50% to reach $160 million per year by 2030, including $60 million for the development of “active living” products.
It has a team that studies the science of nutrition to highlight areas where the co-op has a competitive advantage, given that it already provides ingredients such as complex lipids for cognition, proteins for mobility and probiotics for immunity and digestion.
“We hope you start to see Fonterra try to break out of our old ways and look for new ways to solve consumer problems using dairy as a platform,” Swales said.
Fonterra expects the move to higher value products will allow it to send less through its core ingredient channel, which will lead to increased margins and profitability.