Soy drinks receive functional makeover in Southeast Asia

Consumer demand for soya milk is undergoing a renaissance in Southeast Asia as new product launches and marketing campaigns reinvigorate product sales, according to UK-based organic and natural product market analyst Organic Monitor.

Soy drinks have long been popular in countries like Thailand and Singapore, but their appeal is growing as specialised products come to market. The use of soy milk as a dairy milk substitute has also risen, especially in Malaysia and Singapore. A Singapore supermarket chain had launched a private-label version of fresh soy milk, and Organic Monitor reports expect more retailers to follow suit.

But functional soy beverages account for the greatest number of launches, with ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, fruit and vegetable extracts all finding their way into soy drinks and manufacturers making health claims.

"Marigold soya milk with pomegranate juice epitomises this trend," according to Organic Monitor. "Malaysia Dairy Industries launched the functional soya drink in Singaporean outlets a few weeks ago. The Marigold brand is highly established, representing a range of fresh juices and soy milk."

The Marigold pomegranate product contains vitamins K, D and calcium; another employs red bean and is fortified with calcium and amino acids. The black sesame version of a drink line launched with aloe vera, black sesame and honey in Thailand is performing very well "because of its taste and health benefits." Black sesame imparts a nutty flavour and is a rich source of manganese, copper, tryptophan, iron and fibre.

A soy milk with collagen targets young women concerned with skin regeneration and beauty.

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