Innovation and partnership to address health and nutrition challenges in Asia

The Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) had its third annual roundtable on 27 April 2017 in Singapore. Kicked off with an introduction by Bruno Kistner, ARoFIIN Secretary, the event featured presentations by representatives from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), Taylor’s University and BioAnalyt GmbH.

Stefano Scuratti, Principal, Public Policy, Economics and Politics at EIU, was the first to take the stage, as he shared updates on “Tackling obesity in ASEAN”, an ARoFIIN-commissioned report that offers data on the prevalence and impact of obesity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, as well as recommendations on interventions to tackle the epidemic. Scuratti provided top-level findings from the study, which will be launched in Singapore on 1 June.

Dr Rani Sarmugam and Chen Shiqi from the HPB then presented the agency’s new mobile application, Snap&Eat. Developed in collaboration with Singapore Management University (SMU), the app was designed as a “mobile imaging tool” to simplify food-logging and, as a desired result, promote calorie literacy and influence healthy eating habits among consumers. With the app, consumers log nutrient intake by snapping photos of their food and entering them into the system. Dr Sarmugam highighted that the app recognises about 1,000 commonly consumed local food items.

In her presentation, Dr Chong Li Choo, Programme Director, Culinology, Taylor’s University, noted the importance of food innovation, as she expounded on the trends affecting the development of healthier food products, such as consumers’ food choices and perceptions of quality. Dr Chong then shared about a study her team is currently conducting, which aims for long-term weight reduction among Asians.

The final presentation by BioAnalyt GmbH focused on the topic of personalised nutrition.  BioAnalyt revealed two “mega trends” driven by consumers: the first being a demand for personalised data and measurement, and the second a demand for personalised nutrition – consumers want information about nutrients in their food, and the effect of this food on their health statuses.

The event concluded with a look toward the future, as ARoFIIN continues its work to address health and nutrition challenges in Asia.

Published on 09 May 2017