Sustainability, health and safety may be some of the food industry’s top priorities in Asia – but food safety “needs to be the starting point”, according to Stephane Alpern, managing partner of Kantar Consulting for Southeast Asia.

“If you don’t have safety, it is going to backlash on every other trend that we talk about, be it health or sustainability,” he said at the Food Industry Asia (FIA) Food for Future Summit in Singapore.

Here are a few key food trends in the region:

1. “Massive opportunity” in addressing food safety

Clean eating may be on the rise worldwide in line with other wellness trends, but in Asia, eating clean comes with other layers of meaning. Food cleanliness and safety is a top priority – and Japan is leveraging this opportunity through halal-certified food. Likewise, other major food exporters to Asia including Australia and New Zealand are doing the same.

“The private sector is starting to import halal food,” observed Alpern, adding that the global halal market “is a US$2 trillion business opportunity, but right now, only 20% of the global demand can be met”.