Sime Darby focuses on plant-based development and wellness products for edible oils portfolio innovation
Sime Darby is one of the largest producers and suppliers of edible oils in the world and processes a wide range of vegetable oils from palm to canola to coconut and more. Among its best-known consumer brands are Alif palm oil and blended cooking oil, which has a large consumer base in Malaysia and Indonesia.
“Although we already have a wide range of vegetable oil products on the market, we are now focusing on innovative products for the future of food, therefore thinking about what consumers will need in 20 year. [from an] from the point of view of oils and fats”,Sime Darby Oils Head of Innovation and Product Development David Ross Appleton said FoodNavigator-Asia.
“To do that, the focus has to be on developing products that are really essential components of people’s diets – and right now we’re seeing plant-based products being all the rage, and we think we need to develop suitable oils and fats for use with them to meet consumer demands.
“Meats and other plant-based products are improving rapidly and in 10 years the need for you to taste and feel good in the mouth as well as carry the right nutrition will become increasingly important – and for this oils and fats will play a crucial role.
“Whether it’s developing a plant-based burger patty or nuggets or whatever, we all know deep-fried foods taste good for a reason, and that reason has to do with fats, we work so on ways to get the right fat component such as the taste, texture and health aspects of these products can also be good.
Expanding further on the focus on health and wellness, Appleton pointed out that Sime Darby will also be looking to produce more nutrition and wellness products in the future.
“We already know that in many markets in the Asian region, many consumers are vitamin D deficient – so the idea is that if we have an oil fortified with vitamin D, they can just eat their food cooked with that oil. according to normal and get more vitamin D in the process without needing to turn to additional supplements,”he said.
“And then there’s also tocotrienol or vitamin E, which palm oil is very rich in, and to boost that, we already have ELAIESE red palm fruit oil, which is red in color. Its red coloring also makes it rich in carotene and vitamin A, and also allows it to act as a natural colorant, which also allows us to develop a range of other items, for example such as an orange-y mayonnaise which is both visually and nutritionally appealing.
Trends in fats and oils
Based on her broad reach in the oils and fats industry, Sime Darby has observed several very important market trends that she believes will drive both consumer demand and product innovation.
“In addition to health and well-being, food safety and minimum contaminants are definitely an important consideration in this sector and will continue to be an area of focus in the future as consumers have gained this awareness. increased”,said Appleton.
“Along these lines there is certainly sustainability and traceability which is already important for the palm oil sector; and there is also a move towards personalized nutrition where different people are looking for different [oil product] options that work for them.
“And now, with the Ukraine crisis, one thing we can see for sure is that the EU is rapidly running out of oil, and that’s something that will eventually force some dietary changes, and could mean opportunities for growth for other vegetable oils.”
Working with Packaged Foods
Sime Darby has also worked with many big names in the FMCG food and beverage industry to improve the oil and fat components of their products, and here the focus on food safety and quality is paramount.
“When we work with Nestlé for example, as a big name, they are very adamant that their food products are made with oil that is definitely high quality and up to standard, and that’s even more true when it comes to developing products for infants or young children.”,said Appleton.
“So the focus is on ensuring that all contaminants are as low as possible, and when it comes to the production of infant formula, the standards are even higher because that’s all they eat.
“Another example is with our flagship Certio cooking oil which various fry or noodle companies prefer, as it is very focused on frying time and shelf life – the low oxidant content allows them not to change the oil as often and their fried product also last longer and have a more stable color.