Indonesia stakes claim as SE Asia's most important food market

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Indonesia's food industry will continue to grow in importance as its population of around 300 million gains wealth, according to some voices in the halls of the Jakarta International Expo at Food Ingredients-Asia last week. But it may have some way to go yet.

The composition of Asia's food industry is changing, and moving to the south. Indonesia — with its massive, young population of upwardly mobile consumers who are choosing Western tastes en mass — is a real big deal for international food and ingredient companies. In comparison, India, through its lack of organisation, has not quite made it, while China has transformed into a sub-Asian region in its own right (just look at the number of brand headquarters that serve this single market for an example of how things have changed).

In their wake, the world has been searching for a new upstart in the Asia-Pacific, and Indonesia has filled the breech. But as editors Shane Starling and Richard Whitehead found over the three days of Fi Asia, things aren't quite so clean-cut. There was little international innovation for local companies to pick off; while its own key industry, extracts, was noticeable by the absence of a number of its key players at the show. Where did they go? Listen to find out more.

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