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Is there a new superfood on the block?

GlobalData claims fingerroot may be “the next big functional ingredient after turmeric” and a “worthy contender for the ‘superfood’ tag”.

Fingerroot

Fingerroot, also known as ‘Chinese Keys’, is a type of ginger, sometimes used for medicinal purposes. According to data analytics and consulting company GlobalData, the plant is being used to create “a flurry of new product launches following a medical study which shows that the herb can be beneficial in combating viruses such as COVID-19”. Additionally, given the high demand for superfoods and ‘food and drinks’ with ‘immunity boosters’ in Thailand, fingerroot can become the next functional ingredient after turmeric and moringa, according to the company.

Fingerroot has traditionally been a food ingredient in certain types of cuisine, but – according to GlobalData – its popularity increased after a joint study conducted by the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences, Ramathibodi Hospital, and Mahidol University, which highlighted the potential efficacy of fingerroot in treating viral infections such as COVID-19. Subsequently, several health food and drinks, and dietary supplements with fingerroot as the main ingredient have debuted in Thailand.

“The demand for functional food and drinks boomed in Thailand during the COVID-19 outbreak as consumers reached for traditional remedies and science-driven formulations to augment their body’s natural immunity against infections,” said Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData. “As is the case with most health and wellness trends, the millennials are spearheading this trend towards immunity boosters in Thailand with 55 percent of the cohort finding immunity boosters an essential/key driver of product purchases. This explains the robust demand for fingerroot-based products in the country, and the strong manufacturer focus on this space.”

Besides its immunity boosting properties, fingerroot is also purported to be beneficial in alleviating inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and digestive diseases, stimulating brain function and preserving bone health, among others, the company states.

“Thai consumers are among the strongest proponents of superfoods in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, with 41 percent of Thai respondents in GlobalData’s Q2 2021 consumer survey affirming that they buy food/drink products with ‘superfood’ ingredients all the time, compared to the APAC average of 16 percent. Products with traditional medicinal herbs such as fingerroot can gain strong appeal in the APAC and beyond, just the way turmeric and moringa have done, over the past decade,” Verghese concluded.

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