Kerry, the world’s largest taste and nutrition company, recently surveyed 3,700 people across ten Asia-Pacific countries to gauge opinions on plant-based meats. An impressive 62% of respondents said they were interested in buying meat alternatives and 44% said they intended to increase consumption of such products.
Consumers also expressed a desire for meat alternatives that align better with local cuisine, an area where products imported from the West often fall short. According to Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), this is something the company is well-placed to address.
Didier Chanove, Business Development Director, Plant Alternatives, and Jie Ying Lee, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Radicle, spoke with us about their insights into developments in the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa region.
What is the attitude in APAC [Asia-Pacific] towards plant-based products?
Jie Ying: Health, rise in flexitarian diet and sustainability (the latter particularly among younger consumers) remain key drivers for consumption of plant-based products in APAC, where consumers are curious and open to experiencing new foods. This is also leading a shift to more affordable, greater variety and convenient plant-based options in the market. In response to that, food manufacturers in the region are competing to get the best plant-based product out in the market and extending their capabilities to develop more locally relevant formats, such as plant-based dim sum like siew mai and buns. The number of new plant-based brands have grown exponentially in the region, and we are starting to see supermarkets with aisles dedicated to plant-based products. We are also seeing food service restaurants piloting plant-based menus and collaborating with major plant-based players such as Impossible, OmniFoods, JUST and Beyond to leverage their brand.
What characteristics do consumers in the region want in plant-based products?
Jie Ying: First of all, taste is the #1 priority, you don’t eat what you don’t like! Then a good plant-based product is when all of the product attributes are optimised: appealing colour and appearance, good texture, and most importantly, great flavour. Consumers want plant-based foods they can enjoy and indulge in. That said, taste expectations differ from country to country within the APAC region. Unlocking local flavours and tastes consumers like makes for a plant-based product that sells, and ensures consumers will keep buying.
What market potential do you see for plant-based products in Asia?
Didier: The potential is huge, our world population is growing, with Asia today comprising 60% of that growth. Millennials have already transformed the food industry, and Gen Z (the first fully global generation) will accelerate it. The potential for Asia’s plant-based market is high: limited land space, food safety concerns, consumers’ greater proactive approach to health, and the increased focus on sustainable production will continue to challenge the food industry, and this, in turn, will open more opportunities for alternative proteins. Already, Asia is the second-largest region in the world for meat alternatives, accounting for 22% of global sales by value. With an increasing number of consumers in Asia embracing plant-based meat, Asia Pacific is set to have the largest share of the global plant-based market by 2025.
What does Kerry offer manufacturers with Radicle?
Didier: Radicle enables food manufacturers to create delicious plant-based meat and dairy food and beverage products. Our end-to-end solution approach powered by our vast Radicle portfolio of plant-based ingredients and systems can support manufacturers on Taste, Texture, Proteins, Nutrition, as well as health and food protection.
Which product groups does the Radicle range cover?
Didier: Our extensive Radicle portfolio covers all aspects of a product:
- Locally inspired taste and optimised eating/drinking experience through our efficient masking solutions.
- Binding and coating systems to ensure great texture in plant-based meat.
- A variety of plant protein solutions to deliver the unique functional, sensorial and nutritional benefits in a wide range of food and beverage products, from plant-based dairy such as vegan cheese, to meals.
- Nutrition with our clean label and sustainable solutions. For example: ProDiem™, a 100% plant protein solution made with pea, rice or sunflower proteins that can be used across many food and beverage applications.
- Food preservation and protection to ensure food safety and reduce waste.
Why should manufacturers choose Kerry Radicle ingredients and solutions?
Didier: Kerry’s expertise combined with more than 20 years of heritage in the plant proteins market makes us the ideal partner to create delicious plant-based food and beverage products. Our end-to-end capabilities allow our partners to drive their plans with agility, speed, increase the success rate of new product launches while minimising the risks. Whatever opportunity or challenges you see or face in plant-based food and beverages, we probably have a solution.
Our leading consumer insights, global RD&A team of 1,100+ food scientists and extensive global footprint enable us to solve our customers’ complex challenges with differentiated solutions. Our goal is to be our customers’ most valued partner, creating a world of sustainable nutrition with an eye on reaching more than 2 billion consumers with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030.