Plant-based alternatives are in emerging stages in Asia and set to gain traction. Companies must navigate the unique perception of meat and dairy in this region to introduce plant-based products that match consumer expectations of nutrition, taste and price. Foodservice plays a key role in Asia in generating consumer interest, while competition in the retail environment intensifies. Innovation and R&D are important to localise global efforts that will attract both flexitarians and vegetarians.
This report comes in PPT.
The wide availability of affordable soy drinks and mock meat across the region poses a challenge to the new generation of plant-based alternatives. In addition to having to show value over animal-based products, plant-based players must differentiate themselves from traditional (at times unbranded) products that are usually priced more affordably.
Health is the major driver for the consumption of plant-based alternatives; for example, in markets like Japan and South Korea, consumers consider plant-based diets beneficial for weight loss. Fortification is also essential to address nutrition needs across the region, addressing key health concerns, aided by a wider variety of ingredients in plant-based innovations.
The foodservice channel is the go-to entry point for many players in Asia and has already shown some degree of success in markets like China and Singapore where non-soy dairy alternative options are becoming more common. Meat alternative players also partner with chefs and renowned operators to illustrate their products’ application to local dishes.
Given that meat is not the main component in most Asian dishes, plant-based sauces help to spread the application of plant-based across the plate. Ready meals will help mask beany aftertastes and cater to consumer demand for convenience, while non-soy milk alternatives are growing in popularity as premium beverage ingredients on the back of protein diversification.
Japan, South Korea, China and Singapore are observed to be leading Asian markets when it comes to plant-based innovation, with strong consumer perception of quality and variety in addition to the strength of local players. However, the rapidly growing consumer markets of China and selected Southeast Asian countries are key as consumers grow ability to spend.
NOTE: Couscous, polenta and quinoa are excluded from staple foods.See All of Our Definitions
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