Plant-based Meat Substitutes: Opportunities and Challenges in Southeast Asia

August 2020

With the growing global interest in meat substitutes, there is also a growing interest in Southeast Asian opportunities. However, growth potential is yet to be met as consumer concern is still focused on food security. Although there is growing demand for meat in the region due to the rise in middle income population, global and regional meat supply is not able to meet this demand growth. As such, meat substitutes have great potential in this region to fill this gap.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Coronavirus-based meat safety fears and possibility of meat shortages open doors for plant-based meat

Viral African swine fever has wiped out a large number of pigs globally, and the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has further dampened the global meat supply chain. Global epidemics and concerns over food safety have led to consumers becoming more selective in the food they consume and a preference for healthier foods. Moreover, the growing middle class in Southeast Asia means markets will reach an inflexion point in meat consumption where demand will outstrip supply of meat opening opportunities for plant-based meat alternatives.

Price is the biggest barrier to consumption

Price seems to be the biggest deterrent to plant-based meat consumption in both retail and foodservice. To cater to the generally lower GDP per capita in the region compared to the global average (except for Singapore and Malaysia), players would need to make plant-based meat more affordable through product promotions or simply creating dollar-parity dishes with meat.

There is much scope to expand distribution channels in the region

Plant-based meat substitutes are not widely available in the region yet, with most innovations taking place in Singapore, and even then restricted to specific retailers and higher-end foodservice outlets. Selling these products in more retailers and normalising them in the fast food or delivery channels can make them mainstream.

Growing middle income population in Southeast Asia leads to higher demand for meat

GDP per capita in Southeast Asia is at USD5,200 as of 2019, in comparison to USD63,000 in North America, limiting Southeast Asia consumers’ ability to purchase meat and the new- generation meat substitutes that often carry a high price tag. However, with GDP per capita still expected to grow at more than 5% yearly, demand for meat is expected to increase as it is commonly associated with wealth.

Preference for pork and minced format provide future opportunities

Southeast Asian consumers consume more pork than beef. Furthermore, instead of being consumed in patty formats, meat is traditionally incorporated in various dishes through mince. Hence, innovations such as Omnipork, focusing on minced pork substitutes, will see a greater opportunity in the region due to their ability to be incorporated in dishes.

Key findings
Health and sustainability consciousness drives plant-based trend
Southeast Asians still struggle to meet recommended protein intake
“New generation” of meat substitutes faces challenges in Southeast Asia
Sustainability is not an immediate concern for ASEAN consumers
New-generation meat substitutes face established competition
New players enter through various distribution strategies
Rise of flexitarianism means opportunities for meat-alternative players
Purchasing power aids plant-based meat trend in Singapore
Southeast Asians face three main barriers to plant-based meat substitutes
Perception of meat: Southeast Asia vs North America
The need to localise and mass appeal: case study of Omnipork
Food delivery and meat alternative tie up: case study of Deliveroo
Growing middle income increases demand for meat
The right product certifications mean opportunities in retail
Focusing on the four “P”s: opportunities for foodservice
COVID-19’s impact on outlook for plant-based meat in Southeast Asia

Consumer Foodservice

Consumer foodservice is composed of cafés/bars, full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks.

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