Food Tech Experts Predict Asia Pacific Will Lead Global Growth of Alternative Protein
Although Asia Pacific might still be behind markets like the USA and Europe with regards to widely incorporating plant-based meat alternatives in their diets, the speed in which countries in Asia Pacific are moving in terms of education, awareness and availability of options is causing an accelerated growth in the region.
At the first Plant-Based Asia Summit, which will take place virtually from 1-3 November 2021, 30 experts in health and nutrition, sustainability, food tech and fitness will take centre stage to inspire a healthier and more sustainable Asia Pacific. One of the keynote speakers is Dr. Dalal AlGhawas, the Programs Director at venture capital firm, Big Idea Ventures, whose portfolio includes plant-based protein alternative companies Shiok Meats, Phuture Foods and Singapore alternative dairy company, MAD Foods.
Dr. AlGhawas shares that the growing demand for meat in Asia will spur a huge growth in plant-based protein and cultured meat. “In Asia, the demand for meat and seafood will grow 78% by the year 2050 due to rising population and growing affluence in society,” she says. “In the future, we want to make sure these can be replaced by plant-based or cell based products.”
The alternative protein market is growing faster in China and Asia Pacific compared to the rest of the world. Dr. AlGhawas shares that in Asia Pacific by 2040, 60% of meat will be alternative protein – 35% of which will be cultured or lab-grown meat, and 25% will be plant-based meat. Asia Pacific was responsible for $230 million invested in alternative protein last year – up 350% than in the previous three years combined.
Next Gen Foods is a Singapore-based company that secured a $30 million investment from Asian and American venture capitalists in the largest seed round on record for a plant-based food startup. Global celebrities like English footballer Dele Alli and business guru Chris Yeh were investors.
Alex Ward is the Chief Operating Officer at TiNDLE, the first brand under the Next Gen Foods umbrella, producing plant-based chicken. At the Plant-Based Asia Summit he says, “It’s amazing where science and food technology has got to. We have taken chicken from a taste and nutrition point of view and matched that in a plant-based form. Nutritionally it is the same in all of the good things, but we have removed the bad things like cholesterol, hormones and antibiotics – and it is also non-GMO.”
Industry leaders also expect to see a huge growth in the region of cultured meat or cell based meat, which is a form of cellular agriculture produced by in vitro cell cultures of animal cells. Josh Tetrick is the CEO and Co-Founder of Eat Just Inc., a California-based food technology company that became the first in the world to sell cultured chicken in Singapore under the brand Good Meat. At the Plant-Based Asia Summit, Tetrick speaks about that growth of cultured meat in Asia Pacific.
Over the next five years, Tetrick sees a global production of tens of millions of pounds of cultured meat, and restaurants moving away from conventional meat, which will mostly be led by forward-thinking young people – with Asia Pacific leading the way. “I see young people not even considering eating meat from the slaughter of an animal because they have this really tasty, environmentally and ethically-friendly meat instead,” he says.
“In the future, our grandchildren won’t call it cultured meat. They will just call it meat,” Tetrick predicts.