Study finds greater demand for meat alternatives in Asia


New research by taste and nutrition company Kerry has found that 62 per cent of consumers in the Asia Pacific region are interested in buying plant-based meat alternatives.

“Asia is currently the second largest region in the world for plant-based meat alternatives, accounting for 22 per cent of global sales by value and it is expected that it will be the world’s largest market by 2025,” says Ronan Moloney, Vice President and General Manager of Food and Meat for Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa.

“However, this new research reveals a significant unmet need in Asia regarding providing consumers with the alternatives that they want.”

It was further found that 44 per cent of Asian participants intended to increase their consumption of these alternative products and 32 per cent reported actively trying to cut meat consumption. Twenty-eight per cent of respondent said they had already cut their meat consumption significantly.

“Consumers are seeking products that have superior taste, texture, and nutrition, while also aligning with local or regional cuisines or tastes,” says Moloney.

“However, many fall short of these expectations with 70 per cent of consumers in the Asia Pacific region saying that the taste and texture of current meat alternatives do not match that of real meat, but adding that they would make plant-based foods a regular part of their diet if this were resolved. Brands can capitalise on this growing demand by creating innovative products that meet consumer needs across taste, texture, and sustainability.”

The study, titled Kerry’s APAC Consumer Study 2021 was conducted on 3700 people across 10 countries and completed in two-stages to best understand the meat alternatives market. The first stage was qualitative research completed on young consumers, homemakers, and food bloggers with these findings then validated among the 3700 participants.

These countries included China, Indonesia, India, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Kerry says due to the pandemic, Asian consumers are more conscious of food safety, health, and the environment with many actively making dietary changes to live a more healthy and sustainable life.

“Driving the plant-based shift from niche to mainstream in the region is the flexitarian, a growing consumer group who enjoys both meat and plant-based foods and will not compromise on the taste and texture,” says Kerry.

Radicle by Kerry takes a holistic approach to create plant alternatives across the four pillars of taste, which includes developing taste systems for plant protein to mask off notes and build delicious savoury taste, functionality, which focuses on texture, performance and freshness, sustainability which ensure the plant bases contain functional and sensory benefits, and nutrition which encompasses enriched, nutritionally-optimised plant-based products.

“While taste is the most important attribute for plant-based foods, creating delicious plant-based meat alternatives that resonate with consumers can be a complex, costly and challenging process, particularly around savoury taste and creating succulence, juiciness and a moreish flavour,” says Moloney.

“Radicle by Kerry enables manufacturers to create and deliver sustainable food and beverage products that are nutritionally optimized with cleaner labels, authentic taste, and appealing texture. With a growth of more than 20 per cent in meat alternative launches in Southeast Asia from 2019 to 2020, there is no doubt that Asia presents a good opportunity for innovative, tasty products that consumers will want as their first choice, and not the alternative.”

For more information on Kerry’s plant-based solutions, click here.

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