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The US and Europe get all the love in the headlines when it comes to the future of plant-based foods but from where we’re sitting, the real vegan revolution is happening in Asia. Below, we share our top five reasons why.
1. Silicon Valley Food Tech CEOs Wish They Had Launched in Asia First
JUST EGG CEO Josh Tetrick is launching manufacturing facility in Asia and says if he could do everything all over again, he would launch in Asia: “If we were starting the business from scratch, we’d probably start in Asia,” he told Food Navigator Asia in February 2018. In fact JUST chose Hong Kong as the company’s first launch market outside of the US and ahead of cities like New York and Los Angeles back in January. Green Queen covered the debut of the revolutionary mung bean egg scramble replacement in detail here. JUST is not the only US based plant tech company to choose Hong Kong and Asia as their launch market: Beyond Meat launched their wildly successful beef burger alternative Beyond Burger patties back in April 2017, and introduced the product to Taiwan this month; Impossible Foods chose the city as its first international market this past April to showcase their plant burger that bleeds, followed by a Macau launch this past July; and UK pizza chain Pizza Express created Asia’s first vegan cheese pizza at their Sai Ying Pun store earlier this year.
2. Vegan Tuna Company Ocean Hugger Foods To Debut Vegan Tuna ‘Ahimi’ in South East Asian Supermarkets Very Soon
It’s no Secret that Asians love seafood, which is why Ocean Hugger Foods is choosing to stock their vegan tuna product ‘ahimi’ in South East Asian supermarkets, The US based company started by Chef James Corwell is working with regional distributor Nishomoto to have ahimi in stores
in the very short term, and planning to build a production facility in Thailand to further sales growth and ease logistics.
3. Follow The Money: Asian Investors Are Getting Ready To Go Long On Plant-Based Protein
In the US and Europe investors like New Crop Capital and Blue Horizon Ventures have created mission-led funds to invest in the plant-based protein alternatives of the future. Here in Asia, the money is waking up to the massive plant potential: new food focused impact company Dao Foods International was created
to supply plant-based protein and clean meat alternatives to the China market and is backed by Dao Ventures, Canada’s Moonspire Social Ventures and clean/animal-free protein VC fund New Crop Capital. This echoes previous investments by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings
and Hong Kong’s Horizon Ventures
into Impossible Foods.
4. Worlds’s First Vegan Minced Pork Omnipork Birthed in Hong Kong
Most people may be surprised to learn that pork is the world’s most consumed meat
. Most people except Asians that is. If you live/travel/spend time in the region, you will know that pork dominates restaurant menus and culinary traditions, making a plant-based alternative a complete game changer. David Yeung, plant-based advocate and founder of Green Monday & Green Common took on the challenge, making global headlines this past April with Omnipork
, the world’s first vegan minced pork made from plants. Restaurants, chefs and retailers are already signing up to the
5. China Vegetarians Will Be The World’s Largest Market of Vegan Products
Back in May we wrote about China’s sharp decline
in meat consumption with vegetarian restaurants doubling in the last five years. This shift is led by the discerning younger generation who, like their millennial counterparts across the globe, are looking for healthier and more sustainable food options. China’s 50 million (yes, you read that right) vegetarians need more choices and plant-based alternatives and we predict the country’s demand for vegan products will soar over the next few years. Case in point: in Hong Kong, the Beyond Burger has seen sales quadruple
Images courtesy of Little Bao x Impossible Foods (lead), Ocean Hugger Foods and Right Treat (Omnipork).