American multinational food giant ADM has just opened a new plant-based innovation lab in Singapore, as the firm pivots to ramp up alternative protein development and production in response to “rapidly growing consumer demand” across the Asia-Pacific. The Biopolis research hub will feature a wide range of R&D capabilities, from beverages and other dairy alternative applications, to the plant-based meat lab, food and flavour lab and customer innovation centre.
ADM has opened the doors to its new plant-based innovation lab in its Biopolis research hub in Singapore, the firm announced on Wednesday (April 22). The American food conglomerate’s new lab is designed to develop “on-trend and nutritious” plant-based products to meet the fast-growing demand it has observed across the Asian region.
“This new facility will enhance our ability to meet rapidly growing consumer demand in the Asia-Pacific region and bring exciting new products and solutions to the market,” commented Leo Liu, president of Asia-Pacific at ADM.
Housing a team of experts in proteins and texturing ingredients and flavouring specialists, ADM says that the new hub will be able to come up with and scale new plant-based products for customers that are “tailor-made” for Asian appetites and palates.
Protein continues to be a focus for consumers who are experimenting with plant-based options to meet their health and nutrition, sustainability and convenience preferences.Leo Liu, President, ADM Asia-Pacific
“The lab will help us capture key insight and learnings to help drive exciting new solutions for the Asian market, but also help us better serve customers around the world looking to incorporate Asian flavours and preferences into their latest plant-based food and beverage innovations,” said Marie Wright, president of creation, design and development at ADM.
The lab will feature everything from flavour testing capabilities, to in-house medium-scale sampling of their new products, which will range from dairy alternatives and drinks, to bakery and confectionery goods, and savoury foods. Plant-based meat alternatives will be at the core of innovation in the lab, given the significant uptick in the category’s sales globally since the pandemic began.
“Protein continues to be a focus for consumers who are experimenting with plant-based options to meet their health and nutrition, sustainability and convenience preferences,” explained Liu.
If U.S. consumer trends are any indication, research conducted by ADM’s research arm OutsideVoice found last year that a whopping 92% of first-time buyers of plant-based meat alternatives during Covid-19 plan to make their newfound purchases a long-term habit.
In the same report, ADM analysts also noted that nearly half of consumers are now planning to spend more on wellness and health-focused products and basic pantry staples as a part of the coronavirus-driven transformation in shopping values.
The lab will help us capture key insight and learnings to help drive exciting new solutions for the Asian market, but also help us better serve customers around the world looking to incorporate Asian flavours and preferences.Marie Wright, President of Creation, Design & Development, ADM
A separate DuPont report released in 2021 predicts that demand in key Asian markets will see triple-digit growth within the next five years.
“This innovation lab demonstrates our continued investment in plant-based protein and our commitment to finding new ways to solve [these]…changing consumer taste and preferences,” said Wright.
ADM’s decision to open its innovation lab in Singapore will further solidify the island’s strong reputation as an alternative protein hub, which is already home to a whole host of homegrown and foreign food techs and become the world’s first country to approve the sale of cell-based meat developed by San Francisco-based Eat Just.
Shortly after, Eat Just made its intentions clear to make the city-state its Asian headquarters to house its plant-based egg and cell-based meat production facilities to supply Asian markets. Fellow U.S. food tech giant Oatly has also recently teamed up with local established player Yeo’s to begin manufacturing its famous oat milk in Singapore to supply mainland China and the wider Asia-Pacific region.
“With Asia being home to 60% of the world’s population, Singapore is a critical hub of innovation and growth around plant-based alternatives,” said Liu, adding that ADM’s move will further drive more “opportunities for young talent in the Asia-Pacific region.”
All images courtesy of ADM.