Singapore-based agricultural commodities company Agrocorp International has announced the launch of its new plant-based brand as the firm makes its pivot to keep up with consumer trends. Rolling out its first product today (April 15), a pea protein-based dairy-free paneer alternative, HerbYvore plans to expand its portfolio and global distribution in the coming months.
Agrocorp’s new plant-based food brand HerbYvore has launched today (April 15) in Singapore with its first product, Pea Paneer, a vegan-friendly alternative to the popular Indian cottage cheese. Made with Canadian-grown pea protein and locally manufactured in Singapore, the product has made its way into select retailers including the Vegan Grocer and NTUC FairPrice Finest, as well as e-commerce platforms including NourishSg and BuzzSgp.
Holding a tasting event at the Indian fusion restaurant Rang Mahal to “showcase the full versatility” of its plant-based paneer, the company said that it plans to also launch via foodservice channels, partnering with the well-known chain Kailash Parbat and Yantra.
The Pea Paneer was developed in collaboration with the Singapore Institute of Technology as part of the country’s goal to bolster food security and diversify the use of plant protein crops to create sustainable foods.
“As a company, sustainability is at the core of our values, and it gives us a sense of pride to know that with this launch we are supporting both the global plant-based movement and Singapore’s 30 by 30 goal,” commented Vishal Vijay, director of strategic investments at Agrocorp.
HerbYvore is a concept that we are very excited about, especially going by the initial feedback and following that Pea Paneer has been getting.Vishal Vijay, Director of Strategic Investments, Agrocorp
It marks the Singapore-headquartered global agri-food firm’s first official foray into the plant-based food industry, as it looks to pivot its business strategy and capitalise on the fast-growing meat-free trend in its domestic market and globally. Agrocorp is a specialist in key commodities including soy, wheat, cotton and pulses, and operates in 15 markets internationally, including in Canada, India, the U.S. and Australia.
After rolling out Pea Paneer, HerbYvore will expand its portfolio of plant-based alternatives within the next 12 months to include other cheese products, such as meltable cheese formats, as well as egg replacements, said Agrocorp, who described in a press release that the move is a “pillar of [our] overall strategy…to become a market leader in the plant protein and sustainable foods space”.
Vegan cheese is in high demand, with the latest estimates putting the global plant-based cheese market on the trajectory to double from its current US$2.7 billion to over US$4.5 billion by as soon as 2025. Paneer, in particular, is a category ripe for disruption, with global market volume hitting 1.9 million tons in 2020.
“HerbYvore is a concept that we are very excited about, especially going by the initial feedback and following that Pea Paneer has been getting,” said Vijay. “We’re hopeful of expanding our restaurant and retail base in Singapore as well as taking the product overseas soon.”
The first overseas countries that HerbYvore is slated to enter within the coming months include India, Canada, the U.S. and Australia – key markets where plant-based foods have experienced exponential growth over the past few months, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
Plant-based retail sales in the U.S., for instance, hit a whopping US$7 billion in 2020, growing twice as fast as the wider animal-based retail market, while the Australian plant-based industry recorded a 46% year-on-year jump in sales.
We’re hopeful of expanding our restaurant and retail base in Singapore as well as taking the product overseas soon.Vishal Vijay, Director of Strategic Investments, Agrocorp
Much of the growth has been attributed to a mainstream consumer shift towards more plant-forward choices to actively reduce meat and dairy consumption, though short of completely eliminating animal-based foods. Recent research suggests that more than 4 out of 10 consumers globally are now identifying as flexitarians.
Agrocorp’s pivot follows similar moves made by other big companies in recent months, including seafood producer Thai Union, who are planning to launch plant-based shrimp this year. South Korean tofu giant Pulmuone has also launched its own line of plant-based meat this month, entering the space for the first time.
Fellow Singapore established food player, Tee Yih Jia, joins the list of firms tapping into the plant-based trend, introducing its new ALTN brand in early 2021 to offer vegan ready meals, convenience foods and snacks.
All images courtesy of HerbYvore / Agrocorp.