Asia’s First Dairy-Free Festival Is a Signal of the APAC Market Potential

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Last month, Jakarta held Asia’s very first dairy-free festival and alternative milk latte art competition in a strong showing of the category potential across the region.

Organized by the Jakarta Vegan Guide, the Generasi Dairy-Free Festival, the first dairy-free and plant-based festival in Asia, featured more than 40 brands and hosted over 3,000 attendees. The event was held from September 22-25 at Tribeca Park, Central Park Mall Jakarta.

Jakarta Vegan Guide told Green Queen that the event was designed to target millennials and Gen Z consumers, many of whom are aware of the negative impacts of consuming animal dairy products and are attracted to the growing plant-based dairy trend that dovetails with the coffee culture boom occurring in metro areas across Indonesia.

Dairy-free Asia

According to a recent survey by Rakuten Insight, plant-based milk is the leading plant-based category in Indonesia ahead of plant-based meat and other plant-based products. Indonesians aged 40-54 years make up the majority of plant-based milk consumers. According to Jakarta Vegan Guide, many Indonesians in this age bracket tend to perceive animal dairy products as highly processed and excessively sweet and try to avoid them due to concerns about diabetes. Research from 2020 found that over 10 million Indonesians have diabetes, and this number is growing.

Interest in dairy-free milk, cheese, and other products is on the rise across Asian countries as lactose intolerance affects up to 90 percent of the population. In Indonesia, a 2021 study found that 66 percent of adults are lactose intolerant. Dairy is also a driving force in climate change, with animal agriculture responsible for about 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Indonesian coffee chain Janji Jiwa has over 900 outlets in over 100 cities.

“Our aim is to dispel the myth that dairy-free creations are impossible to realize and the common assumption that these creations are boring, tasteless and unappetizing. Therefore, we picked only distinguished brands that we were sure everyone would enjoy,” Jakarta Vegan Guide co-founder Firmansyah Mastup, said in a statement.

The event offered a range of plant-based food, including ice cream, gelato, coffee dan, and other beverages all made with dairy-free milk.

“We made sure that our selection of tenants, especially the food and beverage stalls, catered to various types of dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, nut-free and sugar-free,” Mastup said.

Alternative Milk Latte Art Competition

The festival featured workshops and talks, as well as the Alternative Milk Latte Art Competition. It was sponsored by Oatly, Milk Lab, V-Soy, and Orasi. The content was judged by Indonesian Latte Art Championship 2019-2021 winner Restu Hadam Hasan and accompanied by Edo Huang and Azi Kardian Wicaksono. Lutfi Maulana, Ega Riandi, and Benedict Giovaldo were named the first, second, and third place winners of the competition.

“With the rise of veganism and the alternative milk industry in Indonesia, we believe that coffee chains everywhere must have at least one alternative milk option in their line-up,” reasons Jakarta Vegan Guide co-founder and Generasi Dairy-Free Festival initiator Chandra Revo. “Through this festival, and particularly events such as AMLAC and AMCE, we wanted to encourage coffee chains in Indonesia to provide more dairy-free products in their menu, including non-dairy coffee as well as plant-based snacks, sweets, and light bites, if not also the main dishes.”

The Alternative Latte Art Competition
The Alternative Latte Art Competition | Courtesy Jakarta Vegan Guide

The latte art competition comes as Indonesia’s coffee culture is on the rise. Revo says the event wanted to challenge baristas who are already crafting dairy-based beverages to use dairy-free options. The team is also working to help bring exposure to coffee chains that already offer plant-based milk.

According to recent Mintel data, Asian consumers aren’t just swapping out dairy for their health. Many are doing it for the environment, too. In India, 33 percent said they’re reducing animal products. In South Korea, 71 percent said climate change is impacting their purchasing decisions. In China, 57 percent of urban consumers say the environment has become a higher priority. Mintel reports that in the 12-month period ending in May 2021, nearly half (47 percent) of new dairy-free products had sustainability claims.

“The growth in eco-conscious, or ‘green’, food and drink consumers, increased focus on animal welfare, and higher priority placed on sustainability all present opportunities for manufacturers and brands in the plant-based dairy category,” Tan Heng Hong, APAC Food and Drink Analyst said in a statement. “Brands in the milk and yogurt sector should take plant-based diets, animal welfare, and sustainability into account when innovating new products and updating manufacturing practices, and highlight the benefits they offer when engaging with consumers.”

Lead image courtesy Jakarta Vegan Guide.


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