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Australian plant-based startup Fable Food Co is now setting its sights on expanding in Asia as demand for sustainable vegan meat alternatives continues to grow across the region. The food tech has recently doubled-down its presence in Australia, expanding with a new premium line of vegan-friendly mushroom-based braised beef ready meals across retail giant Woolworths, and says it will soon be rolling out foodservice in Singapore and Malaysia.
Fable Food, the Sydney-based startup backed by the world-famous Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal, is planning to launch its mushroom-based vegan-friendly line of plant-based meat across Asia in the coming months. Having recently expanded its range with three new plant-based “slow braised beef” ready meals – Chilli Con Carne, Stroganoff and Rogan Josh – across Australia’s largest supermarket chain Woolworths, Fable has already made a name for itself as one of the country’s leading homegrown plant-based brands.
Unlike other food techs that typically use soy and wheat, Fable’s entire range of GMO-free and gluten-free plant-based meat, developed by two of the startup’s co-founders – chief mycologist Jim Fuller and organic mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin – is made from 65% minimally processed shiitake mushrooms, in addition to coconut oil, tapioca flour and gluten-free soy sauce.
Fungi can fix our soil, help us capture carbon, regrow forests, replace meat in our diets and cure physical and mental disease. We want to help humanity re-ally with Fungi and unlock our greatest potential.Michael Fox, Co-Founder & CEO, Fable Food Co
“The history of fungi and humans is a closely intertwined Fable. We evolved by eating them, cultivating them and journeying with them,” Michael Fox, the company’s CEO and co-founder told Green Queen. “Industrialisation has led to us abandoning this alliance leading to the destruction of our soil, forests, physical and mental health.”
“Fungi can fix our soil, help us capture carbon, regrow forests, replace meat in our diets and cure physical and mental disease. We want to help humanity re-ally with Fungi and unlock our greatest potential,” Fox added.
The re-heatable ready meals adds to Fable’s existing signature plant-based braised beef product already retailed at Woolworths since December 2019, which according to the brand was sold out in stores across multiple states within the first weeks of launching, in a strong show of demand for clean label plant-based meat alternatives amongst consumers.
“Plant-based options are becoming increasingly popular with our customers, and we’re expanding our product range to meet the continued growth in demand. We’re excited to offer Fable’s ready meals to give Aussies even more options for delicious plant-based food options,” said Leigh Gallen, ready meals category manager at Woolworths, in a statement about the new product additions selling for AU$10 (US$7.43) per 350-gram pack.
But it isn’t just Australian consumers who are searching more plant-based options, with trends across the world all showing a significant uptick in interest in plant-based meats, especially since the coronavirus-related abattoir viral outbreaks spotlighted the dangers of the meat supply chain.
With food safety and health a particularly key concern amongst Asian consumers, most market research suggests that the region will play a major role in driving the growth of the alternative protein industry.
We’ll be rolling out into restaurants in Singapore from January onwards. We’re also planning to launch into Malaysia early in 2021 too.Michael Fox, Co-Founder & CEO, Fable Food Co
Analysts at Zion Market Research, for instance, recently predicted that the global plant-based meat market will grow by 8.6% annually to reach US$21 billion by 2025, with Asia to hold the largest share of the market in the future due to rising health and environmental concerns.
To meet the demand, Fable is joining the list of international brands entering the Asian market, and is already available via foodservice in Singapore through a distribution partnership with one of the city’s biggest food players Country Foods, a subsidiary of SATS.
“We’ll be rolling out into restaurants in Singapore from January onwards. We’re also planning to launch into Malaysia early in 2021 too,” Fox told Green Queen, who added that outside of the Asian market, the startup is also collaborating with Singapore-based distributor Classic Fine Foods, which has operations across the world, to launch in high-end restaurants across the U.K. as well.
Looking further ahead, Fox says that Fable will be targeting more plant-based proteins, developing different formats of “meaty food from mushrooms” to add to its line-up.
“We’ve started with alternatives to delicious slow cooked braised and pulled meats,” he explains. “But there are lots of other types of meat that people eat and we’re working on making alternatives to quite a few of them, and we’ll soon have more news on this front next year.”
All images courtesy of Natalie Nguyen via Fable Foods.