Nestlé Opens Malaysia Plant-Based Factory, Doubles Down On Dairy-Free Foods Across Asia

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Nestlé Malaysia, a subsidiary of F&B giant Nestlé, has opened its first plant-based production facility this week, a first in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and one of the only two in the whole of Asia. The CPG giant also launched dairy-free versions of its popular chocolate malt beverage, Milo.

The new 6,000 sq.m. facility is situated inside Nestlé’s existing Shah Alam Industrial Complex in Selangor and is equipped with an annual production capacity of 8,000 tonnes in an effort to address the increasing demand among consumers for plant-based foods. It will even look to supply local shops as well as meet export demands.

In 2020, out of the RM280M (approx. US$67M) capital expenditure, Nestlé Malaysia invested a total of RM150M (approx. US$36M) in this facility, the highest amount it has done in the last six years.

The facility has already started work with Nestlé’s plant-based brand Harvest Gourmet, with products including burger patties, schnitzels, chargrilled pieces, and ground mince products. These are developed using soy, wheat, beetroot, carrot, pomegranate and blackcurrant with the company claiming they are high in protein and fiber.

This product line will first be available for the out-of-home market and will then be expanded to consumers.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, executive vice president and CEO, Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, Nestlé S.A., Chris Johnson, said: “We have chosen Malaysia, and Selangor, as the location of this new manufacturing hub, as we find here the right infrastructure, trade links and access to talent and capabilities. We also build on Nestlé’s 108 years of successful presence in Malaysia. We are confident that with this new facility we will be able to capture the exciting growth opportunity for plant-based products in this region, which is a very important growth priority for the Nestlé Group worldwide.”

Nestlé officials at the production line for the plant-based burger patty. Source: Nestlé Malaysia

We have chosen Malaysia, and Selangor, as the location of this new manufacturing hub, as we find here the right infrastructure, trade links and access to talent and capabilities

Chris Johnson, executive vice president and CEO, Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, Nestlé S.A.

CEO of Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad, Juan Aranols, said that this news is a positive one given that increasing Malaysians are trying plant-based alternatives either because of “health reasons or for environmental considerations”. “This production site in Shah Alam will allow us to supply locally produced, high-quality, great-tasting and Halal certified plant-based meals. To note also that, compared to the equivalent meat-based products, these plant-based solutions are also more sustainable as they have a much lower carbon footprint and they require less use of natural resources such as water or land.”

Apart from this, Nestlé also launched a dairy-free version of its chocolate malt beverage, Milo in Malaysia with plans to spread its reach across Asia. This plant-based version is created with almond and soy and includes original ingredients, malt and cocoa as well, with each serving providing 6.5 grams of protein and is fortified with vitamins and minerals.

With over 40% of consumers in Asia choosing to eat less or no meat in their diet, the demand for plant-based foods is no longer a food trend, it is a social shift

Shiraz-Longden, Vice President, Food – Nestlé Professional (Asia, Oceania and Africa)

Additionally, Nestlé Malaysia plans to exclusively debut plant-based Nescafé dairy-free almond latte that will contain almond and pea, and the Oat Latte that will combine oat and soy.

Vice President, Food – Nestlé Professional (Asia, Oceania and Africa), Tahira Shiraz-Longden, said: “With over 40% of consumers in Asia choosing to eat less or no meat in their diet, the demand for plant-based foods is no longer a food trend, it is a social shift. Whether it is motivated by personal health or for a more sustainable planet, we are excited to bring our plant-based knowledge and expertise to this region and adapt to local tastes.”

Source: Nestlé

It also set up a production facility in Tianjin, China to produce its Harvest Gourmet brand and the latter has partnered with global and regional restaurant chains to supply its plant-based products to China’s Element Fresh, Malaysia’s KyoChon and Carl’s Jr in Singapore and even plans to extend into retail with China’s Tmall and Hema.

In the first half of 2020 alone, Nestlé recorded a 40% sales growth in its plant-based sales and hence the rapid expansion plans across the globe, especially in Asia.


Lead image – Juan Aranols officiating the launch of the facility with other Nestlé officials, courtesy of Nestlé Malaysia.


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