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A new report by Green Queen Media argues that while plant-based meat sales may be flat in the US and Europe, in Asia Pacific, the alternative protein industry is booming.
Green Queen Media has published the 2022 edition of its award-winning APAC Alternative Protein Industry Report today, titled The Future is Asian and presented by plant-based chicken leader TiNDLE. The 150-page report, now in its third year, is the result of over 14 months of original reporting and dozens of first-hand interviews, as well as featuring expertise and insights from over 30 ecosystem insiders and sector investors.
Both the 2020 and 2021 editions grabbed the top prize in the category of Special Awards for best Global Report at the Hallbars Sustainability Reports Awards in Sweden. Hallbars is an organization that recognizes the best climate-forward publications around the world.
It’s been a challenging year for alternative protein, particularly for plant-based meats, with flat sales in the US and some European markets, a challenging environment for public plant-based companies like Beyond Meat and Oatly, and constant media attacks by pro-meat and pro-dairy lobbies. However, these headlines belie the global picture. “Across the Asia Pacific region, alternative protein companies have been going from strength to strength, hitting major milestones, attracting significant government support and raising record funding rounds,” said Sonalie Figueiras, the report publisher and Green Queen Media’s founder and editor-in-chief, in a statement. “Our report illustrates the importance of reporting and media representation. Western-centric media would have you believe that alternative protein is an industry in trouble. In reality, the sector is headed for boom times in Asia and beyond.”
“What is perhaps obvious to some, but became incredibly clear upon writing the report and working with our industry experts, is just how differently the various countries within APAC approach alternative proteins, both in terms of technology and consumer behaviour,” said Nicola Spalding, the report author.
The future is Asian
Where the 2020 report focused on examining making the case for why alternative protein was necessary in a region that boasts 60% of the world’s population but only 20% of the world’s agricultural land, and the 2021 report provided an exhaustive look at the industry in APAC and dug deep into the three technology pillars, the 2022 edition highlights the 10 most important growth stories and historic firsts that the industry has achieved, as well as the unique products created to serve consumers with vastly different food traditions, culinary tastes and dining preferences.
On the funding front, record-breaking rounds made headlines across the globe, as APAC was home to both the largest cultivated meat Series A ever and the largest plant-based meat Series A ever. The report chronicles every round raised in 2022, with an emphasis on the 10 biggest.
In addition, precision fermentation, which in 2021 was a fledging sector in Asia, experienced real traction this past year, with China’s first animal-free dairy company coming out of stealth and the launch of the region’s first animal-free dairy milk onto supermarket shelves amongst many other announcements.
Several APAC cultivated meat players celebrated major product firsts, from the first cultivated pork belly to the first cultivated duck breast to the first cultivated fishball to the first cultivated Dokdo shrimp- huge leaps, especially given how young the sector is.
The Future is Asian features extensive interviews with 10 local ecosystem insiders from Japan to Taiwan to India, and spotlights the insights of the top venture capitalists investing in the region’s startups.
For the first time, the report authors provided recommendations aimed at the many players of the region’s ecosystem on the road ahead amidst a changing global landscape fraught with supply chain disruption, the ongoing Ukraine war, rising food inflation and the looming threat of a worldwide recession, on top of a worsening climate crisis.
In-depth: APAC’s alt protein pioneers
After years of ecosystem building, the region now boasts hundreds of startups working towards a future of food that promises to feed over three billion people sustainably, safely, and ethically.
The report showcases a range of in-depth case studies spotlighting some of the region’s most exciting players such as South Korean cultivated meat and seafood startup CellMEAT, Singaporean plant-based chicken and seafood player Growthwell Foods, US-Australian animal-free casein maker Change Foods, global fats leader AAK, specialty distributor Classic Fine Foods, Californian precision fermentation company Perfect Day and Hong Kong-based foodtech accelerator Brinc.
Also included are greater China-based plant-based pork and dumpling brand Plant Sifu, US whole-cut fermentation-based seafood pioneer Aqua Cultured Foods, Singaporean cultivated seafood startup Umami Meats and Swiss flavor manufacturer Givaudan.
The climate crisis presents a clear and present danger for Asian countries. The region will feel the brunt of many of the worst tolls of environmental degradation from worsening air pollution to mass climate migration to declining food security. As Figueiras writes in the report’s introduction, “Alternative protein is an important part of the future food toolbox if we are to build a stronger, more resilient regional food system that will face water shortages, land degradation, and more frequent climate-related weather events, amongst many other challenges.”
Download The APAC Alternative Protein Industry Report 2022 – The Future is Asian now.
Lead image courtesy of Green Queen Media.