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As the plant-based wave continues to sweep across Asia, going mainstream in everywhere from South Korea to Thailand and Japan, the Philippines is no exception to the trend. While Filipino cuisine is often described as a meat-filled melange of sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours (hello adobo) not to mention meat-heavy (ahem, lechon), the country’s food scene is now becoming increasingly crowded with plant-based options. Here’s how the Filipino plant-based industry is heating up, particularly in the capital of Manila.
1. Burger King Philippines has added a plant-based whopper
It’s clear that mainstream Filipino consumers are looking for a healthier, cruelty-free bite when it comes to satisfying their fast food cravings, and Burger King has become the latest trend to offer just that. Last month, the burger joint added an all-new plant-based whopper to its menu in the Philippines, made with Aussie startup V2food’s soy-based high-protein patties.
2. OmniPork Luncheon is now available across the country
Spam is considered a staple across many Asian cuisines, including in the Philippines, where the country consumes an astonishing 1.25 million kilograms of the processed ham every single year. Last month, the world’s first vegan version of the luncheon meat made by Hong Kong-based OmniFoods, landed in the country via local distributor Wholemart Philippines in a true testament of how the plant-based movement is reaching new highs.
3. Beyond Meat first made it to Filipino restaurants in 2019
Food tech giant Beyond Meat’s famous plant-based burger patties made their first entry into the Filipino market back in 2019, launching at a number of restaurants in Manila. It has been so popular with customers that now, many more menus are offering the Beyond Burger, including at restaurant chain TGI Fridays and is also retailed at a number of direct-to-consume platforms.
4. WTH Foods is leading the way with its homegrown alt protein offerings
As the first plant-based food tech in the country, WTH Foods – also known as Worth The Health – is making waves with its plant-based sustainable meat alternatives that targets the taste buds of Filipinos. Among some of the products the band currently offers includes mung bean-based ground meat, a jackfruit-based pulled meat, we have a plant-based corned beef and hot dogs – all of them completely vegan and specifically catered to the local market.
Read: Q&A with WTH Foods co-founder Stephen Michael Co on mainstreaming plant-based in the Philippines
5. Filipino food giant Century Pacific has developed its own vegan meat brand
In a clear show of the plant-based shift in mainstream consumer tastes, Po family food giant Century Pacific Foods, best known for its tuna, has created its own meatless brand. Called unMeat, the brand officially launched in November this year and currently offers vegan burger patties, with more alternatives to come in the future. Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures, the major pizza chain owned by Century Pacific, will also be adding plant-based burgers to its menus in every outlet in the country.
6. There’s now a loads of plant-based meat options available to Filipino consumers
Yes, homegrown vegan brands are taking over Filipino supermarket shelves! Alongside WTH Foods, a number of companies have popped up, such as ready-made plant-based meal brand The Good Choices and vegan beef alternative The Real Happy Cow. There’s plant-based snack makers Vegetari Healthy Bites and Jack’s Produce, a specialty store offering jackfruit-based vegan sardines too.
Lead image courtesy of WTH Foods.