Hot Right Now: Vegan demand in Australia, Nestle Malaysia's US$34mn lawsuit, Malaysia's sugar tax delay and more trending social media stories

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Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles both have an eye on expansion into the vegan market this year in order to cope with increasing demand. ©iStock
Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles both have an eye on expansion into the vegan market this year in order to cope with increasing demand. ©iStock

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Vegan demand in Australia, Nestle Malaysia's US$34mn lawsuit, Malaysia's sugar tax delay and more of our trending social media stories feature in this edition of Hot Right Now.

Vegan expansion: Australia’s Woolworths and Coles striving to meet soaring consumer demand

Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles both have an eye on expansion into the vegan market this year​ in order to cope with increasing demand.

This comes as no surprise given that Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market globally according to Euromonitor, and is also the top ranker in terms of global veganism popularity​ according to Google Trends data.

“We are seeing a trend where more of our customers are embracing meat alternatives and introducing vegetarian and vegan-friendly options into their weekly diets, including adding plant based foods that don’t compromise on taste, quality or price,”​ said Woolworths Senior Nutritionist Natalie Chong.

“This is not to say that customers are becoming strictly vegan or vegetarian, but they are more conscious of adding more vegetables and plant based foods into their diet as an additional source of nutrients when they can.”

Nestle Malaysia faces US$34mn lawsuit over allegations of unauthorised QR code usage

Nestle Malaysia has been slapped with a written summons​ over the alleged ‘unauthorised and/or unlawful’ use of a QR code by a technology company, which is suing for the sum of RM139mn (US$34mn).

The summons was served earlier this month by Mad Labs Sdn. Bhd. to Nestle Products Sdn. Bhd., Nestle Malaysia’s national distribution centre and wholly owned subsidiary.

As per the writ of summons and statement of claim published on the Bursa Malaysia (Malaysian Stock Exchange), Mad Labs has sued Nestle Products for the ‘unauthorised and/or unlawful use’​ of its QR Code, particularly via ‘wrongful and/or unlawful utilisation and/or printing’​ of the code on its products and/or packaging.

China tops the US in embracing plant-based and clean meat products: Study

More well-educated and high income Chinese city-dwellers are embracing plant-based and clean meat​ as a healthier, more nutritious, and exciting option.

In fact, they prefer plant-based and clean meat more than the Americans, although the US is the innovation hub of alternative meat products, where companies such as Impossible Foods, JUST, and Beyond Meat are based.  

According to a study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems​, more Chinese were “very or extremely likely” ​to buy clean meat when compared to the Americans and Indians.

The number of Chinese who were “very or extremely likely”​ to purchase clean meat was twice as much as the Americans at 59.3% versus 29.8% and 10% more than the Indians.

Malaysia sugar tax: Implementation postponed to July, limits raised for milk-based drinks

Malaysia has announced the postponement of its sugar tax implementation date​ by three months, as well as an increase in the sugar content limit for milk-based beverages.

The sugar tax implementation of RM0.40 (US$0.01) per litre has been delayed to July 1 from its original April 1 enforcement date​.

It encompasses all packaged drinks under tariff heading 22.02 that contain sugar or other sweeteners in levels exceeding 5g per 100ml, as well as fruit and vegetable juices with sugar exceeding 12g per 100ml.

In a statement, Customs Department Director-General Dato’ Seri T. Subromaniam said that this move would give the local food and beverage industry as well as the Customs Department more time to make preparations and ready itself for the sugar tax.

Halal chocolate: All Ferrero factories to be Muslim-friendly within next few years

Chocolate and confectionary company Ferrero will make all of its factories worldwide halal within the next few years​, said a company representative.

Moutaz Abdullat, Ferrero Gulf Countries General Legal Counsel told the International Halal Industry Forum that: “Our halal journey began in 2009 with two plants being certified. By 2016-17, the number reached 14 and by 2019-20, 19 plants are expected to be halal-certified. In 2009, only four products were halal-certified. In 2018, 33 have the certification.”

“We have only few factories that are not certified. In two or three years all our factories will be halal.”

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