All about the product: Taste, price and nutrition key to driving Asia’s plant-based growth – Expert Growth Asia Series panel
By Pearly Neo
- Last updated on
The plant-based industry in Asia faces multiple bureaucratic and policy challenges ahead, but the key to ensuring continued growth lies in ensuring products’ taste, price and nutrition are at least equal, and ideally better, than meat products, according to a panel of experts.
Even though the plant-based sector in Asia has been seeing rapid growth over the past few years and is expected by many to emerge as ‘the future of food’, there is still a long way for the industry to go before becoming mainstream – and this journey, though mainly initiated with environmental and ethical concerns in mind, will need to focus on product development to achieve significant growth.
This was agreed upon by the expert panel which convened at the Plant-Based Innovation edition of our Growth Asia 2020 series in November, which comprised of Alex Ward (Givaudan Head of Regional Innovation APAC), Michelle Lee (DuPont Asia Pacific Regional Marketing Leader), Eugene Wang (Founder of Sophie’s Kitchen), Tao Zhang (Co-founder of Dao Foods International) and Varun Deshpande (Managing Director of Good Food Institute India).
Keynote speakers for the session also included PepsiCo R&D Global External Innovation Lead Dr Tan Siow Ying and Eat JUST CEO and Co-Founder Josh Tetrick. The session was hosted by FoodNavigator-Asia and NutraIngredients-Asia Editor-in-Chief Gary Scattergood.
According to Deshpande, although in the early stages of development the plant-based sector was very environmental and ethically-driven, going beyond this stage will need stronger focus on the actual products.
“In India for example, and likely elsewhere too, the early adapter cohorts were thinking about the animals and the planet, but now we’re past that early stage and the focus needs to be on taste, price and nutrition,” he said.
“We need to appeal to the mainstream, wider consumers and the only way to do this is if the products cost the same or less and taste the same or better – otherwise, no one is going to care whether the ingredients used are plant-based or not.”