Authentic approach: Indonesia’s first plant-based meat firm Green Butcher banks on local flavours to pique interest

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indonesia’s first homegrown plant-based meat firm Green Butcher is banking on its localised flavours and spices focus to pique the interest of the nation’s consumers. ©Green Butcher
Indonesia’s first homegrown plant-based meat firm Green Butcher is banking on its localised flavours and spices focus to pique the interest of the nation’s consumers. ©Green Butcher

Related tags: Indonesia, plant-based, Localisation

Indonesia’s first homegrown plant-based meat firm Green Butcher is banking on its localised flavours and spices focus to pique the interest of the nation’s consumers and grow the domestic category.

According to Green Butcher Co-Founder Helga Angelina Tjahjadi, staying authentic to Indonesian flavours is important to the firm in order to set itself apart from other plant-based meat firms entering the market, particularly as the local plant-based market is still in its early stages.

“We maintain a strong focus on authentic Indonesian and South East Asian flavours as well as strong nutrition profile [as our main value proposition] to our main consumer demographic, upper middle flexitarian and vegan consumers,”​ Tjahjadi told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“[Indonesia] is definitely in the early phase of market development [and localised flavours will help boost the appeal]. There is a lot of market education to be done about plant-based foods and how they benefit consumer and planetary health.

“[In terms of plant-based market maturity], I would roughly say we are behind Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia at this time although this is not based on [formal research].”

Green Butcher’s product portfolio includes localised ready-to-cook offerings such as Chick’n Satay with Sambal Taichan (a dish originating from Indonesia) and Beefless Rendang, as well as dishes popular with locals like Vegan Gyoza and Chick’n Karaage.

The firm’s plant-based meats are made from ingredients such as mushroom, GMO-free soy, chickpea, and seitan, with key spices sourced directly from local farmers across the Indonesian archipelago.

“[Our] sea salt comes from the beautiful island of Bali, exotic spices such as turmeric, galangal, and lemongrass come from Java, and coconut oil is sourced from sustainably-grown coconut trees in Riau – we also source our starches and fats locally,”​ added Tjahjadi.

“[We] believe that the combination of these ingredients [are what] creates bold and distinctive flavours for [our plant-based] products.”

In an effort to further capture the local market, Green Butcher also recently launched its beefless products with Starbucks Indonesia, a well-known name amongst locals. Three beefless menu items – a focaccia bread, a wellington pocket and a sloppy joe sandwich – made using Green Butcher’s Beefless Chunks have been launched in 57 Starbucks outlets across Jakarta, Bogor and Bali.

Local development first

The firm also recently closed its seed funding round, securing an undisclosed (reportedly 7-figure) investment from funders such as Unovis Asset Management - which has big plant-based names such as Miyoko’s, Sunfed and Ocean Hugger Foods in its portfolio and was a previous funder of Beyond Meat – and James Cameron’s SavEarth Fund.

With these funds, the main focus will first remain on local development, Tjahjadi told us.

“The focus will be on local development - The fresh funding will help us expand the R&D team, scale up production, and launch into mainstream retailers by Q2 this year,”​ she said.

“In the short-term, we are working on developing beefless steak and chick'n fillets that will be launched in partnership with a big F&B group name in Indonesia – [only in the] long-term will the focus be on regional expansion.”

Green Butcher products range between INR55,000 (US$3.94) to INR70,000 (US$5.66), and are available in Indonesia at all Burgreens plant-based eateries (also helmed by Tjahjadi), local gourmet supermarket chain Kemchicks, specialty food shops like Veganesia and Toko Organik, and via online platforms.

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