Overcoming Asian reluctance: Singapore plant-based luncheon meat ANEW to launch in 42 ‘accepting’ markets
Therefore, it is planning for entry and trademarking of ANEW in 42 markets, like the US, Canada, Europe and China, said its spokesperson and brand marketing manager Ong Shiya.
“Asia has a very long history of consuming vegetarian products. However, this (plant-based) concept is coined and marketed for Western countries, such as Europe and the US. Impossible and Beyond Meat made a big bang. Our research shows there is a very high growth rate for the segment.
“But for Singapore and most of Asia, the market is still in infancy. There are much slower adoption rates for plant-based in Asia in general. From the business point of view, we are looking to target and export these products, besides launching here in Singapore where we’re based and still our first market,” said Ong.
Established in 1993, OTS Holdings Limited is a brand builder and food manufacturing group with a niche in ready-to-eat (RTE) and ready-to-cook (RTC) meat products with key markets in Singapore and Malaysia. Targeting halal and non-halal consumer segments, the Group has more than 1,100 SKUs across 13 main product types under its house brands, notably the flagship brands Golden Bridge and Kelly’s. ANEW is the firm’s seventh and latest brand.
Lunch on ‘luncheon meat’
Based on that research knowledge, OTS Holdings developed ANEW, a Singapore alternative meat brand, and launched its first product, the plant-based luncheon meat, in June 2022.
Over two years of research and development (R&D) from 2020 to June 2022, the firm worked with 12 suppliers from seven countries. It produced more than 15 iterations to deliver similar properties, textures, appearance and nutritive value as animal meat luncheon.
The ‘meat’ was then formulated with wheat, soy protein, vegetable juice, Eucheuma seaweed and radish. It is available in three flavours: Classic, aromatic and spicy Black Pepper, and rich, smoky Barbecue. The tinned ‘meat’ retails at SG$5.40 (US$3.90) in Lazada’s LazMall and RedMart, selected Fairprice supermarkets and websites in Singapore, Shopee and Qoo10.
“It’s a natural product progression for our firm. We hope to participate in the upcoming trend of plant-based and sustainable lifestyles. We want to target those aged 25 to 45 years old, families who want to consume better food and upgrade to nutritionally better choices,” said Ong.
A 100g serving of the Classic formulation provides 6.8g of protein and 4.9g of dietary fibre at 176 kcal and 9.8g fat – believed to be the lowest-calorie and lowest-fat plant-based luncheon meat in the market. It also claims to be high in protein, trans-fat-free and non-GMO.
According to OTS Holdings’s food technologists, Ernest Oo and Zoe Kam, the technology and processing methods were mostly similar to animal luncheon. However, the more challenging factors were mimicking the texture of animal meat and masking flavours commonly associated with plant-based products.
“Referencing our animal luncheon products, we were able to blend a series of flavours, herbs and spices, which would eliminate the off-notes commonly associated with plant-based products. In terms of bioavailability, our product is made of a blend of different plant-based ingredients that provide different sources of macro- and micro-nutrients.
“One of the main ingredients is soy protein, which is known to contain all the essential amino acids. Although we are unable to justify at this point how much of these essential amino acids are present, our product’s overall protein content can meet the Health Promotion Board (HPB, Singapore’s statutory board under the Ministry of Health) guidelines on claiming the product to be ‘High in Protein’,” they claimed.
Concluding the interview, Ong said the firm aims to enter Malaysia and the Philippines in Q1 2023 and later attempt Hong Kong, China, Myanmar and Cambodia. In terms of product line expansion, it plans to release RTE products by Q4 2022.
“We are very hopeful, and that these products already have advantages when it comes down to exporting. There are lower export barriers like low to zero tariffs. We do see that the product will give us a more competitive edge over other plant-based players,” she said.
Proteins, probiotics and healthy ageing are major focus areas of our upcoming Growth Asia Summit in Singapore from 11 to 13 October. Check out big-name brands, international experts and pioneering start-ups slated to present here.