Manufacturing & Technology

Plant & Bean Opens New Plant-Based Meat Facility in Thailand

In 2021, Innobic (the life sciences arm of Thai state-owned energy company PTT) joined forces with plant-based food importer Nove Foods to form a joint venture called Nutra Regenerative Protein Co (NRPT). The new company then made an agreement with the UK’s Plant & Bean to establish a plant-based meat facility in Ayutthaya, with NRPT providing 51% of the investment and Plant & Bean providing the remaining 49%.

The facility — which has a production capacity of 25,000 tons and is claimed to be Thailand’s first dedicated plant protein factory — appears to have recently opened. Plant & Bean Thailand told the Bangkok Post that it had already been approached by several food companies interested in collaborations, including US fast food chain Texas Chicken. The chain plans to introduce a range of plant-based products under the brand name alt. Eatery, which will be produced at the new facility.

The news comes after Plant & Bean faced financial difficulties in the UK last year; the company went into administration due to rising operational costs, but was bought by plant-based entrepreneur Heather Mills. Plant & Bean’s UK facility has remained operational following the sale, and the company’s website indicates that it is also planning facilities in the USA, China, and South America.

Image: PTT Public Company

Fast-growing market

Thai companies are reportedly becoming increasingly interested in plant-based meat manufacturing, as demand for alternative proteins continues to grow worldwide. After seeing soaring production costs due to the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, some major plant-based meat manufacturers from around the world are relocating their production to countries with lower costs. According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand is a popular choice, in part due to the availability of suitable raw materials.

The Thai plant-based food market is expected to reach a valuation of 45 billion bhat this year, up from 28 billion in 2019.

“Produced using world-class technology, the product has a texture, taste, and appearance similar to real meat, delicious, and easy to eat,” said Dr. Buranin Rattanasombat, COO of the New Business and Infrastructure Group at PTT, in a statement. “This is in line with the goal of developing healthy food innovations, causing consumers to consume more plant-based protein foods. At the same time, the [Plant & Bean] factory uses solar energy to produce electricity for use in the production process, reducing costs and reducing CO2 emissions, which is beneficial to the environment.”

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