The NIKKEI Asian Review has outlined how COVID-19 reinforces the demand for plant-based meat in Asia and is creating competition within the Asian market. Both new brands as well as established food producers are now competing alongside Western plantbased brands, hustling to become established in the lucrative Asian market.
Since many reports identified meat markets as the source of COVID-19, concerns with respect to food safety and health increased significantly and make it more pressing for the Asian market to consider plant-based meat.
Pioneering sustainability movement Green Monday and its OmniFoods products saw retail sales surge by 120% in April as compared with January sales” as many more people became conscious of the risk and problems associated with the meat and livestock industry,” said a Green Monday spokesperson to the Asian Review.
Soybean-based meat of the Japanese food company Marukome generated sales 96% above its target for the month of May and the plant-based burger by the Japanese hamburger chain MOS Food Services extended its presence on the Asian market.
Meat processor Itoham Yonekyu Holdings launched soy-based Japanese-style Hamburg steak and fried chicken which saw such increase in demand due to the pandemic that it now plans to expand its sales channels.
Western brands have recognized the potential of the Asian market in recent years and their entrance has stepped up exponentially since the start of the pandemic. Beyond Meat recently cooperated with Yum China Holdings Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in order to introduce its products to the Chinese market, and Impossible Foods announced its plans to enter Asia back in 2019. Its Impossible Meat is now on sale in Singapore, the only region outside of the USA where Impossible products are available.
COVID-19 represents a chance for Asia to question its meat consumption, as it has been stated by the spokesperson of Green Monday to NIKKEI. “coronavirus exposes the public health and sustainability risk of our meat-reliant food system, which represents a window for opportunity for the plant-based sector.”