Singaporean plant-based brands are increasingly taking advantage of rising demand elsewhere in the world to expand internationally, with a particular focus on Europe.
The number of alt protein companies in Singapore has reportedly skyrocketed in recent years, as the country becomes increasingly concerned about food security and actively recruits scientists in the field. While the Singaporean alt protein market provides considerable opportunities, some companies are opting to make their success global.
Among the most notable is plant-based chicken brand TiNDLE, which launched at hundreds of UK restaurants last year before rolling out at retail stores in the country this April. The brand is also available at thousands of EDEKA supermarkets in Germany. Another Singaporean brand, Growthwell Foods’ HAPPIEE! (which mostly focuses on seafood alternatives) arrived in the UK last month with products such as plant-based shrimp and calamari.
Despite the fact that Singapore is often considered a hotspot for food tech and alternative protein research, one company — Sophie’s Bionutrients — has even relocated from Singapore to the Netherlands as it continues to develop its microalgae-based dairy alternatives.
European market growth
As noted by the Straits Times, Singapore is a relatively small market, meaning that international expansion is important for companies wanting to scale up. However, it is clear why many are choosing Europe, as demand remains high in the region despite economic challenges. Earlier this year, a Mintel report found that the retail value of the German alt meat market had risen by 38% following the pandemic, with a further 66% growth expected in the coming years.
Furthermore, 41% of German consumers claim to only eat meat occasionally, while a further 6% are vegetarian or vegan. In the Netherlands, meat sales have declined for nine consecutive quarters, falling by 13% since 2019. Meanwhile, the UK market for plant-based food is growing by 9.58%, with 40% of consumers saying they want alternatives to meat and dairy.
Many European brands are seeing huge success in their home region, with Spain’s Heura almost doubling its turnover last year and launching into thousands of new points of sale. In the UK, allplants was the second-most purchased brand in the frozen ready meal category at online supermarket Ocado last year, outperforming conventional brands such as Heinz. By expanding into Europe, Singaporean companies could gain a share of this success.
“It’s great to see plant-based meat become so strongly established in many people’s diets across Europe. Companies now need to capitalize on this interest and invest in developing products that can truly compete with conventional meat on taste and price to provide the sustainable options Europeans want,” said Carlotte Lucas, corporate engagement manager at GFI Europe.