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Plant-based food on the rise in Asia Pacific

The month of November is dedicated to putting the spotlight on vegan choices with #WorldVeganMonth

Veganism has been around for centuries but has become popular in the past few decades with modernisation. It is a philosophy and promotes animal-free alternatives. It is now regarded as a lifestyle and part of individual’s contribution to a more sustainable environment. The most common way to embrace veganism is to develop a vegan diet.


Many studies link vegan diets to health benefits and prevention of some illnesses. With the change in environment, lifestyle and greater access to information through technology, consumers are paying more attention to the food and its source when they make their choices in what they are eating. In the pursuit of going vegan, consumers learn more about nutrition and improvement in their diets.


Safe and healthy food alternatives
According to Innova Market Insights*, it is evident that this rising trend has significantly grown over the years with more product launches in the market. Plant-based meat producers see sales soar as consumers sought after safe and healthy food alternatives. The plant-based meat market is already well established in the United States and Europe hence many big producers are shifting their focus to Asia Pacific. Some target the retail market with ready-to-cook recipes while others open production facilities to ramp up their regional presence.
China and Singapore have recently seen more plant-based food producers investing more in their countries in a bid to expand their coverage and tap into the growing business potential of the Asia Pacific markets. These countries are the test grounds for new product launches as they have higher acceptability to new innovations. Many food establishments and global fast food chains have also partnered with these producers to add plant-based products into their menu.
Vegan burger
Achieve long term success as a producer

There are still challenges that these producers will have to overcome to be successful in the long term.


When selecting plant-based food, consumers prefer clean label that are easy to understand. The aim is to achieve ingredients simplicity. Representing a diverse portfolio of food ingredients from leading suppliers, IMCD is able to work closely with its customer’s R&D team and provide recommendations in the formulations of plant-based prototypes. Through the collaboration, customers can develop outstanding textures, compatible with their process and matching consumers expectations on firmness and juiciness. As taste and visual attractiveness remain the utmost criteria of choice, IMCD keeps on developing its offer in APAC on flavours, seasonings and colours.

Another major challenge is getting consumers enjoy plant-based food. More consumers are either incorporating vegan options into their diet or are becoming a flexitarian – people who have primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eat meat or fish. At first bite, the texture and taste are comparable to meat but gradually the aroma of the actual ingredients will surface which most consumers have some getting used to. Innova Market Insights ranked “Tapping into Texture” as the fifth top trend in 2020 as consumers appreciate a better sensory experience for a greater enjoyment of food and beverage. 

In order to satisfy current and future consumer demands, the need for producing high quality plant-based food options will create long term business opportunities. This is where our network of food kitchens in Asia Pacific comes in. Our food technologists help food producers on a daily basis to create and get their products in the market, working in close collaboration with customers and suppliers on plant-based products that taste great and people want to buy.

“As flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets hit the mainstream, there is an increasing demand for great-tasting products that are aligned with consumer lifestyles.’ remarks Emmanuel Colette, IMCD Regional Business Group Director Food & Nutrition APAC. ‘Plant-based ingredients are powering innovation in the food & nutrition industry, yet replacing staples like egg or sugar in a formulation is rarely straightforward. We recently shared our insights into emerging trends in our Trends commentary titled “Tomorrow’s Menu”. It focuses trends that are defining the food & nutrition landscape. From healthy and convenient on-the-go products to plant-based and sustainable living we are here to help our partners to stay ahead of the curve by supporting them with formulation know-how and concept proposals backed by 25 years of expertise, consumer insight and industry-leading technical capabilities, local application labs and a pilot plant infrastructure.”. 


With plant-based cooking on trend in Asia-Pacific, it is evident that consumers want and expect the best. One could even say that veganism is not a trend but simply a lifestyle and a sustainable way of expressing one’s attitude towards a healthy life. 


Download the Food & Nutrition Trend Commentary to learn more.