WHILE Singapore plans to become 30% self-sufficient in food production by 2030, lack of sufficient land mass for animal farms makes it a prime market for meat alternatives. With its pro-innovation approach, the city-state is fast emerging a major global hub for animal meat alternatives. Health has been identified as the key factor for the ongoing consumer transition to meat and dairy substitutes in Singapore. The country’s meat substitutes market is expected to increase from S$4.3m (US$3.1m) in 2020 to S$5.9m (US$4.5m) in 2025, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
According to GlobalData’s Q2 2021 consumer survey, health, safety, and sustainability are the three main factors motivating the Singaporeans to switch to plant-based meat and dairy alternatives*. Out of these three, health is the main factor, which 67% of survey respondents attribute as the main motivation for having plant-based alternatives*.
Hrishikesh Dhatrak, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With consumers intensifying their focus on their personal health and wellness to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the influence of health factors on the product choices of consumers continues unabated. Protein-rich diets have evolved from a health fad into a health trend in recent years. As consumers take more meat off their plate for health or lifestyle purposes, plant-based proteins are rising up to fill the void.”
Moreover, during COVID-19, global trade disruptions and border closures cut off the supply of many food products to Singapore. Subsequently, the government initiated a ‘30 by 30’ plan to reduce the country’s reliance on food imports, by producing up to 30% of the national nutritional requirements locally by the year 2030.
As part of this effort, the government granted approval for commercial sales of ‘lab grown’ meat attracting the interest of international heavyweights in the alternative meat sector. For example, Shandi Global, a manufacturer of plant-based chicken protein, aims to create flavorful and tender products that mimic the real meat. Recently, the company secured US$750,000 in a seed-funding round to commercialize its products. Through collaboration with Innovate 360 and Enterprise Singapore, the company is establishing a manufacturing facility with a production facility of 150 metric tons per month.
Food tech startup Next Gen also launched a plant-based chicken thigh in Singapore in 2021 under the brand name TiNDLE. The product launch follows a US$10m seed funding that Next Gen raised from globally renowned investment firms such as Temasek, NX FOOD, Blue Horizon, K3 Ventures and FEBE Ventures.
Mr. Dhatrak concludes: “Innovation is playing a crucial role in attracting and retaining consumers in the plant-based meats space. New product development is no longer limited to burger patties or sausages, and instead is expanding to a diverse array of formats that can appeal to a wider audience. Ultimately, taste and texture akin to animal meat is essential to motivate consumers across all cross sections of society to fully integrate meat analogues into their diets. Hence, manufacturers can focus on replicating the sensory aspects of animal meat in formats suitable for Singaporean cuisine, particularly popular and traditional dishes.”
* Data taken from GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey – Singapore (March 2021) with 506 respondents
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