Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the US, says it plans to launch plant-based products in Asia Pacific, including Australia.
A range of three products will go on sale in Malaysia imminently under the First Pride brand – frozen Bites, Nuggets and Strips made with regionally sourced ingredients including bamboo fibre, soy protein and wheat protein. They will be halal certified.
Tyson Foods said in a statement it would expand the range into other selected markets across the Apac region through retailers and online during the coming months.
This is the first time the company has introduced plant-based products in Asia-Pacific. The company will go head to head against Impossible Foods, Nestle and Beyond Meat, along with Omni-branded products from Hong Kong-based plant-based startup Green Monday.
Demand for plant-based foods is surging across Asia Pacific, with manufacturers seeing a leap in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Data from Euromonitor cited by Tyson Foods predicts alternative proteins could account for 11 per cent of the global protein market by 2035. APAC retail sales of meat substitutes reached US$16.3 billion last year and are expected to exceed $20 billion by 2025.
Tan Sun, president at Tyson Foods APAC, said the company was targeting consumers embracing flexitarian diets.
“Our plant-based launch will complement our existing assets across Thailand, Malaysia and Australia where we offer a range of products from poultry to beef.”
He said the Asian market is a natural fit for this category with traditional plant-based products like tofu already entrenched in the culture. “The key to meeting consumer preferences with new plant-based protein is through innovation and making locally relevant products that taste great, which is our expertise,” he said.
“Our new product expansion delivers on taste and quality, giving consumers a modern take on familiar tastes, local flavors and texture.”
Tyson Foods says the flavours of products and package sizes will vary from country to country, but would be “priced competitively”. The initial range sold in Malaysia will be sold in 420g bags priced at RM19.90 (US$4.81). They will be launched initially in retail stores, but a foodservice range will be developed later in the year.
David Ervin, VP of alternative protein at Tyson Foods said the company’s global culinary network and scalability positions it well to replicate the success it has had in the US with plant-based foods in Asia Pacific.