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Asia’s alternative proteins boom fuels export opportunities Down Under

Asia’s growing demand for alternative proteins has presented new export opportunities for Australian and New Zealand manufacturers for the market, according to research from the independent alt-protein think tank, Food Frontier.

Together with Mintel and New Zealand food and fibre think tank Te Puna Whakaarouni, the group assessed 11 countries across Asia and ranked them for their market suitability based on size, innovation, entry and operations, and consumer intelligence.

The top five countries with the greatest potential, listed in order of opportunity, were China, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan. The findings include primary research from 5000 consumers across these markets.

According to the report, China is the most favourable prospect in Asia, where the meat substitutes market is expected to grow annually by 20 per cent.

Dr Simon Eassom, executive director of Food Frontier, said Australia and New Zealand have long traded with Asia, and as close neighbours, makes them reliable trading partners for safe and quality products.

“With an expanding alternative proteins market in Asia, Australia and New Zealand have the potential to build a major new food export industry that complements our existing ones,” said Dr Eassom.

He added that health, environmental, and food security are behind the alt-protein boom, and with population growth and rising incomes across Asia, predicts it will drive a 78 per cent increase in meat and food consumption by 2050. 

According to Statista, the Asian market for alt-meat is estimated to be worth $6.4 billion, with expected annual growth of 33.27 per cent, potentially hitting $20.3 billion in four years. 

Dr Eassom added that consumer interest in healthy and environmentally sustainable protein options is increasing, leading to a flexitarian diet – a less strict swapping of conventional animal meat for plant-based alternatives.

“Flexitarians are driving demand for alternative proteins in Australia – our latest research shows this is also the case in Asia,” he concluded.

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