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DTI urges exporters to sink their teeth into plant-based foods

  • The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau is encouraging exporters to ride the trend and manufacture plant-based food products, for which global demand is seen to reach US$74.2 billion by 2027
  • In the Asia Pacific, the market is expected to be around $30 billion by 2027 with an compound annual growth rate of 18.9%
  • The Philippines has abundant supplies of agri-products such as bananas, broccoli, cassava, cauliflower, coconut, mango, mung bean, mushroom, peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potato
  • DTI will work with the Department of Agriculture to maintain adequate supply and with foreign trade posts to secure buyers for the products

The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) is encouraging exporters to ride the trend and manufacture plant-based food products, for which global demand is seen to reach US$74.2 billion by 2027.

“Promoting Philippine-made plant-based products requires a whole-of-government approach,” Trade undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman said in a statement.

“The DTI will work with the Department of Agriculture to maintain an adequate supply, while also working with our foreign trade posts to secure buyers of our products,” Macatoman added.

The demand for plant-based products is rising around the world, not just in Europe and North America. In the Asia Pacific (APAC), the market is expected to be around $30 billion by 2027 and to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.9%, according to London-based market research firm Mintel.

Mintel said the APAC market growth is due to increasing disposable income, technological innovation in food and beverages, and supportive government policies especially in India, Japan, and China.

Plant-based food consists of ingredients that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, or legumes. Plant-based meat, in particular, is a popular alternative to animal meat among vegans and vegetarians.

DTI said the Philippines has abundant supplies of agri products such as bananas, broccoli, cassava, cauliflower, coconut, mango, mung bean, mushroom, peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potato.

The DTI-EMB also found that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Region, and Northern Mindanao are the regions where most of these agri products are produced.

Moreover, DTI noted that plant-based meat manufacturers are partnering with convenience stores to carry their products. For instance, Hong Kong-based producers Right Treat (maker of Omnipork) and South Korea’s Zikooin (maker of Unlimeat) started partnering with convenience stores to use plant-based meat in meals. ​

FamilyMart Taiwan announced the launch of Omnipork instant meal cups in early 2020. The store chain had previously launched plant-based tomato spaghetti and plant-based cheeseburgers. In South Korea, 7-Eleven debuted plant-based burgers, dumplings, and Korean sushi rolls in 2020. The dumplings contain Zikooin’s Unlimeat.​

In the Philippines, more people are becoming vegans due to the growing awareness of the benefits of plant-based diets. Century Pacific Food Inc. (CNPF), the maker of Century Tuna, launched its plant-based meat product UnMEAT in February this year.

The company partnered with Shakey’s Pizza to use UnMEAT in the restaurant’s The Good Burger and is reportedly partnering with more restaurants to carry the product. CNPF also started exporting UnMEAT to 80 countries, including China and the United States.

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