A plant-based meat dish.

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PH exporters urged to become manufacturers of plant-based products

The global demand for plant-based products is set to reach USD 74.2B by 2027, according to the market research firm Mintel. Hence, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) encouraged exporters to ride this trend by becoming manufacturers of plant-based food.

“Promoting Philippine-made plant-based products requires a whole-of-government approach,” said DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman. “The DTI will work with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to maintain an adequate supply, while also working with our foreign trade posts to secure buyers of our products.” 

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 for vegans and vegetarians. 

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 USD 30B by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9%.

According to Mintel, 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 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 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 plant-based diets. Century Pacific Food Incorporated (CNPF), the makers 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 in 80 countries, including China and the United States. 

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 found that Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Region, and Northern Mindanao are the regions where most of these are produced.   

Existing and aspiring exporters can email the DTI-EMB at exports@dti.gov.ph to get assistance or information in exporting plant-based and other products. ♦

Date of release: 31 May 2021