Demand for plant-based protein foods is surging in Asia, suppliers say. They think it’s because of the possible links between wild animal meat and the new coronavirus. Especially in China, they see a rise.
Plant-based alternatives are still relatively small compared to Asia’s giant meat supply chain, but people are starting to rethink their eating habits.
“Because of this outbreak, people have started paying more attention to their diet and health, as they are now more afraid of getting sick,” says Hong Kong-based fitness trainer Mike Lee.
“One year ago, when we were sick, no matter whether it was cold, flu or fever, we still went out with friends and ate hotpot together with no problem at all. But now, if you have a mild sore throat, when you cough a bit, people next to you will jump 10 meters away from you,” he continues.
Market research company Euromonitor International predicted last year that China’s plant-based market would be worth nearly $12 billion by 2023, up from just under $10 billion in 2018.
Those numbers have already attracted interest from leading U.S. players, like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Green Monday, a platform for a plant-based lifestyle, supplies Beyond Meat products across the region.
David Yeung, the founder of Green Monday, said: “As people have time to read more and research more about pandemics, they finally realize that over 75% of infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to human beings. Coronavirus is not the first, and sadly, it also won’t be the last unless we overhaul our food system.”