Business & News

The Southeast Asia Vegan Market

Jun 16, 2023

The Southeast Asia Vegan Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased consumers’ health consciousness globally, which has also greatly benefited the vegan market. The market potential for vegan food is sizable. From 2016 to 2020, Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people, saw a 440% increase in vegan and vegetarian plant-based product launches, according to a new report by Forum for the Future, an international sustainability non-profit organisation.

According to a joint report titled ‘The Asia Food Challenge 2021’ by PwC, Rabobank, and Temasek, 43% of Indonesian respondents said they were likely to become vegan or vegetarian within a year, higher than the 37% of Thai respondents or Malaysia’s 20%. More plant-based food and drink have also become easier to find in the past year on two of the country’s biggest food-delivery services, GoFood and GrabFood.

The Asia Food Challenge report estimated that consumer-driven food spend in Southeast Asia will rise by US$500 billion in 2030, with compound annual growth rate projected at 4.7% from 2019. In Indonesia, where poultry is more widely consumed than beef, the poultry market size is worth some US$30 billion, while the seafood market is about US$7 billion in size. Thus, investors believe that high returns await those who are ready to disrupt the industries today. 

Plant-based alternatives such as soy-based mock meat, tofu, and tempeh have already been around for a long time in the local cuisine. It is believed that the familiarity with plant-based meat substitutes will accelerate the industry’s adoption and development in Southeast Asia much quicker than in many other regions around the world.

Demand has also increased in developed countries such as the United States. According to the Plant Based Food Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI), sales of plant-based food in the US rose 27% to US$7 billion last year, more than double the growth rate in 2019.