Asia Pacific Update: November 5
In today’s edition, we examine food production trends and the increased interest in urban farming. Additionally, the growing appetite for plant-based meat alternatives has seen the rise of local production facilities across the region.
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Recovery Spotlight: Food Production
Rise of urban farming
With Covid, food production trends have altered; with urban farming growing in popularity as countries seek to build their supply chain resilience and food security.
As an increasing number of people stay home, urban farming has grown popular in Indonesia. According to an animal biotechnology researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Science, COVID-19 has brought about a realisation that urban dwellers must guard their food security. In Malaysia, conglomerates such as Sunway Group have developed a 50,000 sq ft urban farming, food solutions and agritech innovation hub. In Singapore, where less than 1% of the country’s land is dedicated to agriculture, the emergence of urban farming presents a solution to reducing the country’s reliance on imports. By encouraging urban farming, Singapore is aligning with its vision of locally sourcing 30% of its food by 2030.
Home to Asia’s largest rooftop farm, Thailand’s Thammasat University has developed an ecosystem that combines the principles of organic farming, a technique of rice terraces and strategies of modern green roofs to encourage university students to develop an interest in food production.
South Korean startup Farm8 has built five underground farms next to metro stations in Seoul and recently announced its goal to list on the local stock exchange by 2022. The firm has seen robust growth due to its eco-friendly agricultural cultivation and processing technologies. The Seoul city government also committed to investing ₩251.4bn (US$216.1m) until 2024 to expand the area available for urban farming and develop the population’s farming skills.
Growing popularity of plant-based meat alternatives
As consumers have grown increasingly health and environmentally conscious due to COVID-19’s initial outbreak at a wildlife market, the demand for plant-based meat substitutes are increasing to quell the appetite for meat. Supermarkets in Hong Kong and Singapore have begun selling Impossible Beef, the first markets outside the US to have the vegan ‘meat’ available in store.
To feed the region’s growing demand for alternative proteins, plant-based egg producer Eat Just have announced that they will be building a plant protein production facility in Singapore to serve the Asian market. Eat Just makes a mung bean-based egg substitute that comes in bottles and looks like beaten fresh eggs, replicating the experience of eating traditional meat. Similarly, Australia’s v2foods have developed a ‘version two’ of meat using proteins extracted from legumes and has recently received US$80 million in series B funding to spur the brand’s expansion into Singapore, Thailand and China.
Set up in June, Japanese plant-based meat substitute Next Meats is tapping the country’s growing plant-based food trend with its yakiniku (grilled meat) and gyudon (beef bowl) products. While the market is still nascent, there are several players such as DAIZ which have developed a new form of soybean processing technology that can mimic multiple types of conventional meats.
South Korean meat company Zikooin developed Unlimeat, an alternative beef product resembling dishes at Korean BBQ eateries. Reportedly, each 113g serving of Unlimeat products contains 25.1g protein, double the amount present in traditional beef and 5g more than the equivalent Beyond Meat or Impossible patty.
“New food safety threats, like those posed by COVID-19, are constantly emerging through a combination of factors including global warming, increased globalisation of trade, as well as changes in agriculture practices and food production,” said David Crean, Mars Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Corporate R&D.
Media analysis of stories covering Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam from 5 October to 5 November 2020.
This briefing was prepared by the Weber Shandwick Insight and Intelligence team in Singapore. If you feel a specialised briefing and analysis bulletin could benefit your team, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Work of COVID-19: Royal Society of Chemistry –
TikTok to the future
Chemistry can change the world, but young people don’t know that. Research showed that fewer young people were considering a career in science as Gen Z thought chemistry was dry, boring and came with strict orders to wear a white coat and live in a lab
Weber Shandwick was brought on to help the Royal Society of Chemistry in Scotland smash these misconceptions by taking chemistry to TikTok and partnering with some of the platform’s most exciting influencers, creating fun content that shows how chemistry enables so much of life, from cosmetics and sport to food and clothing – and even tackling climate change.
The RSC’s new channel launched in October 2020, making the RSC the first chemical society in the world to join the platform, becoming an education partner for TikTok’s #LearnonTikTok campaign. With only a couple of weeks under its belt, the channel has already clocked up more than 200k views and 5,000 likes.
About COVID-19 Recovery Report:
- The content of this news bulletin is a summary of publicly available news articles on events and developments related to COVID-19
- The views and opinions reflected by these headlines do not necessarily represent those of Weber Shandwick.