MALAYSIA – World’s largest food company Nestlé has inaugurated a new production site for plant-based burgers, schnitzels, mince, and more in Shah Alam, Malaysia in an effort to support the current wave of alternative protein foods that is currently happening in Asia.

According to Nestlé, the new facility has the capacity to produce 8,000 tons of plant-based food a year and will supply both foodservice and retail with the new Harvest Gourmet brand.

Plant-based diet is now in vogue in Asia just like in many other parts of the world as more and more people prefer it for a healthier lifestyle with less impact on the planet.

In a recent survey by GlobalData, over 40% of respondents in countries across the Asia and Oceania region said they were shifting towards more plant-based food. E

11% percent are now opting for a purely vegetarian or vegan diet, and a third are cutting down on their meat consumption by going ‘flexitarian’, centering their diets on plant-based foods without eliminating meat entirely.

Nestlé says it is looking to help lead the ‘quiet food revolution’ happening in Asia, the new processing facility is just one step to getting there.

Another step is giving people familiar flavors and dishes which are really important in get more people to try meat alternatives.

On this front, Nestlé is making sure local products are designed for the Asian taste and local cuisine applications such as dumplings, stir fry, braising, katsudon, and more.

In retail, first prepared dishes in China include plant-based versions of local classics like Gong Bao Chicken and Braised Meatballs.

“We’re really going ‘beyond the bun’ to capture local tastes and convince people to try plant-based options. We believe that the more people embrace plant-based food, the better for them and the planet. That’s why we are at the forefront of this shift and investing for the future,” said Chris Johnson, Nestlé CEO for Asia, Oceania and Africa.

Nestlé’s Harvest Gourmet has already inked deals to supply global and regional restaurant chains including Element Fresh in China, KyoChon in Malaysia and Carl’s Jr in Singapore.

The plant-based brand will also supply growing demand in retail, starting in China with Tmall and Hema, according to a statement by the Swiss food giant.

Nestlé has invested strongly in Asia to support the growing interest in plant-based proteins. That includes the production facilities in Tianjin, China and Shah Alam, Malaysia, with the latter certified halal.

Globally, Nestlé has around 300 R&D scientists, engineers, and product developers dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products.

To adapt the products to Asian consumer needs, the company leverages its R&D centers in Singapore, Beijing, China, as well as Manesar, India.

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