Asia leading innovation in plant based meat

A report by consulting firm Roots Analysis has found that intellectual property (IP) for the plant based meat...
September 27, 2022 Global news
Asia leading innovation in plant based meat
Green Rebel (Indonesia) co-founders Max Mandias and Helga Angelina-Tjahjadi

A report by consulting firm Roots Analysis has found that intellectual property (IP) for the plant based meat sector – a useful metric to identify the pace of innovation – has tripled over the last decade. IP has been increasing each year in that time, with Asia leading the way. The report found that over 50 percent of IP documents came from companies based in Asia, while companies based in Europe and North America were responsible for about 18 percent of documents each.

The report tracked key phrases in the IP documents to demonstrate the focus of the innovation, noting the most frequently referenced categories are production methods, proteins, preparations, and products.

The pace of innovation in the alternative proteins sector, which includes the plant based meat sector, has accelerated in recent decades. Amidst a backdrop of worsening climate events and a rising global population, this acceleration suggests food producers are increasingly looking to meet consumer demand for foods with a smaller environmental impact by offering familiar centre-of-plate-proteins in plant based formats. 

The Roots Analysis report addresses the context of changing requirements in the global protein market, saying, “In 2020, close to 340 million tonnes of meat was estimated to be produced worldwide. Compared to the early 1960s (~70 million tonnes), this represents almost a 500 percent increase. Considering the global population grew by 150 percent in the same time period, it is evident that meat consumption has increased at a rate that cannot be sustainable.”

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the animal agriculture industry contributes around 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, uses almost one third of all available fresh water, and is a leading contributor to deforestation. The Roots Analysis report positions meat alternatives, as a means of mitigating further climate impacts, saying: “vegetarian meats and plant-based products that resemble meat[…] present a viable solution,” and highlights the range of existing technologies to develop such products.

Countries across Asia currently represent a large proportion of global animal meat consumption due to increasingly prosperous and growing populations This means Asia’s position as the majority IP holder for the growing plant based meat industry represents a major economic and sustainability opportunity if consumer dietary patterns shift to increasingly include plant based meat products, as more options become available.

A growing number of plant based meat companies are being launched across Asia, including industry leaders Green Rebel from Indonesia, Tindle from Singapore and Next Meats in Japan. Many companies are catering to the local tastes in order to win over consumers who may not be as inclined towards the original products seen in Western markets such as plant based meat burgers, sausages and nuggets. Singapore is currently the only country in the world that has approved the sale of cultivated meat, bioidentical to conventional animal meat but made with cellular agriculture technologies, another sign that Asia is leading the world when it comes to innovation in protein alternatives.

READ MORE: How Asia Came to Dominate Plant-Based Meat Industry IP [Green Queen]

Plant-based Meats: Intellectual Property Landscape [Roots Analysis]

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