Shelf Sweep - Next-Gen Meats #4
The products and trends shaping store shelves in Japan and Indonesia.
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Happy Tuesday Market Shakers. Today’s post is all about the retail landscape for alternative meat in Japan. We also spoke to local expert Tassa Agustriana to give you insights into Indonesia as we begin exploring the wider APAC market. We’ll introduce the products that are available and the trends shaping the shelves. Let’s get sweeping.
In this week’s post:
Plant-based meats at retail in Indonesia
The state of the alt-meat landscape in Japan and trends in 2023
Shelf sweep of products we found in Japan
Plant-Based Meats at Retail in Indonesia
To plug you into the plant-based retail space in other markets, today we’re bringing you insights from Indonesia. We spoke to Tassa Agustriana, GourmetPro consultant and Founder of THRIVE Food Consulting who is an expert in the organic, whole food industry based in Bali.
The plant-based scene is nascent in Indonesia. Compared to Japan, fewer plant-based meat options are available at retail. A small handful of supermarkets in larger cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar (capital city of Bali province), Surabaya stock a limited number of plant-based meat products.
Indonesia is A High Potential But Challenging Market for PBM
While it’s early days, Indonesia is a promising market. Indonesia is the world’s sixth-biggest emerging market by GDP. It has grown faster than any other $1trn-plus economy in the last decade (except for China and India). What’s more, this growth looks set to continue over the next decade, which means tens of millions of the world's fourth-largest population will become “middle-class”.
With this comes a burgeoning appetite for meat, which is associated with increased social status in Indonesia. Data from Statista shows that Beef consumption is steadily rising as middle-class consumers invest in luxury steak dinners. At the moment, the idea of instead choosing an equally expensive plant-based burger is almost impossible to swallow for most Indonesians.
There are other reasons why Indonesia is a challenging market for alternative meat. The biggest is the traditional diet. Whole foods are cheap and plentiful in Indonesia and its people are accustomed to eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, and plant-based proteins like tempeh. Given this, your average consumer cannot understand the logic behind taking plants, processing them to look like meat, and selling them at an even higher price point.
According to Tassa, for most consumers in Indonesia, environmental concerns don’t factor in when making a purchase. They are price-conscious, however. As most plant-based meat products in Indonesia cost more than regular meat, consumers aren’t even registering the former as a choice.
The Retails Landscape for PBM in Indonesia
Though for most consumers, there isn’t a choice. The retail landscape in Indonesia is still developing. Inside and outside of big cities, many consumers continue to pick up groceries at wet markets, where there is no shelf space for PBM.
In terms of what’s available in supermarkets, Tassa tells us that PBM is mainly the domain of smaller local chains. Generally, it is the ones located near an expat neighborhoods such as Pepito and Tiara Gatzu. There are also small specialty stores in cities with higher religious followings of Buddhism and Hinduism.
At retail then, the consumer base is limited. Expats who are familiar with the PBM trend, the very wealthy, and devotees of certain religions purchase plant-based meat. In short, your average Indonesian consumer is not yet seeking or seeing PBM.
PBM is actually easier to find more via infamous local e-commerce platforms such as Tokopedia, Bli-Bli, and Shopee.
PBM Innovation Takes Root in Indonesia
Tassa notes that there are signs of potential for the PBM market in Indonesia. Local brands, notably Green Rebel, Indonesia’s leading PBM maker, offer competitively priced products that are flavored for local tastes. The company sprung out of Burgreens, an Indonesian plant-based restaurant chain, during COVID-19 lockdowns. It began selling its dine-in menu as frozen packs to cook at home under the Green Rebel brand. Green Rebel products are now available in over 1000 outlets in Indonesia.
Other rising PBM players include Meatless Kingdom which offers ready-to-eat PBM such as Indonesian jerky and rendang via their online store and retail. OFF Meat, a local company that makes plant-based nuggets, burgers, and kebabs, is expanding by collaborating with food service.
3 Keys to Successful Growth of Plant-Based Meat in Indonesia
With plant-based innovation taking root in Indonesia, Tassa explains there are three things to keep in mind to grow the PBM category in Indonesia.
Firstly, consumers in Indonesia are price sensitive. Imported products like Beyond Meat are too expensive. So startups like Green Rebel that provide products between $3 - $6 are more likely to appeal to local consumers.
Next, understanding local tastes is essential. That means companies should think about offering products that differ from raw meat products. A plant-based rendang curry, for example, is much more likely to appeal to the mass market consumer.
Aside from price, the struggle for plant-based meat companies in Indonesia right now is marketing. Traditional messaging around health, and minimally processed foods are already entrenched in Indonesia. But the local diet already first this to a T. When plant-based meats use the same messaging, consumers see something is off. This means that plant-based meat companies need to find a different strategy to appeal to consumers.
Looking to ride the whole, organic, and PB food waves in APAC?
The market for whole, organic, and PB foods is growing in APAC. If you’re hungry to explore opportunities in the region, your journey starts by understanding the regional differences, from cultural to regulatory. GourmetPro has local experts like Tassa who can guide you toward successful cross-border expansion in this diverse, thriving market. Contact us today and let’s begin exploring how you can unlock opportunities in APAC.
Alt-Meat Trends at Retail in Japan
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