VP at Next Gen Foods Group
- Penetration growth drivers and cross-region consumer traction
- Go-to-market strategy and product innovation
- Medium-term sector growth characteristics and key challenges
What has been the general trajectory for plant-based and alternative meat adoption in Southeast Asia, given your experience in the sector and the numerous changes that have impacted this market over the past couple of years? How do you think adoption has generally trended?
You referenced the importance of repurchase behaviour in the plant-based and alternative meat category. Could you expand on this? Obviously, repurchase rates give you a sense for how well the product is going to sell and it generally drives SKU churns and such, but what’s the difficulty in driving repurchase?
A lot of products are being launched to the market and there’s a lot of activity, from OmniPork to Impossible in APAC generally. Have you seen any specific patterns emerge in terms of adoption, repurchase rates or general acceptability or accessibility of plant-based and alternative meat products in the first place?
My understanding is QSR is a major way of driving velocity and scale for plant-based meats, if you’re able to drive penetration of outlets in a larger QSR. Has the experience of selling through QSRs been as expected over the past 12 months, or has their behaviour changed as it relates to plant-based meats?
Could you discuss the planning cycle and menu innovation? How does menu innovation from a QSR operating in Southeast Asia drive the penetration of plant-based meats? Is there a ceiling where they’ll only have a certain number of items which will be plant-based meats vs the rest, and that means there’s an effective cap or ceiling on the plant-based meats as a percentage of sales for these QSRs?
You said Indonesia is a more difficult to penetrate. Why is this the case? Which Southeast Asian markets have been more difficult, aside from the mature ones such as Singapore? Have there been any more local markets where there’s been more progress vs less?
Is there a working thesis that you need to have for there to be faster-paced adoption, perhaps a spread of 10% in price between animal and plant-based meats? Is there an inflection point that there’s a working thesis around?
You said the price gap was narrowing faster than expected, partly as a result of inflation. I would have thought that the supply chain is a lot more concentrated for plant-based and alternative meat brands for the different things that go into plant-based meats, be it soy or TVP [textured vegetable protein]. To clarify, you’re not seeing inflationary pressures being as high for plant-based vs animal-based meats?
If we think about the consumer acceptance of certain taste profiles in Indonesia vs Malaysia vs Vietnam, are there any important regional characteristics from that point of view?
You mentioned OmniPork and a number of new entrants coming into the space. Fundraising activity and the funding environment have tightened quite a lot. How might this change, thinking about go-to-market strategies, branding initiatives and trade incentives? What’s changed in the sector as a result of fundraising or funding becoming tighter, if anything, or are there new entrants that are exiting already?
Could you comment on routes to market and client books? Is it generally easy to break into retailers and QSRs? There have been numerous different players who have trodden this path, so is there less value there, or is this pretty defensible?
What does efficient growth look like? What does that mean?
In terms of first-mover advantages, you mentioned the planning cycle or that the time to get into specific QSR accounts is around 1-2 years. What do first-mover advantages look like in this space?
I understand foodservice is a key channel for brand building – you tie up with chefs and that’s how you drive hopefully somewhat organic marketing. Is the view that foodservice will also structurally be a smaller channel for plant-based meat players over the medium-to-long term, and that the volume and profitability come from QSR or retail?
Are the plant-based meat SKUs that are being placed in supermarkets and hypermarkets in Southeast Asia new SKUs or are they replacing some other type, such as traditional animal-meat SKUs? What’s happening to shelf space and how are retailers thinking about dedicating shelf space to plant-based meats?
Do you think the number of plant-based SKUs stays the same in the current environment, where there are a lot of macro pressures? Might there be a temporary reduction in these SKUs in Southeast Asian regions such as Singapore and Hong Kong as a result of reduced consumption?
Beyond is signalling a degree of discounting in some of its markets internationally, such as Europe and the US. We talked about how the gap is narrowing, but nonetheless, is there pricing pressure in any of the channels, be it foodservice, QSR or retail?
Are there any trends around R&D? You mentioned there’s so much variability in terms of seasoning, coating, textures and what works in different markets. In terms of the products, you said the key traditional meats are covered, but are there any trends around the new products being launched, or innovation generally? Is there a direction in which you see a lot of players going?
What are some of the bigger plant-based and alternative meat players doing in Southeast Asia? I’m thinking about Impossible and Monde Nissin, who has the Quorn brand, even though it’s more in the UK and Philippines. Unilever also has its own plant-based meat SKUs.
You mentioned adoption is lower from local QSRs in Southeast Asia, but is adoption faster or slower in any specific category for the local QSRs who are adopting, such as chicken vs burgers vs pizza?
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