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Thai meat plant turns to online sales

Like many other businesses in the region, backend meat suppliers have also now forced to adapt to social media sales thanks to Covid-19.

3 April 2020 – Fastfood All, a cutting plant in Bangkok, is turning to online sales to compensate for losses as restaurants, its major customers, were ordered to close to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “Since the restaurant closure took effect last week, all customized cuts prepared for our customers were left unsold. At first, we sold them at discount via Facebook Live for raising money to buy hand sanitisers and face masks for hospitals. But we received overwhelming response and decided to proceed with online sales,” Witthawat Prajantasen, Fastfood All’s Managing Director told Asian Agribiz.

Food producers, retailers go online to boost sales in Philippines

Philippines’ rock star burger joint Raging Bull Burgers is one of those ready for delivery burgers in Manila or Taguig City.

2 April 2020 – Philippine food producers and retailers, big and small, have turned online to help boost sales during the lockdown period. Consumers are forced to stay at home, faced with regulations that make going to supermarkets and stores difficult. Furthermore, logistical problems prevent some stores from restocking regularly. As such, more consumers are choosing to have their food or meals delivered. Available products range from rice, raw meats and vegetables to ready-to-eat complete meals.

Sri Lankan poultry companies forced to move online

2 April 2020 – The ongoing curfew in Sri Lanka forced many poultry companies to expand online sales and home deliveries for chicken. The nation has been under curfew since 20 March with only retailers allowed for meat deliveries. Poultry companies such as Pussalla Meat Producers and Maxies and Company quickly moved-on to delivery sales. Others who supply to retailers had to depend on agent networks.
Maxies and Company, Managing Director, Nipuna Perera told Asian Agribiz,“We take orders via Whatsapp as it’s convenient and so far orders are non-stop.” He noted that on average, the Whatsapp group would clock in two orders/minute.
The company has also set-up two distribution centers; one in Wennappuwa and another in Colombo to cater to the Western Province, which is the most populated and severely affected from the curfew. Logistics are complex and companies like Pussalla have taken to driving their trucks around certain areas targeting neighborhood sales to save cost.
For Maxies, home deliveries is not just about survival but a proven success. Mr Perera said they would build on the current system to continue online orders and home deliveries even if curfew is lifted. “Demand will definitely fall once the curfew lifts but the potential here is huge. People are getting used to this now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Crysbro has taken to supplying direct to retail chains and working with their agent network for sales. Marketing Manager, Amores Sellar told Asian Agribiz that they save on valuable resources by working with existing online retail networks. All major grocery chains in the country have adopted to online sales due to dropped store visits.

Delivering meals during lock down a logistical nightmare in Sri Lanka

1 April 2020 – Sri Lankans crave for more ready-to-eat (RTE) meals during the current lockdown but companies are having a hard time delivering them to customers.
Gourmet Lanka recently promoted their RTE range as the best option for families stuck at home during the lock down. “We have been inundated with requests for meals and demand has grown overnight,” said Gourmet Lanka, Managing Director, Roman Scott to Asian Agribiz.
The biggest hurdle however has been getting delivery companies to pick up the meals and deliver to customers. Food delivery companies such as Uber have shut down on the island whilst local company PickMe struggles to cope with demand.

Gourmet Lanka reaches out to the elderly stuck at home with their RTE meal range.

“We have a distribution problem. This is a big opportunity for companies which deliver only food to step up,” he said.
Gourmet Lanka like many other food companies are struggling to find delivery partners to get their product out during curfew. The most immediate solution has been to turn their franchise ‘Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’ in Colombo to a distribution center, from where customers can pick up their orders. This would be possible only during the brief windows the government grants during curfew to stock up on food. Thus far, no window has been announced for the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthara.

Food biotech firm in Singapore joins the plant-protein race

It’s about time the Asians (Singaporeans) join the race to produce plant-based proteins for Asian customers instead of profits going to non-Asian entities.

31 March 2020 – Local foodtech startup Life3 Biotech will launch Singapore’s first integrated agri-food pilot facility to produce 1,200 to 1,800 tons of a plant-based protein annually. Made of legumes, grains and mushrooms, the product is called Veego.
Supported by both Singapore Food Agency and the Singapore Land Authority, the 50,000 sqft facility located in Paya Lebar targets to produce in the next few months. Initially, the company will focus on marketing directly through a B2B model but plans are underway to extend distribution directly to consumers, as well as to horeca services.
The official launch is set to happen only at the end of 2020, while plans to start another bigger production facility are also underway. That facility is set to reach out to nearby schools, retirement homes and community service center offering community outreach to help educate people in switching to plant-based.
Founder Ricky Lin told Business Times Singapore, “Over the past few years, the alternative protein market has been growing rapidly, and global competitors have started entering the Southeast Asian market. This is the best time for us to enter the market as well. We want to reshape Singaporeans’ thinking towards sustainable food sources and create more job opportunities for locals in this emerging industry. With an actionable roadmap we have set up to achieve currently, we we can contribute positively towards Singapore’s drive towards sustainability and food security.”

Some impact of Covid-19 on the meat processing equipment sector

30 March 2020 – Marel is systematically building up spare stocks to fulfill needs across its locations while maintain accurate delivery. Its supply network is established in all markets, and its ability to respond locally is strengthening. It also continues to support customers both on-site and remotely and has made provisions to scale up its global help desk as increased remote technical support becomes necessary.

Marel’s spare stock library will help during these slow shipping times.

Provisur has ensured its technical service telephone support will continue to be available as usual. Its service technicians will be able to travel within their home countries for critical service needs.
The company is also leveraging a range of technology that will enable its technicians to remotely troubleshoot and guide customers’ maintenance staff through most service-related issues.
This includes its new Virtual Technician Program (VTech) that is being rolled out in North America and select locations and product lines globally. While this program is still in beta testing, it has decided to accelerate its launch.
After cancelling its participation in major exhibitions and seminars due to the pandemic, ProXES Asia Pacific decided to commence product demonstrations with live streaming via YouTube starting from early April.
Bühler Group meanwhile is more adventurous. In anticipation of the Interpack exhibition cancellation, it has created the first virtual Bühler Consumer Foods event where on May 11-15 its customers can join its digital booth and discover its solutions in a virtual space.

Vietnamese street food franchise targets 500 outlets this year

EM+ stalls make use of the excess space of stores of well-known brands such as Golden Gate, Otoke Chicken and Mr Bean.

27 March 2020 – A start-up branded EM + has opened its first 10 sales points in Hanoi. The brand features Vietnamese hottest street foods including Vietnamese-style sandwich (banh mi), savory sticky rice (xoi man). It aims to become the first brand to build a street food culture in Vietnam. Do Huong Ly, the founder of EM +, said this is a symbiotic model, using up the excess space at stores of well-known brands such as Golden Gate, Otoke Chicken and Mr Bean. The goal is to help increase the value and income of existing F&B stores and chains. EM + aims to develop 500 points this year, 3000 points within three years and a further 200,000 points across Southeast Asia.

Silver lining for Malaysia’s integrated pork supplier amidst Covid-19

26 March 2020 – Asian Agribiz reported earlier that restriction on movement due to Covid-19 might have an impact on African swine fever (ASF) entering Malaysia. This was mentioned in an interview with Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Associate Professor Dr Ooi Peck Toung back in February.
“The lack of people movement internationally, especially tourists might just save Malaysia from the African swine fever,” he said. He told Asian Agribiz that incidences of smuggled pork products will decrease with this development. Malaysia does not have ASF currently and the effects of Covid-19 might even help the pork industry with longer shelf life products.

Mr Liam with his operations team Elaine Loh and Chong Han Hui wants Malaysians to have access to trusted protein sources during the Covid-19 crisis.

With the movement control order keeping Malaysians at home, integrated pork farms such as Chau Yang Farming (CYF) sees a silver lining to diversify their pork products via different distribution channels. Liam Wei Hooi, Assistant Vice President of Makin Jernih Group which owns CYF as well as Tip Top processing plant and AA/An Xin meat shops said ready-to-cook (RTE) and ready-to-eat (RTC) production has increased. Also, to stock them up on e-commerce platforms such as Lazada or Shopee will help push sales.
“We not only increased production but our plan to launch new flavored marinated products are well on target. We will launch six new items to add to our current 17 range, which includes Black Pepper, Teriyaki, Hochujang and BBQ Loin Steak and also Boneless Soy Pork Knuçkle and Savory Minced Meat RTEs,” he said.
Mr Liam added that fresh pork supply from the farm is at normal production rate and no disruption in raw material or supply chain has happened. “In fact, we have been supplying to other pork shops as well to expand our customer base,” he said.

Malaysian RTE producer sees spike in online sales

With major industries such as air travel taking a hit during the Covid-19 crisis, Ezee re-channels its retort meals such as Chicken Briyani to Malaysian households.

25 March 2020 – The Malaysian government’s movement control order (MCO) got consumers stocking up on ready-to-eat meals. “There is a spike on online sales in the last few days, especially after the order came into effect on 18 March . We have scaled-up production and halted exports,” Ezee Foods Chief Operating Officer Syed Aziz told Asian Agribiz. He added that fresh supplies are ongoing without disruption with plenty of sources in hand. “As for our raw and wet materials such as poultry, seafood and other meats (sheepmeat), we have a consistent supply. Our concern is packaging materials which comes from China. We have had disruption there for the last three months due to the Covid-19 lockdown and we only have stock that might last a few more weeks,” he said. Ezee works with Shopee and Lazada as their main e-commerce partners.

Kemin’s new antimicrobial solution prolongs meat and RTE shelf life

This natural antimicrobial solution comes just in time when consumers scramble to buy food with longer shelf life.

24 March 2020 – Kemin Industries has launched a natural antimicrobial solution, BactoCEASE NV that delays the bacterial growth in meat products. It is also proven to keep total viable count of microorganisms within the regulated standard.
The natural antimicrobial replaces synthetic solutions to meet the growing consumer demand for clean-label ingredients. It can also extend shelf life of food products just as effectively as synthetic preservatives without negatively impacting the product’s texture or flavor. In addition, it can replace sodium lactate, sodium diacetate and other artificial antimicrobials in food production. Meat products tend to have a short shelf life because they are highly susceptible to deterioration in quality and contamination by foodborne microorganisms. These factors can cause biological and chemical changes in meat, leading to food safety concerns.
The solution is suitable for use in both ready-to-eat and cooked meat products, such as marinated meat, freshly cut meat and processed meat. In a study conducted by Kemin customers, the solution extended ready-to-cook meat products’ shelf life by an additional 80%. This extension in shelf life allows food manufacturers to gain cost savings in terms of food waste, resource allocation and supply chain efficiency.
According to Michelle Lim, President of Kemin Food Technologies – Asia, BactoCEASE NV highlights Kemin’s commitment to sustainably transform lives around the world. The antimicrobial shelf-life solution helps ensure food safety for people, reduces food waste for the planet and, thus, provides assurance of quality and safety to food brands and businesses.

Local cloud kitchen entrepreneurs raise Series B funds in Malaysia

23 March 0202 – Malaysia’s cloud-kitchen startup Dahmakan said it has raised USD 18 million in a Series B funding round led by Rakuten Capital. Other investors include White Star Capital, JAFCO Asia, GEC-KIP Fund, and Korean food delivery unicorn Woowa Brothers. Existing investors Partech Partners, Y Combinator and the former chief executive of Nestle Germany also participated in the round. This brings its total funding raised to upwards of USD 28 million.

Dahmakan’s co-founders Christian Edelmann, Jessica Li and Jonathan Weins represent the faces of a new generation food-related start-ups winning large trust in investors.

The fresh funds will be used to further build its in-house operating system, which manages the startup’s entire value chain, from food product development to delivery from its distribution kitchens. “By combining the entire value chain and removing the middleman, we capture the higher-quality and better operational efficiencies needed to be able to offer our customers a better-value product,” said Chief Executive Jonathan Weins, who is also a former foodpanda executive.

Vietnam’s RTE sector finds opportunities amidst Covid-19 crisis

Vietnam is keen on increasing longer-lasting food production amidst Covid-19 crisis.

20 March 2020 – Vietnamese businesses in the food processing industry are operating at full capacity to serve the increasing demand for ready to eat (RTE) products. Vissan JSC, for instance, has mobilized an additional 100 employees to increase production in its food processing factory in Ho Chi Minh. In addition to providing shopping centers and supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City, Vissan also has to prepare supplies for convenience store chains. “The processed food with longer shelf-life increased by nearly 10% compared to last year. The main reason is the psychology of people buying goods to stock due to the limitation to crowded places during the epidemic season,” said Deputy General Director Phan Van Dung.

Asian entities pumps Series F funds into Impossible Foods

With USD 1.3 billion in the pocket, Mr Lee will be smiling a long time as flexitarians in Asia begin to devour his plant-based foods.

19 March 2020 – The Singapore government-owned Temasek Holdings is one of the participants in the Series F funding round for plant-based Impossible Foods. A further USD 500 million investment led by South Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments brings the company’s worth to USD 1.3 billion. Other investors in this round included US-based Khosla Ventures and Horizons Ventures. CFO David Lee is confident of plant-based food growth amidst the negative global market effects of the Covid-19 outbreak. “We have the means to withstand short-term shocks and realize our long-term mission,” said Mr Lee. The new round will be used to invest in research, scale up manufacturing, grow the company’s retail presence and presence in international markets, and popularize its pork and sausage products.

Vietnam’s RTE sector expects an increase of 10% thanks to Covid-19

Vietnamese consumers prefer to stock-up on long-lasting food items such as dim sum, springroll and canned food instead of toilet rolls amidst the Covid-19 chaos.

18 March 2020 – Under the effects of Covid-19 epidemic, Vietnamese food processing enterprises saw the number of orders sharply increased. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Food Association (HFA), in the first two months of 2020, the production of processed food has increased by 20% on average over the same period in 2019. Processed foods that have long shelf-life such as dim sum, springroll, canned food, recorded a spike in demand and thus spurred the supply. Especially, for enterprises producing instant noodles, quantity orders for both domestic market and export increased by 50%. The HFA forecasted that the processed food sector’s growth rate will increase by 10% in 2020.

Food delivery can keep restaurants in business during Covid-2019

We can deliver without meeting you – says Swiggy.

17 March 2020 – Indian food delivery company, Swiggy has introduced a ‘no-contact’ delivery option amidst the spread of Covid-2019 in India. The company announced that customers who pay online can request for the food to be left outside their door, so they don’t have to come into contact with any of the drivers.
With Covid-2019 restricting movement and public gatherings, food delivery can become an important tool for restaurants to survive. Swiggy is also providing free medical consultations to its drivers and educating them about important hygiene regiments to keep the virus at bay.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases in India jumped to 75 March 12. India has not reported any fatalities so far.

If you sell meat, make sure you package it ‘green’ – lessons from South Asia

16 March 2020 – Increasing number of poultry companies in South Asia are looking to invest in sustainable packaging. The trend is driven by customers demanding that their food also be environmentally sustainable.
In Sri Lanka, New Anthoney’s Farm announced their latest concept ‘Haritha Hari’ (Doing Green Right), where they will convert their operations to be more environmentally sustainable.

New Anthoney’s turns farms green in new initiative to promote sustainable farming.

New Anthoney’s Farm, CEO, Neil Suraweera, told Asian Agribiz that the company was recently awarded the ‘Greenhouse gas verification statement’ from Dutch-based Control Union Certifications. The certificate recognized its initiatives in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This includes adopting solar energy, energy saving practices, reduction in paper usage, responsible waste disposal systems and introducing compostable packaging for its chicken.
“Our plastic and polythene packaging of raw chicken has been replaced by corn-based pulp packaging. This can withstand blast freezing and is compostable,” said Mr Suraweera. He added, “You can also feed it to cattle once you’re done.”
Similarly in Pakistan, P K Meat has moved into paper pulp packaging for its RTE/RTC products cutting down on all plastics used in packaging. P K Meat, Chief Executive/Executive Director, Saqib Butt told Asian Agribiz that whilst the packaging in direct contact with the food was biodegradable, customers were also given incentives to return the paper boxes the food was packed in, “We then send these to a recycling plant. So, all parts of the package are recycled or composted,” he said.
P K Meat’s investments in environmentally friendly packaging is also driven by the Pakistani government’s move to ban all single use plastics and packaging. Islamabad, the country’s capital has already implemented the ban.

Bonchon Chicken to rollout big-time in Thailand

Millennials and Gen Z are devouring South-Korean style fried chicken prompting investors such as Mint claiming a stake.

13 March 2020 – Bangkok-based Minor International (Mint) has bought 70% stake (worth USD 79 million) in the master-franchise rights holder of Bonchon chicken in Thailand. The deal sees Minor take controlling interests in Singapore’s Spoonful Pte and Spoonful Thailand, which will drive future expansion of the South Korean fried-chicken chain in Thailand.
The transaction leaves Mint as the effective operator of Bonchon chicken in Thailand and follows its USD 66 million purchase of Chicken Time last November, which has 40 outlets across the nation. Mint said it now owns long-term exclusive territorial rights and the ability to expand or sub-franchise Bonchon chicken in Thailand. It also plans to grow the store network to more than 150 restaurants throughout the country by end of 2024, representing a five-year CAGR of more than 25%.
“This investment emphasizes our strategy to enhance our portfolio offerings and further strengthen the restaurant business in Thailand,” said Minor Food CEO Paul Kenny. “With almost 10 years presence in the country, Bonchon brings a highly loyal customer base of Thai millennials and Generation Z, which we will further build on.”
The expansion strategy will focus on shopping centers and community malls, along with delivery-format stores to capture the fast-growing delivery market. With only two stores outside the nation’s capital of Bangkok currently, key cities in the regions will be targeted as well. Even with the effect of Covid-19, sales of Bonchon chicken in Thailand have proven resilient supported by strong delivery sales.

Ayam Jepang Crispy targets for 1000 outlets this year

12 March 2020 – Fried chicken snacks sold at USD 0.69-1.04 per portion are gaining popularity in big cities in Indonesia. One of the players is Ayam Jepang Crispy (AJC) that offers crispy fried chicken cuts with different flavors such as spicy, mayonnaise, teriyaki and black pepper. Founded late last year, AJC only needed three months to open 154 mini outlets in Greater Jakarta and other big cities in Java due to positive consumer response. Owner Abdulah Tarmizi said he targets to open 1000 mini outlets by end this year through a franchise system.

Indonesian seafood association wants members to scale-up seafood ready meals

Central Proteina Prima pioneered the seafood-based ready meals category in Indonesia with its whole shrimp wonton soup with noodle.

11 March 2020 – Chairman of the Indonesian Seafood Products Processing and Marketing Association, Budhi Wibowo is jealous that convenience store shelves are dominated by chicken and beef-based ready meals. “It’s a homework for us to work on,” he told Asian Agribiz. Together with encouraging its members to scale-up seafood ready meal production, the association is also helping to finish the said homework. “So far, we’ve met seasoning producers to help our members formulate quality seafood-based ready meals with the right, delicious taste. We’ve also asked packing equipment suppliers to help with packing methods and packaging options. But the most important thing we’re addressing is the price of seafood used, which must be comparable to the price of chicken,” he explained.

JBS is latest entrant in plant-based protein competition

Investment in the plant-based protein is not slowing down with the likes of JBS/Planterra entering the market.

10 March 2020 – Brazilian company JBS SA is one of the largest (by sales) meat processing company in the world. It factory processes beef, chicken, pork and by-products as well. JBS USA, through its start-up unit Planterra Foods, is now launching its own line of plant-based protein products such as alternative patties, ground meats and flavored meatballs in April.
These meat substitutes under the Ozo brand are made using a proprietary blend of pea and rice protein fermented by shiitake mushrooms. The line is designed to offer more food choices to the growing flexitarian market, retailing between USD 5.99 and 7.99/package. The line also is expected to be available to foodservice and retail clubs later this year.
The products contain up to 22 grams of protein per serving and have no cholesterol and less fat, calories and saturated fat than 80% lean ground beef. The move by JBS USA to enter the alternative protein arena follows the arrival of similar plant-based proteins from Cargill Inc, Tyson Foods Inc and Marfrig Global Foods since mid-2019.

Gourmet Lanka readies for export markets with international award recognition

Gourmet Lanka aims high to capture new markets by continuously hitting assurance goals.

9 March 2020 – The Malaysian Halal Consultation and Training Agency presented Sri Lanka-based Gourmet Lanka with an award for maintaining high standards of hygiene and Halal compliance, two years in a row.
Compliance Manager, Dilka Perera told Asian Agribiz that this year they scored very high marks for maintaining the required standards. “We also achieved ranking similar to UAE airline catering units,” she added.
Scoring another victory, Gourmet Lanka also passed the international production audit of global fast food chain Pizza Hut. With this assurance, the company expands its pizza manufacturing and dessert production capabilities.
“We can now export to anywhere in the world,” was stated on the company’s social media site. Chairman and Managing Director, Roman Scott told Asian Agribiz that he saw great potential for Sri Lanka to be an export hub for ready-to-eat food and beverages. “We have great raw materials on the island. What we need is good R&D for value addition. My goal is to eventually be able to export food from here to Western markets,” he said.

Covid-19 outbreak not a deterrent for Beyond Meat’s Asia 2020 vision

Animal-loving Beyond Meat’s Ethan Brown wants to take advantage of the pork-meat depleted animal protein market in China.

6 March 2020 – Beyond Meat’s head Ethan Brown has reaffirmed the company’s mission to expand its manufacturing capabilities to Asia, despite potential disruptions associated with the Covid-19 outbreak that has global commerce reeling. “This is just a moment in time for us. It’s an opportunity for hyper growth, so I’m looking very seriously to Asia,” he said during a business interview recently. “I made a commitment that we’re going to be producing in Asia by the end of this year. We’ll do that regardless of this health epidemic occurring right now,” he reckoned. Beyond Meat wants to open production facilities in Asia in 2020 in an effort to penetrate the market in China. The company already sells its faux-meat products in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. It sees in China an opportunity to take advantage of a market, which has been forced to open-up. This is in view of the African swine fever depleting the country’s pork supply, which more than doubled pork prices by end of 2019. China presents a golden opportunity for companies such as Beyond Meat to seize.

Virus outbreak or not, the company is edging closer to the world’s second biggest economy.

“I came out of the fuel-cell industry. If there had been a disruption to the internal combustion engine manufacturing infrastructure where 25% disappeared overnight, we’d be going bananas trying to leapfrog and put hydrogen or electric drive technology in its place,” Mr Brown outlined. “That’s our opportunity right now. We have to be active in China, regardless of what’s going on with this novel virus epidemic,” he stressed. Outside of the Asian region, Beyond Meat expects to have a new European production facility in partnership with Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat up and running by the end of March, he further added. The Netherlands plant will be the company’s first outside of the US.

Indian government asks online food platforms to keep it clean

Punjab food inspectors rein in food platforms over hygiene concerns.

5 March 2020 – Online Food supply aggregators and food supply operators are feeling the regulatory pinch in India as Punjab steps into control of hygiene standards in the supply chain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Punjab has imposed a yearlong ban on online food supply aggregators and food business operators on food with no hygiene rating. The government said the move was to prevent customers from getting bad quality food. The order is to come into effect as of April 30, 2020. Authorities complain that online food delivery platforms in India have been ignoring their recommendations to source food only from certified food operators. Last year, online platforms were asked to get their food business operators registered with the FDA and rated for hygiene. Despite two deadlines, the online platforms had shown reluctance to take any action. There are 100,000 food outlets in Punjab and of this 5,000 are registered with online food delivery companies. Online food delivery platforms have been growing steadily in India with companies such as Swiggy and Zomato – alone growing threefold in 2019. The two companies process close to 2.6 million orders/day and have raised funding for further expansions.

Go-Food and partners challenge Indonesian culinary players to step up their game

The Digitarasa team sets to give small-medium sized Indo food businesses better access to business-related resources to compete on an international level.

4 March 2020 – Digitarasa, a business accelerator program founded by Gojek’s Go-Food, as well as celebrity chef Arnold Poernomo and CEO of local coffee chain Kopi Kenangan, Edward Tirtanata, have encouraged food and beverage entrepreneurs in Medan, North Sumatra, to step up their game.
The program is aimed at developing culinary startups nationwide, offering participants a boot-camp, business matchmaking and a festival. Registration for the Digitarasa program is open on digitarasa.id from 24 Feb to 6 March. The organizers are set to select 15 start-ups, then hold a boot camp for them. By the end of the program, the selected start-ups are then slated to join a festival on 2-3 July.
Meanwhile, Digitarasa went to Medan for an offline training session for local entrepreneurs. Gojek Group Chief Food Officer Catherine Sutjahyo, together with Mr Poernomo and Mr Tirtanata were among the culinary business experts that attended and participated in the session. Rendy Ariestanto, a local culinary businessman specializing in vegan food, was among the participants.
“I want to develop my business, so I joined the Digitarasa program,” Mr Ariestanto said. The Medan session was the first offline meet-up convened by the Digitarasa program. Ms Suthjahyo said her team had recognized the challenges in business management, marketing and capital faced by small and medium-sized enterprises after partnering with them over the past five years.
“With sustainable technology and innovation, we’ve become a bridge for food enterprises’ needs. Go-Food has transformed itself from a food-delivery service into an enabler, which fully supports SMEs in becoming competitive players in the culinary industry,” she added.

Programs such as Digitarasa is a testament to how a symbiotic relationship between food-tech partners and food providers benefit themselves, and Indonesia’s wider economy.

GoFood merchants were estimated to contribute USD1.29 billion to the economy in 2018, according to a study by the University of Indonesia. As a professional chef and a restaurateur, Mr Poernomo said he understood the difficulties faced by most food and beverage entrepreneurs in the country. “Flavors in Indonesia are abundant as we are very diverse and culturally rich. The richness in flavor is a potential attribute that we can use against foreign culinary players. Digitarasa plays the role of a mentor and an assistant, which can help our cuisine to compete at international levels,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Tirtanata whose Kopi Kenangan has received global investment, said he hoped he could transfer his knowledge into building the local coffee chain’s brand to the participants of the Digitarasa program.

GrabKitchen Philippines helps food providers enter into new markets

Grab Kitchen’s first location in the Philippines has a dine-in option.

3 March 2020 – Grab has opened its first GrabKitchen in Makati City, Philippines. The latest service lets app users order food from different vendors under a single transaction. More so, it will help food players to enter into new markets for better exposure. 24 Chicken is a chain of food stalls that serves Korean chicken. Opened in 2017, by three entrepreneurs originally from Beijing, China, the chain currently has 10 branches, all near schools and universities in Manila. In order to increase sales, the business partnered with GrabFood almost as soon as the service became available. According to Mark Gerald Ong, one of the owners, about 40-50% of revenues comes from deliveries.

Dine-in customers can order through a self-order kiosk in the store.

It is no wonder the first GrabKitchen partner vendors are 24 Chicken along with Mister Kabab, Omakase, Recovery Food, and Frank & Dean Coffee. App users can access the menu under ‘Grab Kitchen – Glorietta 2’. There is also a dine-in option in which customers order through a self-order kiosk in the store. The company said it will open at least four more Grab Kitchen locations in the country in the next few months.

Sierad, Wahyoo launch 100 fried chicken outlets in Greater Jakarta

Sierad and Wahyoo confident of high profits to launch a further 1000 outlets by end 2020.

2 March 2020 – Poultry integrator Sierad Produce and digital-based food stalls empowerment startup Wahyoo have launched 100 ‘Ayam Goreng Bikin Tajir’ fried chicken outlets in Greater Jakarta. They are confident the business will receive positive feedback from consumers and also return good profits for outlet partners. With that in mind, a further 1000 outlets are planned by end of the year according to Andre Manuhutu, VP of the fried chicken business. Sierad’s Managing Director – Foods, Dicky Saelan also said chicken meat for the fried chicken is of good quality as it is processed at Sierad’s international standard and halal certified processing plant.

Nugget production is costly and has odor pollution issues

Investing in nugget production is costlier than sausage production.

28 February 2020 – There are less nugget than sausage producers in Indonesia since investing in nugget production runs up high costs. Ishana Mahisa, Chairman of the Indonesian Meat Processors Association told Asian Agribiz, “Compared to sausage production, nugget production needs a bigger production room for more processing machines. For better quality, IQF [individual quick freezing] technology is also needed. Besides, finding the right nugget formula also takes time.” The hardest part of nugget production is the dealing with waste. “It’s not toxic, but the smell is really pungent and could potentially annoy people living around the plant. So, you need consistently monitor and manage the operations perfectly to avoid odor pollution,” he added.

Facebook Live helps push Thai dried seafood sales

The son of a Thai fisherman, Anurak Saruethai never really took to life at sea but seafood has been good to him.

27 February 2020 – Dried seafood sales via Facebook Live initiated by entrepreneur Anurak Sanruethai in Thailand’s southern province of Satun is generating 20 tons/month worth over USD 600,000. This has benefited many fisherfolk who supply their produce to him. “Facebook Live enables us to communicate with potential buyers on our products directly and this effectively influences their purchase decision,” he said. Conversational commerce or C Commerce is growing in Thailand and last year generated over USD 5 billion in sales.

Philippines wants to jump into the halal sector via Malaysia

Malaysia’s Halal Showcase is an international event serving as an exchange platform for both old and new players.

26 February 2020 – The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) plans to send a delegation to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia International Halal Showcase in April. CCCI president Virgilio Espeleta said its about time to focus on halal food as the (Philippines) government constantly looks for meat alternatives amid the African swine fever (ASF) situation. “This is a very strategic move on the part of Malaysia since there is a growing Muslim population,” Mr Espeleta assured.
The adoption of halal food in Central Visayas can address concerns on pork demand, as the government still struggles to contain the ASF affecting the country’s hog industry, particularly in some areas of Luzon and Davao. Mr Espeleta said halal is not only applicable to food but also to services. Its process is known to reduce or completely eradicate cross-contamination and synonymous with high standards in food safety. Mr Espeleta also stressed that a balanced ecosystem of halal restaurants would attract Muslim tourists, especially from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East. He added that bringing halal to the region would open a huge market in tourism.
With a total of 6,064,744 followers or 6% of the Philippines’ total population, Islam is the second largest religion in Mindanao, based on a 2015 population count by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Plant-based meat launched in Thailand

Big meat-eating countries such as Thailand could be the catalyst for plant-based food adoption in Southeast Asia.

25 Febuary 2020 – Meat Avatar, a Thai start-up, has launched plant-based meat in Thailand to serve a growing demand for vegetarian and health food. The products will be available in leading department stores and supermarkets by mid this year, said Meat Avatar’s founder Warut Janpo. He said ingredients of Avatar Meat come from non-GMO grains and plants such as peas, soy beans, mushrooms, konjac, beetroots and carrots. They are processed into food that is popular in the country such as Pad Krapao Moo or stir fried chilly minced pork, fried pork and fried eggs.

Malaysia enters halal food sector in Japan via Tokyo 2020

24 February 2020 – Malaysian MyChef is preparing thousands of ready-to-eat halal meals such as chicken biryani to be shipped off to Japan for the Olympics. This is to cater for the rush of Muslim travelers for the Olympics and Paralympic Games, from late July to September. “It’s a huge platform and opportunity for us and our intention is to go in and stay long term,” said Ahmad Husaini Hassan, MyChef’s Managing Director.

Biryani-on-the-go might just be Malaysia’s best export yet.

Malaysia wants to use the event as a springboard to boost halal exports, which include food, by about a fifth to USD 12 billion this year. The country exported halal goods worth USD 604 million to Japan in 2018, 90% of those consisting food or food ingredients. It is the only country to have reached a halal cooperation deal with Tokyo for the Games. The Malaysian government has also set an ambitious target to push USD 300 million worth of halal food and products to both Muslims and non-Muslims around the Games. On the sidelines, a “Malaysia Street 2020” promotion will be hosted to offer opportunities to sell food and for participants to meet Japanese buyers and distributors. “We have a lot to learn from Malaysian authorities and in return, Malaysian companies have more chances to expand their business,” assured Hideto Nakajima, economic counsellor at the Japanese embassy in Malaysia. The number of tourists to Japan from Southeast Asia has jumped in recent years thanks to relaxed visa rules. As Japan looks to draw a record 40 million tourists this year, Malaysia estimates eight million of them will be Muslim.

Indo company exports odor-free, high quality tilapia to EU and US

Fillets are only one part of RSI’s tilapia’s story as all parts of its fish is utilized.

21 February 2020 – Regal Springs Indonesia (RSI) is exporting processed, odor-free high-quality tilapia fish to Europe and the US. Currently, RSI has a production capacity of up to 47 tons/day from 110-110 tons of live fish (20,000 tons/year of tilapia fillets). Processing Plant Manager Joko Suhendro said, “Most of our products are for export market as only 5% goes to local.” One of the company’s unique feature is utilizing all parts of its fish. Bones are ground into fish meal as feed ingredient/pellets for catfish while entrails are processed as bio-diesel oil. Meanwhile, fish skin is utilized as a pharmaceutical ingredient. Mr Suhendro added that the company will go into further processing by making fish skin crackers using innovative food development programs.

SFood’s assures customers by livestreaming organic sausage making

The crunchy casing and pure German-styled smoke spurs the appetite of both children and adult eaters.

20 February 2020 – Ha Noi’s S-Food livestreams its organic pork and vegetable sausage making process. “We use 100% organic material to make the sausages,” Pham Thi Duong Quynh Huong, SFood’s Factory Owner told Asian Agribiz. The sausages’ pork meat comes from two organic pig farms in the suburb of Ha Noi, while the vegetables are from trusted organic gardens, Ms Huong explained. Other ingredients such as casing, spices and smoking equipment are imported from Germany to create these German-styled smoked sausages. “The entire process from receiving raw materials to smoking and packaging them are livestreamed daily on the SFood fanpage to assure customers. As a mother, I know what is safe for my children, and I want to bring the same value to my customers,” Ms Huong added.

Bühler and Givaudan support plant-based protein food by building innovation center

The Center is home for a pilot plant featuring Bühler extrusion and processing equipment and a kitchen and flavor laboratory by Givaudan.

19 February 2020 – Bühler and Givaudan are joining forces to open an Innovation Center dedicated to plant-based food in Singapore. The center will welcome food processing companies, start-ups and university researchers to develop novel plant-based food products that cater to Asia tastes, texture expectations and cooking techniques. There will be a pilot plant featuring Bühler extrusion and processing equipment and a kitchen and flavor laboratory by Givaudan. “Companies are aware that collaboration is needed to address climate change and nutrition challenges facing the world today. Universities, start-ups, and companies need to come together to innovate and find more sustainable ways to produce food. This is what the Innovation Center is all about,” Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler told Asian Agribiz. The full facility opening is planned for the fourth quarter of 2020.

GoFood sold 300 million spicy fried chicken last year

Due to its delicious taste and affordable price, Ayam Geprek is expected to fly high again this year thru GoFood.

18 February 2020 – Indonesia’s Gojek’s food delivery service GoFood claimed it had recorded 300 million transactions for ‘Ayam Geprek’ in 2019. Ayam Geprek is a crispy battered fried chicken crushed and mixed with hot and spicy sambal. The dish is predicted to continue hitting high sales again this year. Meanwhile, Gojek’s Chief Food Officer Catherine Hindra Sutjahyo said egg rice, chicken porridge and fish-based meals are expected to become the new favorites ordered through GoFood this year.

Mango pulp paper bags in India pushes green agenda further

Giving monetary incentive is a clever way to trick consumers to reduce plastic usage.

17 Februay 2020 – The banning of single use plastics in India has led meat producers to find unique ways to draw in the green crowd. An example of that is Bangalore-based Nandu’s Chicken, which switched to delivering its fresh chicken in paper bags made of mango pulp. The unique ingredients in the bag allows it to store the ‘juicy’ chicken up to two hours, without being broken apart by the liquid.

Nandu’s doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to keeping its sustainability promise.

CEO Narendra Pasuparthy told Asian Agribiz that the cost of using the mango pulp bags were not higher than single use plastics. “It is still affordable, especially since we deal with large quantities,” he said.
The bag is 100% biodegradable, serves as a unique selling point and reinforces the ‘sustainability’ vision of the company.
Going further, Nandu’s also promotes customers to bring their own box when purchasing meat from them. An incentive of USD 0.14 is given on purchases using the “bring-your-own” method. This has pushed many to reduce plastic bag usage.
Nandu’s is an early mover in the meat industry to use alternatives as the Indian regulatory environment changes. Out of the 29 states in the country, 25 have already imposed the ban and India hopes to eliminate all such plastics by 2022. Thus, sustainable packaging is there to stay in the Indian market citing a bright future.

BASF, Fabbri develop compostable cling film for meat packaging

Compostable cling film helps deal with plastic use detrimental to the environment.

14 February 2020 – BASF and Fabbri Group have developed a sustainable solution for cling film for fresh-food packaging. The product is a combination of BASF’s certified compostable ecovio and Fabbri’s transparent stretch film Nature Fresh. Meat and seafood can be wrapped manually or with automatic packaging equipment. Industrial stretch packaging is also possible. It is the first certified compostable cling film that combines optimal breathability for extended shelf life for fresh food featuring high transparency and mechanical properties for automatic packaging. Nature Fresh is food-contact approved according to US and European standards. It helps keep food fresh for longer periods compared to the usual polyethylene used in the usual cling film, reducing greenhouse emissions from food. After usage, it can be composted together with food waste in home or industrial compost.

Sekar Bumi eyes higher seafood exports with more value-added products

Sekar Bumi sees bigger export market potential in value-added seafood products.

13 February 2020 – Indonesian seafood producer Sekar Bumi recently exported 65 40-ft containers of processed seafood to the US, Europe and Japan from its plant in East Java. Worth USD 8.7 million, the export consisted of frozen shrimps, ebi furai, ebi katsu, fish balls, shumai, hakau and spring rolls. President Director Harry Lukmito targets the company’s exports this year to be higher than last year’s USD 132 million. In different occasion, Director Howard Ken Lukmito told Asian Agribiz that they want to export more ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat seafood since the market potential is big.

Omnipork dumplings take on Taiwan

The Taiwanese too jump on the plant-based meat bandwagon effortlessly.

12 February 2020 – Hong Kong-based Green Monday has partnered with Taiwan’s largest fast casual restaurant chain, Bafang Yunji, to debut its plant-based Omnipork dumplings across Taiwan. One million dumplings have been sold in Bafang Yunji’s nearly 1,000 restaurants since January 12. The popularity of the plant-based dumplings is testament to the growing meat-free and flexitarian movement in the region. The vegan pork mince substitute is made from rice, mushrooms, soy and pea protein, and costs USD 20 cents per piece.

Chevon launches RTC goat meat

Consumers can now use ready to cook mutton pieces to make quick briyanis, curries, samosas (mince) and even chops.

11 February 2020 – Goat-meat based ready-to-cook (RTC) meal now joins the convenient food game. Indian integrated frozen goat meat company Chevon Agrotech is selling a ready-to-cook line. The meat is stripped of fat and marketed as premium, free-range “farm-bred” goat meat. The vacuum-packed meat chops are sold for USD 12.22 per 430g. Chevon’s website even lists recipes to cook with the RTC packs.

Crysbro offers giblets in premium packaging

Healthy protein snacks comes in the form of yummy liver, packaged to be more appealing.

10 February 2020 – Crysbro recently launched cleaned and packaged chicken liver and gizzard in Sri Lanka, in a bid to make giblets more popular among consumers. Though there is demand for giblets, “consumers are reluctant to buy them given the manner in, which they are sold, Crysbro’s Senior Marketing Manager, Amores Sellar, told Asian Agribiz. Cleaned and packed, the giblets stand out from less attractively packed offal. Liver packs are sold at USD 0.25 per 100g, and gizzard packs at USD 0.29 per 100g.

STP offers quality frozen tilapia in Indonesia

Cooked Toba Tilapia meat will be easier to use as enhancement for salads, soups, curries and much more.

7 February 2020 – Toba Tilapia is one of the flagship seafood brands of Indonesia’s Suri Tani Pemuka (STP). Farmed and processed in North Sumatra, the subsidiary of Japfa Comfeed Indonesia claimed that Toba Tilapia has a firm, flaky white meat, clean and a mild taste to adapt to any style of cooking and every combination of flavors. Toba Tilapia are available in frozen fillets, loins, portioned cuts; either bulk pack or retail pack, IQF or vacuum pack and also customized in fulfilling customers’ special orders. Tilapia can be cooked whole or in fillets. Consumers can grill it, bake it, fry it, broil it, even BBQ it.

Gadjah Mada University develops double-muscled cattle

Professor Ali is hopeful that partnership between different sectors could be the key in propelling the beef industry in Indonesia.

6 February 2020 – The Faculty of Animal Science of Gadjah Mada University is developing a new beef cattle breed called Gama cattle since six years back, poised to support the country’s target in beef self-sufficiency. Ali Agus, Dean of the Faculty told Asian Agribiz that the new breed is developed by cross-breeding three superior cattle breeds, namely Brahman, Belgian Blue and Wagyu. The breeding project is designed to produce double-muscled cattle to produce good beef quality that adapts well with Indonesia’s tropical climate. To reach the body weight of 900kg, Gama cattle only need three years while other existing crossbred cattle takes up to four. The project currently has 200 heads of Gama cattle, raised in two farming facilities in Sleman and Klaten, belonging to feed additive supplier Berkah Andini Lestari and beef cattle integrator Widodo Makmur Perkasa. These two companies also help the faculty in terms of feed and farm management for the cattle. [Gama_Ali]

Online space helping QSR’s like Domino’s stay ahead in India

4.1 million Indians downloaded the Domino’s Pizza App in three months.

5 February 2020 – Greater numbers of online orders for food in India is changing the way QSR’s operate in the country. Domino’s Pizza’s parent company Jubilant FoodWorks Limited (JFL) reported in its Q3 FY20 earnings that online sales helped them reach double digit growth of 14.1% in the last quarter.
“Online sales now contribute to 87% of delivery sales,” said the company. Moreover, the last quarter saw 4.1 million customers download the Domino’s App.
A report by the Boston Consulting Group together with Google India showed that online buyer-base is steadily growing in the country. By 2025, the predicted number of online shoppers is to grow over 300 million with spending reaching over USD 130 billion. A significant proportion of them would also purchase food during their time online.
As increasing numbers of Domino’s customers move online, the company has been investing heavily to improve infrastructure to support the trend. In the last quarter alone, they opened 44 new stores and expanded to 10 new cities. This was the highest store expansion carried out in the last five years.
Commenting on the performance for Q3 FY20, JFL’s Chairman Shyam S Bhartia and Co-chairman Hari S Bhartia said, “We have maintained strong growth momentum despite slowdown in consumption trends. This was driven by our increased focus on basics of the business, while elevating the customer experience. We will continue to emphasize on our key pillars of growth to deliver sustained growth going forward.”

Kibif widens digital logistics service offerings

Kibif’s e-commerce presence will give it advantage to reach a broader market, benefitting itself and others.

4 February 2020 – Indonesia’s Estika Tata Tiara, known as Kibif has expanded its digital services to market beef and processed products through its e-commerce platform Tokokibif.com. The platform is to reach a broader segment of customers, as well as to adapt to digitalization. Kibif will combine its online sales with its distribution channels that are currently being expanded.
Marketing Director, Grace Adoe said the company is working on e-logistics targeting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and corporates. The involvement of MSMEs in the Kibif logistics system is important as 96% of businesses in Indonesia are engaged in this sector. “MSMEs are the main pillars of Indonesia’s economic development,” she said.

Sumber Unggas offers its RTC products in new restaurant

The best way to promote RTC fare is to give customers a taste of it in a restaurant setting.

4 February 2020 – Indonesian native chicken producer Sumber Unggas Indonesia (SUI) plans to open a restaurant under the ‘Natchick Resto’ brand in Sentul, Bogor. Costing USD 22,000, the restaurant is expected to open in February. Marketing Manager, Febroni Purba said 70% of the building is completed. What is unique is that SUI’s recently launched ready-to-eat fares Betutu Chicken and Lengkuas Chicken will be on the menu going for USD 1.83/menu. Take-aways will also be available.

Dangsap to invest in low-cost automation

Dagsap’s nuggets are wildly popular among Indonesian consumers.

3 February 2020 – Indonesian meat processor, Dagsap Endura Eatore is to improve production efficiency using automation. Director Ishana Mahisa told Asian Agribiz, “Our nugget machine with hard pressure molds will be upgraded to softer pressure molds and this will reduce the percentage of rejects,” he said. Dagsap upgraded freezing technology of its further processing plants in Sentul and Bantul last year, switching blast freezing to individually quick freezing (IQF) technology. The company also implemented the 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain) concept to improve its productivity.

Korean food producers, retailers vie to dominate meal kits market

To cook a meal kit, consumers only need to put the prepared ingredients in boiling water or in a heated frying pan according to the instructions. This way even a cooking novice can cook a high-quality meal like a chef in just 30 minutes.

3 February 2020 – South Korea’s leading food producers and retailers, including CJ CheilJedang and E-Mart, are vying to develop indigenous meal kits to dominate the booming convenient food market. A meal kit contains all the ingredients and directions needed for consumers to cook a meal. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, the local market for meal kits was valued at USD 17 million in 2018. The market is expected to skyrocket to USD 595 million in five years, mainly on the back of the growing number of people living alone who do not have time for grocery shopping and want to avoid buying large quantities of ingredients.

CJ to launch more meal kits in South Korea

Hyun-seok Na says CJ CheilJedang plans to expand the target demographic of Cookit, which is currently intended for two-to-three-person families, to include single-person families.

31 January 2020 – CJ Cheiljedang, South Korea’s food giant, has launched its own meal kit brand, Cookit by collaborating with star chefs. The brand currently comprises 60 products, including Korean, Japanese and Italian dishes. It aims to increase the number to about 200 in the next two years. The company said it currently receives around 2000 orders daily and aims to hit USD 85 million in sales in the next three years. A meal kit contains all the ingredients and directions needed for consumers to cook a meal. “The Cookit meal kit is a culmination of our diverse research studies,” said the company’s Chief Researcher, Hyun-seok Na, adding that the company actively accommodates feedback from customers who bought Cookit products in order to improve the taste quality.

FPT builds advanced R&D campus for meat processing in Samut Prakan

FPT claims the new facility will become the most advanced r&d campus for meat processing in Southeast Asia.

30 January 2020 – FPT Food Process Technology has started the construction of its new head office in Samut Prakan, Thailand, expected to be completed this year. This facility is claimed to be the most advanced R&D campus for meat processing in Southeast Asia. It will provide clients with practice seminars and trial possibilities in actual clean and HACCP condition room under the guidance of a diverse team of internationally proficient engineers and food technologists. The new three-story building will include modern service and storage areas, equipment showrooms, a bistro, and an international innovative technology center. With this facility, FPT’s role as a regional leader in Industry 4.0 & smart factory is ensured. “With the new facility, I strongly believe we can serve and consult our customers in the future even better by improving yield, shelf life and reducing production times and related costs,” said Axel Arras, FPT’s President.

Sentra prepares new meat products for double-digit growth

Kemfood branded premium sausages are the flagship products of Sentra Food Indonesia.

30 January 2020 – Meat processor Sentra Food Indonesia is preparing new further processed beef, chicken and seafood to be launched in the first quarter of this year. The launch is aimed to help the company record a double-digit business growth this year. “We predict the macro economy this year to be more or less the same compared to last year. It will only grow single digit. However, with product innovations we expect our business to grow further than the macro economy,” said President Director, Agustus Sani Nugroho.

Cell-based milk production gets pre-seed funding

Mimicry is the best form of flattery as cow’s milk joins the growing list of cell-based foods.

29 January 2020 – Singapore-based TurtleTree Labs is the world’s first company using technology to create real milk from animal cells only. It has just completed a pre-seed funding round led by Lever VC, a venture capital fund specializing in alternative protein investments. Co-founded by CEO Fengru Lin, CSO Rabail Toor, and Chief Strategist Max Rye, TurtleTree Labs is looking at disrupting both dairy milk and baby formula industry. It has developed a unique proprietary technology using mammary cells to produce real, full milk in clean food production facilities. The end product mimics both human breast milk and cow’s milk. The funding will be used to further enhance the company’s scientific team and to create additional prototypes. It is planning to debut its first cultivated milk (and mother’s milk) products in mid-2020. See the company’s website.

Uber eats will no longer deliver in India

28 January 2020 – The Indian food delivery market is proving to be a race to the bottom as its latest casualty, Uber eats discovered. In mid-January, the company announced it was selling its operations to local player Zomato. In return, it would take a 9.99% stake in Zomato, a startup backed by China’s Ant Financial.

Food delivery has been both a lucrative as well as a competitive market to work at in India. The two biggest players in the field, Swiggy and Zomato together control majority market share but the companies are yet to report their profits. Instead, they have been propped up by continuous rounds of funding by investors such as Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings.

There’s only so far that a bike can go to deliver freshly cooked food in remote parts of India.

Since its inception in 2017, Uber eats has made continuous losses. In 2019, India only attributed to 3% of gross bookings for Uber globally. According to a Reuters report, Uber India reported a loss of USD 61 million between July- September 2019. Zomato in the meantime reported a loss of USD 294 million for the year to March 2019 while Swiggy also made a loss of USD 330 million in the same period.

A constant need to provide discounts to compete for users is seen as one of reasons for losses. In addition, the cost of logistics in a country such as India make margins extremely slim.

Zomato’s recent acquisition however would give it access to Uber Eat’s 10 million customers and data patterns. There is no guarantee however that all of these customers would switch to Zomato when there are better deals available elsewhere.

Nutrition company invests in cell-based seafood and meat

A future opportunity for Nutreco may include becoming an ingredient supplier to the cell-based protein industry.

27 January 2019 – Animal nutrition producer Nutreco has announced a strategic partnership with cell-based seafood startup BlueNalu. The announcement came days after the company secured another partnership with cell-based meat startup Mosa Meat. These partnerships were secured through Nutreco’s strategic innovation and investment team, NuFrontiers, and builds on the research, ingredient sourcing and protein expertise of Nutreco sub-companies, Skretting and Trouw Nutrition. Nutreco’s CEO, Rob Koremans said, “Our partnerships are all designed to ensure sustainable food to feed the growing population. Mosa Meat and BlueNalu are developing technology that may transform the food industry and we are thrilled to contribute to these endeavors. A future opportunity for Nutreco may include becoming an ingredient supplier to the cell-based protein industry.”

Hotpot RTE Chen Lin hits homes in Vietnam

The RTE hot pot carries the same specified flavor and ingredients as restaurant hot pots.

24 January 2020 – Even hotpots are being transformed into ready-to-eat meals in Vietnam! Vietnamese hotpot fans will get to enjoy Chen Lin Food’s ready-to-eat (RTE) beef or goat hotpots at home or everywhere else. The hotpots use goat meat with skin and beef imported from Australia, deeply stewed with herbs to bring the special traditional flavor to the dishes. These two hotpots are popular in the country, available in many popular and high-end restaurants. The company offers authentic hotpot tastes in its RTEs, which exudes traditional flavors emulating the meals available at restaurants, but with the convenience of no preparation time at home. The RTE hotpots are available in the form of 600gr plastic bowl that can withstand the heat in the microwave and 1kg bag – a serving for more than two people.

The RTE hotpot for family is available in 1kg bag – a serving for more than 2 people.

Indonesia’s Sekar Bumi awarded for seafood export performance

Howard Ken Lukmito and his family receive the Primaniyarta Award for the sixth time from the Indonesian Ministry of Trade.

23 January 2020 – Sekar Bumi’s extraordinary export performance of frozen processed seafood has been recognized once again. The company received the Primaniyarta Award for the sixth time from the Indonesian Ministry of Trade. Director Howard Ken Lukmito told Asian Agribiz that the Jakarta-based company has been exporting its products to the US, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China and Europe. He revealed that integration has helped the company widen international distribution of its frozen processed seafood. “For shrimp, we have our own hatchery, farm, feedmill and processing plant. Every unit has one star of BAP, generating a total BAP 4-star certification. This integration ensures that our products are safe and traceable from upstream to downstream,” he said. Besides BAP 4-star, the company has also pocketed HACCP, BRC, ISO 22000, GMP, SNI and halal certifications.

Cloud kitchen lands in Singapore

Cloud kitchens are expected to fly off the roof with demand for delivery food service rising in Southeast Asia.

22 January 2020 – The cloud kitchen buzz has landed in Singapore in the form of the first GrabKitchen on the island. Cloud kitchens are fully equipped shared kitchen space that can be rented by chefs and food brands with no dine-in facilities. Orders are done via apps and companies such as Grab provide the delivery service. Singapore’s GrabKitchen located in Hillview brings over 10 F&B brands, including three new virtual restaurants to northwest Singapore. Brands such as Wolfburger and Playmade have already taken up some of the 6,000 sft offered. The Singapore location brings Grab’s network of cloud kitchens to 50 across five countries in the South-east Asian region.There are plans to open more kitchens in the coming year, he said, but did not disclose how many are in the pipeline. More services for merchants, such as a bulk procurement platform for kitchen supplies and ingredients, will also be rolled out this year.

Sekar Bumi opens new RTE seafood plant west of Jakarta

Along with increasing demand from international markets, Sekar Bumi wants to develop more RTE seafood products.

16 January 2020 – Sekar Bumi has commenced operations at its new seafood processing plant in Tangerang, Indonesia. This new plant will support the company to develop and produce ready-to-eat (RTE) products made from shrimp, fish, cuttlefish and octopus. “We are developing new products including cuttlefish balls with squid ink, and with cheese filling, octopus balls, mini fish tofu and octopus springrolls sriratcha. These are targeted for international markets,” Director Howard Ken Lukmito told Asian Agribiz.

Native chicken becomes an RTC star in Indonesia

SUI’s target especially millennials who want practicality and tasty food. Only steamed and fried, easily combined with rice.

15 January 2020 – Demand for native chicken in Indonesia continues to increase, with more restaurants offering native chicken-based menus. Due to this trend, native chicken producer, Sumber Unggas (SUI) in Indonesia is the latest to join the ready-to-cook (RTC) bandwagon with its “Natchick” range. Febroni Purba, Marketing Manager of SUI told Asian Agribiz that the company decided to venture into the food business because it wants to respond to lifestyle changes with the target especially millennials who want practicality and tasty food. “People now want everything quickly. So, I think RTC product is a good option,” Mr Purba said. Natchick is available in two flavors currently; Betutu Chicken and Lengkuas Chicken. According to Mr Purba. The 500g packs contains a whole chicken and are sold through re-sellers in Jakarta and other cities. “We have 75 re-sellers and hope the product will be available in supermarkets in Greater Jakarta soon with more flavors,” he added.

Manhattan Fish Market brings ‘fast food’ to seafood segment

Gen 7 brings ‘Healthy and fast seafood’ to your liking at Manhattan Fish Market in Colombo.

14 January 2020 – Malaysian franchise, Manhattan Fish Market has brought in the concept of ‘fast food’ for seafood dining in Colombo with its ‘Gen 7’ concept restaurant. The franchise had unveiled its Gen 7 brand concept under the ‘fast-casual dining’ segment at One Gall Face Mall recently. The concept is expected to appeal to younger audiences looking for healthier options in addition to new dining experiences. “We are confident this will expand our appeal to a wider audience to enjoy our food like never before! Furthermore, our diners can try new things with our new dining experience as we want to bring a more fun way of eating,” said Manhattan Fish Market Sri Lanka, Managing Director, Shafraz Annes. Diners at the new restaurant can choose how they want their seafood to be cooked; fried, poached, grilled, baked or flamed. “The brands signature Fish ‘N Chips is now being upscaled to include fresh, high grade hand-cut chips on grease-proof paper as well,” said the company head.

Indian conglomerate, ITC invests in frozen food market, goal to capture 20% share

ITC capitalizes on Indian frozen food market which is growing at 17% per anum.

13 January 2020 – ITC ventured into the frozen food segment with its RTE brand ITC Master Chef with over 50 food products. It wants to expand this business further by extending its reach to over 30 cities in the retail segment and 100 cities in the food services segment in India. “Currently, the frozen foods market in India is about USD 1,037 million and it’s growing at about 17 % annually. Our intention is to explode the category by doubling our volumes. Our growth rate is about 6-7 times the industry growth,” ITC Chief Executive – Frozen Snacks, Fruits and Vegetables Sachid Madan said. Their expansion in frozen foods would also bank on health conscious customers and breaking the myth that frozen food is not ‘healthy’. “We are offering freshly frozen food with no preservatives that can be cooked in multiple ways,” said Mr Madan. ITC will be the third major player in the frozen food segment in India after McCain, which is mainly in the vegetarian segment and Venky’s, which is in non-vegetarian. The firm has partnered with American firm OSI and is utilizing the latter’s manufacturing facilities in India to produce these items. “We are manufacturing in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. We are kind of covering most of the places where the markets are,” Mr Madan concluded.

The rise of RTE prompts Singapore egg processor to continually invest in tech

Longer shelf life is a life-saver for sailors, cruise ships and military sea vessels for example.

7 January 2020 – Ready-to-eat (RTE) meals have stormed into Singapore via 7-Eleven, Cheers, Redmart and abundantly in all supermarkets. Following this demand, Green Tech Egg Industries continually invests in the latest egg processing equipment. Managing Director Ng Kong Guan explained to Asian Agribiz, “Consumers don’t realize a lot of eggs are used in RTEs. Two main operations we do are liquid eggs and cooked eggs which is generously used in RTE meals. We have equipment capable of breaking 54, 000 eggs per hour or hard boiling them at 24,000 per hour, both from Sanovo Technology.” Mr Ng said demand for liquid egg and boiled eggs are huge, cannot be done manually due to large amounts and have higher shelf life once pasteurized. “Our next step is investing into industrial scale sunnyside egg maker, to compliment bento sets and Chinese noodle meals such as “pan mee”,” he said.

GrabFood gets onboard with plastic reduction using “bagasse” in Vietnam

Plastic cutlery is on the way out with initiatives such as these.

6 January 2020 – Bagasse, biodegradable cutlery made from sugarcane, is an option GrabFood gives consumers in Ho Chi Minh City. Under the ‘Say No to Plastic Cutlery’ button on its application, users in can choose to use bagasse available in 50 restaurants. Also, GrabFood will not provide any plastic cutlery unless it is requested, a feature that also covers the rest of Southeast Asia. To date, 66% of users order food from GrabFood’s restaurants has chosen the environmentally friendly bagasse over plastic. For more information on the initiative, please click here to visit their webpage.

Indonesia sees new players in sausage biz, with both good and bad effects

While other sausage players targeting big cities, new contender Porto Food Indonesia chose to develop their sausage market in Sukabumi, West Java.

3 January 2020 – Demand for sausages in Indonesia in the last 2-3 years grew significantly, attracting new players to venture into this potential business. “With the new players, supply of sausages is currently surpassing demand. The market is still growing, but with more players, the market shares of existing players are shrinking. Additionally, new players tend to come up with promos and sausages with higher meat contents to attract buyers,” Ishana Mahisa, Chairman of the Indonesian Meat Processors Association told Asian Agribiz. However, he added, “the good news is some of the new players target rural areas as their main market. This move will help popularize sausages and enlarge national sausage.

OmniMeat breaks into Singapore signaling demand for plant-based proteins

The retail pack is expected to give Singaporeans a push to opt for healthier, sustainable cooking at home.

20 December 2019 – Hong Kong-based Green Monday has put OmniMeat Retail Packs into some of Singapore’s large supermarket chains, making it more accessible. Previously, the plant-based protein was only available at hotels and restaurants in the country. OmniMeat is a meat substitute comprising protein from peas, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushrooms and rice. It is cholesterol-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and animal cruelty-free. It scores 86% lower in saturated fats and 66% lower in calories than traditional pork while being 260% higher in calcium and 127% higher in iron. The retail packs were introduced due to demand from Singaporeans who are moving towards eating more sustainable and carbon-free meals, according to the company. Green Monday’s plant-based grocery store was set-up in Singapore a year ago and it actively advocates for once-a-week plant-based philosophy. The retail packs are available at FairPrice, Sheng Siong, HAO mart, Prime, Yes Natural, Four Seasons Organic & Speciality and Redmart.com.

Vietnam – Convenience food is driving away family meals

Ready to eat packed meals are a clearer choice among Vietnam’s young population.

19 December 2019 – Eating out and choosing convenience food are winning over food shopping, preparing, and home cooking in Vietnam. The rise of the fast-growing middle class and young population are the two major growth drivers of these trends. According to Deloitte’s latest report, the growth of Vietnam’s middle-class is the fastest in Southeast Asia. It also pointed out that 40% of the population is below the age of 24. With such drivers, Vietnam’s growth in convenience stores is expected to outperform many of its neighboring economies, with a compound annual growth rate of 37.4% in 2017-2021 period.

CP eyes bigger pie in Vietnamese fast food market

“With a diverse menu, Five Star Pho restaurants meet the culinary needs of many customers at different ages,” shared Mr Suphat Sritanaton.

18 December 2019 – CP Group plans to open 2000 fast-food restaurants throughout Vietnam in the next three years. “The Vietnamese food store market is growing, attracting many large global brands. CP is also developing a fast-food chain with CP Five Star Pho brand,” said Mr Suphat Sritanatorn – Deputy General Director in charge of food processing of CP Vietnam JSC. Five Star is a model fried chicken restaurant developed by CP Group in Vietnam six years ago. Currently, it has 600 stores. In 2019, the Group said it will open 50 more stores and develop a convenience store model aimed at young people.

Indonesia’s sausage producers invest in nugget production

Some sausage producers in Indonesia are now investing in nugget production lines because their customers want different products.

17 December 2019 – Some sausage producers in Indonesia are now investing in nugget production lines, said Rudy Hudin, Country Manager Indonesia of Marel. “Investment in a sausage production line is much cheaper than a nugget line, therefore the break even is quicker. The trend is that once the sausage producer is successful, he will soon invest in nugget production to diversify offerings. In addition, the market channels and distribution network of sausage and nugget are the same,” Mr Hudin explained to Asian Agribiz.

Safer food packaging expected to prompt less plastic usage in Vietnam

SCG’s paper boxes can be safely used in microwave under 180 degree for 2-3 minutes.

16 December 2019 – A Thai company offers safe packaging solution for convenience food in Vietnam which may lead to less usage of plastic materials. SCG Packaging is looking for distribution partners of food grade paper packaging in Vietnam. Under the brand of ‘Fest’, SCG’s paper boxes are produced from clean and traceable paper powder, with no harmful chemicals or substances. “The majority of consumers of convenience food in Vietnam are young people, who are conscious of health and environment issues. We think that in two years, Vietnamese consumers will no longer use plastic packaging and move instead to more environmental friendly material such as paper,” Nguyen Phuong Linh, Senior Marketing Officer told Asian Agribiz.

VFood expects stronger growth in ready to eat egg market

VFood’s Pha Lau quail egg is popular among young customers. It can be easily combined with rice or noodles.

13 December 2019 – The rising number of convenience stores in cities in Vietnam has seen Vinh Thanh Dat Food JSC (VFood) record a 100% growth in the first half of 2019 over the same period last year. VFood is major name in the ready-to-eat (RTE) egg sector with a capacity of more than 10,000 RTE eggs per day, (who) told Asian Poultry Magazine VFood also shared that this year it will expand capacity by adding more production lines with high automation rate, to the existing factory.

Duck meat claiming bigger share in animal protein consumption in Indonesia

Bebek Kaleyo is one of the most famous duck restaurants in Greater Jakarta. Every day the resto chain needs 10,000 duck carcasses for its 25 outlets.

12 December 2019 – Demand for duck meat in Indonesia is growing with the mushrooming of restaurants offering duck menus. “The potential of duck business in Indonesia is interesting because there are not many players. Some big players for Pekin duck include CP, Malindo, PPM, while for hybrid duck, PPG and Wahana are the big players,” said Rudy Hudin, Country Manager Indonesia of Marel. “Demand for duck carcass and portioned cuts is increasing. As a duck processing systems supplier, we see great potential in duck processing. Duck resto chains like Bebek Pak Ndut and Bebek Kaleyo are expanding and they need quality, and safe duck meat,” he told Asian Agribiz.

Rotisseries fuel demand for smaller chickens

Smaller but packed with roasted deliciousness.

11 December 2019 – The boom in the roasted chicken industry in the Philippines has fueled – growing demand for smaller chickens. The birds, which are harvested at about 28 days at a liveweight of roughly 1.1kg, are attractive to many Filipino consumers, who find them affordable. Industry stakeholders pointed out to Asian Agribiz that while at this weight the birds have not yet reached their growth potential, the growing demand makes raising them attractive. One industry leader said that it also addresses concerns during summer when hot weather leads to growth problems.

Singapore venture capital backs sustainable foie gras production

10 December 2019 – Lab grown foie grass or duck/goose fatty liver delicacy is on the cards for the Asian market. Singapore-based foodtech accelerator Big Idea Ventures is backing Gourmey, the first French cultivated meat start-up. Started in 2019 by three friends Nicolas Morin-Forest, Jérôme Caron, Antoine Davydoff and Gemma Lyons, Gourmey is a Paris-based startup using cellular agriculture to cultivate foie gras, the popular French delicacy in an ethical and sustainable way. They are also hoping to create different duck products as a solution for duck meat-loving Asia as well. Their cell-based foie gras is created using a few cells extracted from freshly laid duck eggs, which is placed in a carefully controlled cultivator that offers the ideal temperature, nutrients and space to grow into liver meat that has the same taste, texture and composition.

Consumers in Asia and internationally can look forward to duck liver pate without the guilt of animal cruelty.

According to the company, just a few cells is enough to reproduce the world’s foie gras demand for years, which rids the need for extraction of eggs after an initial batch has been selected. The resulting product offers consumers the same experience using 80% less water, land surface and carbon dioxide emissions and 45% less energy compared to conventional animal farming, and requires absolutely no antibiotics, and no animal suffering.

Gourmet Lanka makes world cuisine ready-to-eat

9 December 2019 – Sri Lankan food and beverage company, Gourmet Lanka Pvt Ltd, has honed in on the growing ‘convenience’ market in Sri Lanka with its wide range of heat-and-eat meals. With a target of 80 meal varieties from cuisines around the world, the company opened its first brick and mortar outlet as a ‘Deli’ last week at the upmarket One Galle Face Mall in Colombo.

The world in a box. Managing Director, Gourmet Lanka, Roman Scott stands next to their range of RTE meals made with the most popular international dishes.

Gourmet Lanka, Managing Director, Roman Scott told Asian Agribiz that he was targeting his products at young, working professionals and senior citizens, “All these products have been portioned for one or two persons. Giving them options when they don’t want to or can’t cook anymore,” he said. The products come as balanced meals consisting of 180g of meat and 220g of carbohydrate.

Mr Scott added that the decision to open his own space was also motivated by not wanting to get lost among other ‘convenience’ products in the supermarket, “We are also selling in a price sensitive market so we have not made it too expensive. Given that we use premium products, our aim is to give value for money,” he added.

RTE removing cold chain obstacle in India

Arohan introduces eight flavors of Northeastern pork curry in ready to eat packs.

22 November 2019 – The RTE sector in India is helping the country overcome issues of cold storage in the food supply chain. Northeast based pork producer, Arohan Food recently launched their range of RTE pork curries to take the flavor of the northeast to the rest of the country. Arohan Foods, Co-founder, Arindom Hazarika told Asian Agribiz that pan-India cold chain and distribution systems were difficult and these RTE products with a shelf life of six months helped overcome such issues. The pork curries under the brand name of ‘Just Oink!’ come in eight flavors.

Vietnam’s G-Kitchen banking on pork snacks

G-Kitchen’s snacks set to be a hit with a wide range of consumers.

21 November 2019 – G Kitchen, GreenFeed’s online store recently launched a new series of products to serve as a quick meal and snacks for office workers. The new Tay Bac lap cheong, Mai Que Lo lap cheong are traditional sausages, a match with rice for common meals. For offices, G-Kitchen offers dried pork with garlic, dried tom-yum pork, and dried wasabi pork. The ingredients for these products come from GreenFeed’s 3F pork production chain.

Indonesia seeks investors for halal collagen casing production

Grilled sausages.

21 November 2019 – The demand for collagen casings for sausages in Indonesia is picking up thanks to the growing market for halal sausages. Recognizing this trend, the Indonesian Meat Processors Association (Nampa) has invited investors from Australia to invest in a collagen casing production plant here. “Besides targeting the local market, we can also export halal-labeled casings to Malaysia, Philippines and other countries in the region,” Ishana Mahisa, Chairman of the association told Asian Agribiz. Nampa is courting Australian investors as the country is a large beef cattle producer and collagen casings are primarily made from beef collagen.

Japanese investors exploit Malaysia’s demand for RTE products

myNews chicken bento only USD 0.24!

20 November 2019 – Three Japanese companies have embarked on a joint venture with Malaysia’s myNews Holdings to establish a USD 24 million plant for ready-to-eat (RTE) meals. This venture consists of chain operator Gourmet Kineya, bread producer Ryoyupan and Inspire Investment Group. The mostly meat-based meals produced will be retailed through the myNews convenience stores which currently offer baked goods, hot snacks, and Japanese onigiries filled with chicken meat sauces. Other RTE meals on the menu are Chicken Cutlet bento, Butter Chicken and Green Sambal Chicken sets among others. This development mirrors that of the Japanese owned Family Mart which made its debut in Malaysia in 2016 focusing on microwaveable fresh food such as chicken spaghetti, local favorites nasi lemak (rice cooked in cooked milk and served with condiments), breads and hot snacks such as chicken curry puff and oden – cooked fishcakes in soup which is widely popular. For further details click here.

Single serve value-added seafood demanded by younger consumers

Millenials’ desire for healthy, convenient meals prompts value-added smaller-serves.

18 November 2019 – Fisher Farms in the Philippines has invested in single-serve and smaller-pack ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood for millennial customers. According to Chief Executive Imelda Madarang these value-added products generate higher margins than raw counterparts. Smaller packs also attract export consumers wary of exploring unfamiliar products. Ms Madarang said this strategy is easier to push products containing milkfish, which is not well-known outside of the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia. Current global and local market trends calling for healthy, convenient meals prompted the company to develop these value-added single serve RTE lines.

Meat Insider offers up-to-date news and views about product trends in the Asian region. It: Ÿ
• offers regional and international meat marketing news Ÿ
• provides dot-joining analysis of regional market trends
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• closely monitors new product releases
• anticipates longer-term market development by understanding consumer dynamics, and
• spots international trends that might impact on our region.

Rajeswari Ramenee, Editor

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