Nestlé has doubled down on its commitment to invest heavily in plant-based food products across Asia after opening a new plant-based manufacturing facility in Malaysia.
The new manufacturing plant, located in Shah Alam, Malaysia, has the capability to produce 8,000 tonnes of plant-based food annually.
The move aligned with results from a GlobalData survey which found 40 per cent of Asian respondents were consuming more plant-based foods.
Of those surveyed, 11 per cent said they had transitioned to a wholly vegan or vegetarian diet.
Chris Johnson, Nestlé CEO for Asia, Oceania and Africa, said the move to invest heavily in the plant-based market was driven by a growing consumer base and a move towards more environmentally friendly methods of production.
“That’s why we are at the forefront of this shift and investing for the future,” Johnson said.
The manufacturing facility is the first of its kind for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the second on the Asian continent.
The facility will address local demand for plant-based food as well as exporting to other markets.
Nestlé’s plant-based product line, Harvest Gourmet, has already made inroads into the Asian market, having inked deals with global and regional restaurant chains such as Element Fresh in China, KyoChon in Malaysia and Carl’s Jnr in Singapore.
Up to 300 research and development scientists and engineers have been working on and developing the plant-based products for Nestle, with more expected in the near future.
The ‘Sensational Burger Patty’ and the ‘Schnitzel’ were some of the first plant-based products to be produced at the new facility.
Harvest Gourmet products are made using a range of fresh ingredients including soy, wheat, beetroot, carrot and blackcurrant.
Thomas Hauser, head of global product and technology development at Nestlé, said the company was also committed to helping innovate the plant-based food market.
“Our local innovation capabilities in Asia enable us to accelerate the innovation of outstanding plant-based alternatives that Asian consumers love,” Hauser said.