GlobalData: Singapore emerges as innovation hub for alternative proteins in Asia-Pacific, with sales of meat substitutes forecast to rise at 7% CAGR over 2022-2027; insect protein, lab-cultured meat, precision fermentation among developments in this space

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April 24, 2023 (press release) –

Singapore has emerged as the leading innovation hub for alternative proteins in the Asia-Pacific, aided by government policy support. The city-state has also become one of the most promising markets for meat substitutes in the ASEAN region. As a result, Singapore’s meat substitutes sales will rise at a 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over 2022–27*, forecasts GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData projects that the soy-based category will dominate value sales, with the single-cell protein (fungi/algae) category recording the fastest growth over the forecast period.

Tim Hill, Key Account Director at GlobalData Singapore, comments: “Food security is a major concern for Singaporean consumers, as the city-state meets 90% of its food requirements through imports. However, frequent disruptions in its essential food supplies prompted the island nation to launch the “30 by 30” initiative in 2019, setting the goal to achieve 30% self-sufficiency in food production by 2030. In line with this goal, authorities are striving to make Singapore the Asian and global hub for alternative proteins, competing with the likes of Hong Kong. This has paved the way for a host of multinational, regional, and local business enterprises and startups entering the plant-based meat substitutes market over the last two years*.”

Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, notes: “Despite their high price compared to regular animal-derived meat, plant-based meat substitutes have met with a positive reception among Singaporeans due to their high household disposable incomes. Moreover, the city-state’s multi-ethnic demography and its tech-savvy youth are open to innovative food concepts. This resonates with the findings of GlobalData’s consumer survey, wherein 51% of Singapore respondents said they found ‘plant-based’ an essential or nice-to-have feature they actively look for when making a purchase**.”

Hill adds: “Singapore’s meat substitutes sector recorded a 56.5% growth spurt in annual value sales in 2020, followed by double-digit growth in 2021 and 2022. Hypermarkets & supermarkets contributed the bulk of retail sales of meat substitutes in 2022, followed by convenience stores. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, and cafés are also introducing dishes made with meat substitutes to their menus. As a result, Singapore’s per capita expenditure (PCE) on meat substitutes reached $1.03 by 2022, surpassing the average PCE for the Asia-Pacific at $0.05 and the global average PCE at $0.08 in 2022 *.”

Verghese concludes: “The government is leveraging the robust local research infrastructure and skilled labor pool to develop adjacent alternative protein spaces, particularly insect protein, lab-cultured meat, and precision fermentation. Reflecting the fast pace of development, Singapore made the landmark move of approving commercial sales of cultivated meat in December 2020, and just a year later, the US-based start-up Eat Just introduced its GOOD Meat brand of lab-grown chicken in restaurants across the country.

“The Singapore Food Agency recently announced plans to approve 16 species of insects, including crickets, silkworms, and grasshoppers for human consumption in the second half of 2023. These developments will have a knock-on impact on the domestic meat substitutes market.”

* GlobalData Consumer Intelligence Center ­– Market Analyzers, accessed in April 2023

** GlobalData Q4 2022 Consumer Survey – Singapore with 516 respondents, published in November 2022

Catch up with Tim Hill, Deepak Nautiyal, Sunny Lim, and Shobhit Krishna at the GlobalData pavilion at the FHA – Food & Beverage Singapore Expo 2023.

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Dan Rivard
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