Report points to post COVID-19 opportunities for protein and produce industries

New findings from research firm Mintel points to several challenges and opportunities for animal proteins, meat alternatives and produce in a post-COVID-19 world. The depth of these insights is threefold: the approach towards meat consumption, a shift in health and nutritional mindset and a refined definition of sustainability and its impact on the bottom line.

Preferential approach to meat consumption
Mintel’s report suggests a shift of consumer preferences away from buying meat and looking towards substitutes. Preference for smaller quantities and lower frequency shopping insinuates buyers opting for processed meat alternatives. Due to low switching costs and plenty of alternates, businesses should be aware of a change in demand for unprocessed meat products.
What’s more, switching to plant-based protein to achieve the same nourishment will become increasingly more common. The report suggests that 66% of women in India already derive most of their protein intake from plant-based foods. The popularity of plant-based foods is also increasing in China – shifting away from heavy animal-based protein consumption.
Other than COVID-19, the onset of other diseases such as swine flu or bird flu also perpetuates negative attitudes toward zoonotically-originated food sources. This finding is critical when considering the origins of viruses specific to the Asia-Pac region and building trust with consumers. “COVID-19 is already used to promote an anti-animal agriculture agenda,” mentioned the report.

Health and nutritional value offering
To protect against COVID-19 and other viruses, foods that boost general and immune health is also increasing in popularity. Concerning the APAC region, 54% of Chinese seniors and 47% of Thai consumers value immunity and incorporate it into their diet. Health has always been a reliable driver in food buying behaviour. Still, the onset of COVID-19 has heavily influenced these motivations even more.
Mintel suggests driving home the role of protein in immune health to consumers to accommodate this demand shift. As animal-based protein sources decrease in popularity, doubling down on both these aspects will ameliorate a firm's position in providing plant-based protein goods.

A holistic view of sustainability
Lastly, the reports said as sustainable development affects all businesses in the APAC region and globally. Food is the centre of several issues, such as food security and ethical sourcing. Given that the current landscape calls for hard-nosed sustainability agendas, businesses should become more aware of how to execute their CSR properly and evaluate their social impact accordingly. (Image from Unsplash)

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