Meat alternatives surge for South Korea’s food industry

More non-vegetarians are seeking out alternative meat.

Demand for meat alternatives is surging in South Korea’s food industry, as a growing number of Koreans are gaining interest in health, leaving them scrambling to expand relevant businesses, Korea Bizwire reported.

Local meal-kit producer Fresheasy recently won operating rights in South Korea for v2food, an Australian meat substitute producer. Starting in the third quarter, Fresheasy will develop food products using meat substitutes for distribution to restaurants. By the fourth quarter, the company will begin producing various meal kits that use meat substitutes.

Meanwhile, Shinsegae Food’s No Brand Burger sold 100,000 No Chicken Nuggets, made with plant-based meat, in the first 30 days after they were introduced in April. The restaurant produced another 200,000 nuggets for May, only to sell out again after only one month.

Fast-food chain Lotteria also sold 2.4 million meat substitute burgers last year after their introduction in January. Meanwhile, local tofu giant Pulmuone is currently developing plant-based protein for six categories of food, including the production of alternative meat.

Food industry insiders explained that the rise in demand for alternative meat is fueled by consumer interest in health, noting that when they were consumed mostly by vegetarians in the past, meat substitutes are gaining popularity amongst non-vegetarians as well.

The rise of environmental, social, and governance management in the business sector is seen as a growth factor for meat substitutes. “Consumers worldwide are looking for meat substitutes for their healthy and nutritious qualities,” an industry source said.

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