The new plant-based lab will combine ADM’s technical expertise in protein ingredients, texture and flavour to create plant-based meat alternatives in beef, pork, chicken and seafood formats as well as dairy alternatives for beverages and ice cream.
The plant-based innovation lab will join the existing flavour creation and analytic lab, beverage and dairy applications lab and pilot plant, bakery and confectionery lab, and sensory evaluation facility in the 1,078 sqm facility in Singapore.
Dirk Oyen, ADM’s Human Nutrition vice president and general manager of South East Asia told FoodNavigator-Asia: “This is ADM’s first dedicated plant-based innovation lab in Asia. In Singapore, we not only have the protein, texture, flavour expertise but also the ability to scale up in a wet pilot plant which is dedicated for plant based, and culinary lab all under one roof.”
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The global plant-based market is set to reach US$21 billion by 2025, driven by consumers’ ethical, health and environmental concerns. Asia is tipped to be the largest region for plant-based food consumption, with growing consumer demand for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.
According to ADM’s 2021 Global Trends report, demand for plant-based protein products is expanding beyond just burger analogues to new and novel products, including alternative seafoods like shellfish and shrimp, plant-based cheeses, ready-to-eat protein snacks and more.
In the dairy alternative category, it is an early leader in the plant-based nutrition space, and growing to encompass other formats such as yoghurt, ice cream, butter, spreads and creamers.
Last year, India-based plant-based food start-up Imagine Meats announced it was working with ADM to launch a meat alternative range consisting of kebab, biryani and curry products.
ADM chose Singapore as the location for the plant-based innovation lab because, “of its geographical location. It is a diverse place where we have an opportunity to taste many different cuisines,” said Nicole Yo, head of flavor creation, APAC, ADM.
According to Oyen, people in South East Asia are no stranger to plant-based products such as soy and tempeh, but “for any product to be successful, it has to adhere to local taste and become locally relevant.”
“Within this innovation lab, we have a flavour creation lab where we can create flavors that suit the local taste palate,” Yo added.
ADM hopes the plant-based innovation lab not only creates new solutions for the Asian market, but hopes that it would better serve customers around the world looking to incorporate Asian flavors and preferences into their latest plant-based food and beverage innovations.
ADM’s other plant-based labs are located in Germany and US.
In Asia, ADM’s other innovation centers are located in China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia.
Besides food, the innovation center in Singapore is also capable of creating oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash with its flavor capabilities.
Oyen told us ADM was also running its first plant-based perfection challenge, an initiative opened to students from Institute of Higher Learning in Singapore, where students pitch ideas and enter a cookout challenge.