Thai big energy firm moving into alternative proteins

Vegan food production is going mainstream in Thailand as state energy conglomerate PTT announced last week it has formed a joint venture with Nove Foods to produce alternative proteins and “food for the future.”

Nove Foods is a unit of NR Instant Produce, the first company listed on Thailand’s stock exchange to produce vegan foods and plant-based proteins. Danai Pathomvanich, NR Instant’s CEO, said that his company’s goal was to become one the world’s leading producers of alternative and plant-based proteins – both for its own foods and for other companies.

“We are aiming to become the Foxconn of alternative proteins,” Danai said, referencing the tech company that manufactures and supplies parts for Apple and other consumer high-tech firms.

“This business matches the ‘Food for Future’ concept, which is trending and has the potential to generate high demand,” said Buranin Rattanasombat, PTT’s Senior Executive Vice-President for Downstream Businesses. “It is also in line with PTT’s new rapid growth strategy in the life sciences field.”

The new joint venture firm has yet to be given a name, but Buranin said the PTT would own 50 percent of its shares. He expects it will begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Veganism is still a growing phenomenon in Thailand, although alternative protein products can be found in some supermarkets, while vegan restaurants are increasing in number.

Vegans and vegan advocates in Thailand say the dietary approach is mostly catching on with the younger generation who have become more aware and concerned with issues such as health conscience, climate change, as well as animal agriculture and rights.

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