Leading sugar firm invests in plant-based meat startup

Thailand’s Mitr Phol Group, the largest sugar producer in Asia, made an investment last week in Meat Avatar, a food-tech startup, as the company expands into plant-based and other meat alternatives.

“We focus on innovations and high technologies that can add value to agricultural products,” said Voradate Chantasatkoso, Manager for New Business Development at Mitr Phol Group.

Plant-based meats and alternative proteins have been taking off in Thailand over the past 2-3 years. Major Thai food companies have been investing in alternative protein startups and conducting their own research and development, including seafood corporation Thai Union and Charoen Pokphand Foods, the Kingdom’s largest food company.

Mitr Pohl is the fifth-largest sugar-producing company in the world, and is privately owned. Its businesses also include wood substitute materials and renewable energy. Thailand as a nation usually ranks second after Brazil for global sugar exports.

Voradate said that Mitr Pohl believes the value of plant-based food products in the Thai market to reach $1.5 billion by 2024, at a growth of 10 percent a year.

Wiphu Loetsuraphibun, Chief Executive of Meat Avatar said that his company has already developed two products –plant-based crispy and minced pork, which are the main ingredients in many local dishes.

He added that his company has 10 more products to be launched later this year.   “We will first focus on the Thai market before expanding the business into the Southeast Asia market,” Wiphu said.

“We want to offer non-meat food, which will not be limited to vegan-friendly burgers but also cover a wide array of other types of plant-based meat to satisfy diverse needs of consumers in the future,” Wiphu said.

Photo courtesy of https://meatavatar.com/