Mitr Phol Group, Asia’s largest sugar producer, has made a new investment in Meat Avatar Co, a food technology startup, as it diversifies into the plant-based meat business to catch the trend in future food in Thailand and overseas.
Both companies expect to see revenue reach 100 million baht by the end of this year, said Voradate Chantasatkoso, manager for energy and new business development of Mitr Phol Group.
He did not reveal the value of the investment.
Thailand is a high potential market for this type of food because of more public awareness of healthcare issues and the trend for vegetarian food in the country.
Mitr Phol expects the value of plant-based food products in the Thai market to reach 45 billion baht by 2024, with a growth of 10% a year.
“We focus on innovations and high technologies that can add value to agricultural products,” said Mr Voradate.
His company currently runs a research and development centre in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum to develop new products.
The investment in Meat Avatar will lead to a new business opportunity to promote plant-based products through more R&D on new healthy food and better production process to serve increasing demand in the market.
Mitr Phol also aims to expand customer base by applying its expertise and decades of experience in the food industry.
The company owns production facilities in many countries.
These factors will pave the way for Mitr Phol and Meat Avatar to enhance competitiveness and expand the market overseas.
Wiphu Loetsuraphibun, chief executive of Meat Avatar, said his company has already developed two products — crispy and minced pork — derived from plants. Crispy and minced pork are key ingredients in a range of local dishes.
His company has 10 more products in the pipeline, scheduled to be launched later this year.
“We will first focus on the Thai market before expanding the business into the Asean market,” said Mr Wiphu.
Meat Avatar believes the investment will help it increase production capacity for the business expansion plan.
The company not only aims to be a leader in the plant-based food business but also wants its technology to support Thai farmers by adding value to farm produce.
“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,” said Mr Wiphu.