Thailand's CP Foods has entered the alternative meat market and done so with high levels of ambition and its sights set on being a category leader.

Already one of Asia’s leading broiler producers and strongly placed in other animal protein sectors, CP Foods is aiming to make its new plant-based meat range the best selling range of its kind in Asia by 2022, and a top three offering globally within the next 3-5 years.

CP’s range of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products is being marketed under the Meat Zero brand name and has come about following significant research and development over the last few years.

The company worked with experts in the U.S. and Japan, along with Thai universities  the develop its own production technology which it calls Plant-Tech.

CP Foods has noted that demand for meatless food has been “rocketing” but that consumer options are too often pricey and difficult to find. Meat Zero, it says, is the answer to these difficulties, being priced at a level similar to that of real meat.

The product range is already available though 7-Eleven and other trade outlets across Thailand and will be simultaneously rolled out in markets across Asia, Europe and the U.S.

Meat Zero contains “high-fiber plant-base protein, which is good for the intestine and bowel and is low in cholesterol”. CP Foods Chief Executive Officer, Mr Prasit Boondougrasert, notes that the new range is as tasty as real meat and consumers are barely able to tell if they are eating plants or real meats.

That CP Foods is entering the alternative proteins market should not come as such a surprise. It already offers in excess of over 2,500 products, so the addition of plant-based chicken nuggets or crispy pork, or plant-based stir-fried rice, could be seen as a simple extension of its already broad product range.

Global branch-out

The company expects its new plant-based range to generate in excess of US$30 million within the next couple of years, but will it reach a top three position worldwide?

With operations and investments in at lease 14 countries and exporting to 40 markets around the world, CP would appear to have the infrastructure in place to make Meat Zero a success. Additionally, it announced expansion plans for 17 countries in late 2019.

And it’s new plant-based offering, launched with the slogan “Start now to change the world”, already has young celebrity endorsement in its home market, aligning the products with just the right demographic.

For anyone thinking of entering the plant-based market, this might be a range to keep an eye on.