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Milk-free Milo and meatless 'pork': Nestlé and other brands bet big on plant-based food in Asia

April 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 17.7%. 1 min read.

Milo chocolate milk has been hugely popular in Southeast Asia for decades. Now the breakfast and teatime favorite is about to get shaken up — the cocoa powder will be offered as a dairy-free, ready-made beverage.

The product is one of Nestlé's newest plant-based inventions, and it will be launched in the region this week, the company told CNN Business.

(The company already offers plant-based Milo in Australia and New Zealand, but in the traditional powder form. )

The move is the latest example of businesses taking the plant-based trend to Asia.

In recent years, Western brands including Nestlé (NSRGY), Impossible and Beyond Meat (BYND) have tapped into a growing appetite for such food and drinks in the West.

Plant-based food is already popular in parts of Asia but its gaining new fans for a variety of reasons, from customers wanting to adopt a healthier diet, to concerns about the impact of meat on the environment.

"Now people say, 'Oh, plant-based is so prevalent in Hong Kong. '"

Last year, Nestlé set up its first factory for plant-based products in Asia, at a cost of 730 million yuan ($111. 5 million).

"We always like to say we're a third-generation product," said Blair Crichton, the co-founder of Karana, a Singapore-based startup, which sells imitation pork made from jackfruit.

Crichton noted that there has already been "a lot of innovation in Asia and some amazing product. " His company aims to pay homage to that by experimenting further with regional ingredients and serving up plant-based comfort food, such as dumplings and buns, or "baos. "

Johnson, who has been with Nestlé since the 1980s, said that the company has evolved internally as it races to go big in the plant-based space.

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