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West is not a feast

Daryl Guppy
Daryl Guppy4/22/2022 10:06 AM GMT+08  • 6 min read
West is not a feast
Eating habits run deeper than the cultural differences, so investors embracing plant-based meat substitutes need to carefully evaluate the market suitability (Credit: Bloomberg)
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I am not a vegetarian, but I do have Buddhist colleagues and when we eat together in Singapore I respect their food choices. We are often presented with a broad menu that includes artfully disguised meats made from soy bean paste. Here is a delightful array of prawns, fish and beef. The vegetables served with these meat look-alike dishes are the standard vegetable fare and instantly recognisable. The other tofu and bean curd dishes are served on fancy plates that do not lift them much above the ordinary.

For those who are not vegetarian — like myself — these menu choices can almost convince us that we are eating meat. For those not fully committed to Buddhist vegetarianism, the display satisfies both their desire for meat and for vegetarian virtue.

This style of presentation of imitation meat fits neatly into a Western cuisine and there is growing demand for these meat substitutes. The vegan food sector is forecast to be worth US$12 billion ($16 billion) by 2023.

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