Watcharapon Prasopkiatpoka, managing director of Cargill Protein Southeast Asia has an interview with The Story Thailand.
Q: How do you see the direction of the global agricultural industry and Thailand?
A: Agriculture has played a major role in Thailand’s development and has diversified significantly to meet the increasing demands of the domestic and global markets. Cargill is the largest exporter of cooked poultry products in Thailand. We continue to grow the country’s food and agriculture industry and strengthen its position as a key player in the global food supply chain.
By investing in technology innovation, we can make our supply chains as efficient and sustainable as possible – as we work to nourish those in Thailand and around the world. Cargill’s strategy for both food and feed is based on helping customers thrive in a world where demand for protein is rising. We are advancing both animal and alternative protein products to meet the expected 70% growth in global demand for protein over the next 30 years.
Q: How is the “plant-based protein” market in Thailand likely to grow and in which direction?
A: We believe that plant-based protein market in Thailand will continue to grow. Thai consumers have become more health conscious in recent times. They look for products that provide useful nutrients but do not compromise on taste. Therefore, plant-based protein products should still be delicious and allow consumers to experience new flavors. Manufacturers should consider taste as a priority and develop food technology that can bring delicious plant-based protein products to the market.
Q: Who are the fans (customers) of “Cargill” in the “plant-based protein” market in Thailand?
A: Our fan club includes flexitarians who are starting to take care of themselves and their health more by eating more nutritious food together with exercising. This group of consumers cares about delicious taste as well as nutrition. They look for products that provide useful nutrients and are easy to digest like plant-based protein.
Q: What are the main competitive points for the “plant-based protein” products market?
A: Many brands are competing in the market to satisfy consumers, therefore taste and option are considered a competitive differentiation. As consumers may have different needs and experiences of trying healthy food, they may not buy products again because the taste is not satisfying and the options are limited.
Q: What are Cargill’s strengths?
A: Taste is our priority. We care about taste as much as the nutritional value. Cargill has an R&D team and Innovation centers located across the region. As we make strategic investments in alternative protein, we bring together global and local insights and technology, focusing on the development, research, creating, adjusting the taste of plant-based protein like nugget to deliver the taste and texture that Thai consumers desire. As a food manufacturer, we are committed to sustainable manufacturing. PlantEver™ uses environmentally friendly energy. We use alternative energy at our production to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.
Q: What are the marketing challenges for “plant-based protein”?
A: Plant-based products remain a niche market. As consumers may not be aware of the benefits or flavors of plant-based protein, they are reluctant to try the products. Also, given that the products don’t deliver the taste and texture like real meat. In addition, there are not many choices in plant-based product category. As a manufacturer, Cargill believes that we should bring more options to consumers with the launch of our PlantEver™ products. We believe that plant-based protein is the future of alternative protein that consumers are looking for.