Nutritional benefits ‘harder to sell’ than sustainability when seeking consumer acceptance


This was according to an expert panel that convened at the recent virtually-held Future Food Asia 2020 event and comprised of Dr Ralph Graichen (A*STAR Singapore), Dr Yukihiro Maru (Japanese research firm Leave a Nest) and Albert Tseng (China-focused plant-based venture firm Dao Foods).

In recent months, pioneering new-age plant-based meat firms like Impossible and Beyond Meat have come under scrutiny for being highly-processed and high in sodium and additives, and concerns have also been raised as to the ability of such products to fulfil consumers’ nutritional needs.

This means most of these firms are still focusing more on sustainability as a marketing and selling point as opposed to nutrition.

According to Dr Graichen, one of the reasons for this is that nutrition is essentially ‘harder to sell’.

“The nutritional concerns are being acknowledged and some of these companies are trying to catch up on the nutritional forefront, but this is quite difficult to sell, [especially] when compared to the sustainability and ‘future of food’ angle,”​ he said.

“This is because most consumers are currently buying based on the motivation to make sustainable and ethical choices, but not yet from a nutritional point of view.

“A lot of this talk about the future of food is based on what can be grown, how much can be grown, and sustainability, but rarely is nutrition ever mentioned. None of the published books I’ve read on the future of food had nutrition in the index either, and I feel that’s really telling.”


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