October 11, 20222022年 10月 11日
“We feel honored to be the first Indonesian company in Lever’s portfolio. It is an incredible experience that we went through together during the investment process and the most important thing, it is not just about investment, we also learn a lot about alternative protein space and get connected to their network.”
-Widyau Putra, Founder, Meatless Kingdom
Culinary tradition is priceless. Whether we like it or not, it keeps us anchored to our roots; it offers us something to be proud of and share with the rest of the world. However, tradition without awareness destroys the very history it seeks to preserve: food can come at a high cost to the environment and farm animals. Animal protein in particular has the greatest impact on natural resources (land and freshwater supplies) and accounts for 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions of the global food system.
Every year, approximately 70 billion land animals are farmed for food worldwide, most of which live in deplorable conditions on factory farms. When it comes to whether we should compromise tradition for ethics, an Indonesian start-up believes it has come up with a solution.
Meatless Kingdom is a plant-based meat company founded in 2016 by fermentation specialist Widya Putra, along with co-founders Fernando Agusto and Adrianus Louis, to recreate traditional Indonesian foods from plants. When launching their new meat alternative line, Meatless Kingdom’s team aimed to achieve three things to compete with conventional meat in Indonesia: for their products to be convenient for the average consumer to eat; for the primary ingredients to include locally grown mushrooms due to their high nutritional value, meaty texture and low carbon footprint; and for their product lines to be plant-based versions of iconic, traditional Indonesian foods.
Merging Tradition and Sustainability
Today, Meatless Kingdom’s range features plant-based gepuk (a sweet and spicy fried beef dish), siomay (steamed fish dumpling), rendang (a braised meat dish from West Sumatra) and nuggets, as well as Western-styled meat products. As a fully plant-based brand, their products use 99% less water and create 74% less CO2 emissions than conventional animal-based meat, while also preventing the suffering of many animals.
While Indonesia’s plant-based scene is still in its infancy, many consumers there have had a favorable experience with plant-based protein. According to recent data, 78% of the population has tried alternative meat products, with nearly a quarter sharing a desire to switch to a fully plant-based diet. By offering plant-based foods founded on traditional dishes, Meatless Kingdom is not just poised to capitalize on the growing interest in plant-based meats but also to provide local residents with delicious, familiar offerings that have deep ties to the region and its past.
The affordability of Meatless Kingdom’s products (a critical attribute in a large emerging economy like Indonesia), paired with its sustainability and unique position in the country, made Meatless Kingdom a great partner for Lever Foundation, which made a program-related investment into the company earlier this year to help support their growth. Lever has also been helping the company develop its branding and packaging further and teeing up introductions to potential additional buyers. We look forward to working with Meatless Kingdom to increase their ability to offer Indonesians their favorite foods without the need to choose between traditions and animal and environmental protection.
This work happened because of the support of people like you. Please consider donating today to build a more humane and sustainable protein supply in Asia.