In a gastronomic shift that’s turning plates green and redefining culinary landscapes, plant-based proteins have recently gained ground in Malaysia. Thanks to a wave of fresh brands and exciting product launches, Malaysians are discovering a new world of dining possibilities that’s both good for them and the planet.

GlobalData’s latest research has unveiled some key factors propelling the popularity of plant-based meat substitutes in Malaysia. It turns out that people are drawn to these options not only because they’re good for their health, but also because they’re a more ethical and eco-friendly choice. The flavors, appearance, price, and easy access to these products also play a significant role in their growing appeal.

The survey also highlights something interesting about people’s priorities. While many are excited about the health and sustainability aspects, some are still mindful of their wallets. Only about a third of those surveyed believe that plant-based options are generally cheaper than their animal-based counterparts. This shows that while values are changing, budget considerations still play a role in food choices.

Taking a practical approach to this trend, some forward-thinking companies are looking at producing these alternatives locally. This not only saves on costs but also reduces the carbon footprint, making the products even more environmentally friendly. Malaysia’s diverse agriculture offers an abundance of options, like jackfruit, durian, bamboo, rice, pineapple, and banana, which can replace imported soy protein.

Entry Nanka, a plant-based meat company that caught Lever’s eye and earned financial backing for its innovative products. Founded by Ahmad Syafik Jaafar and food technologist Amirah Mohd Noh, Nanka’s star product is a jackfruit-based burger patty, capturing the essence of local flavors. The brand has expanded its offerings to include nuggets, balls, hotdogs, and minced meat alternatives – all packed with the goodness of plant-based ingredients.

At the heart of Nanka’s mission is a homegrown hero – jackfruit. This versatile fruit, native to Malaysia, not only brings a unique texture to plant-based meat but also thrives in the local climate, making it a sustainable choice.

As Malaysian taste buds evolve and the culinary landscape transforms, the rise of plant-based proteins is more than just a trend – it’s a reflection of changing values and a desire for a healthier and more sustainable future. Brands like Nanka are leading the way, offering a menu that’s kind to our bodies and the environment we share.


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