Product images from PLNT
PLNT is a Dutch manufacturer of plant-based meat and seafood. One of their signature products, PLNT Crab won the majority vote for the Alternative Protein Asia Best In Show-Audience award at this year’s FHA – Food and Beverage. We caught up with Hansie Conradie, Sales Executive to learn more about their experience at the event and what makes their products unique.
PLNT’s Hansie Conradie receiving the Audience Award from Janice Lee, Event Director, FHA – Food & Beverage.
“PLNT has been part of the FHA family since 2022 and both times we were amazed by the quality of visitors at the stand. The show is very well organized and we look forward to attending FHA every year from now.”
Q: How was your experience at FHA 2023?
PLNT has been part of the FHA family since 2022 and both times we were amazed by the quality of visitors at the stand. The show is very well organized and we look forward to attending FHA every year from now. People are friendly, inquisitive and funny. Of course it helps that our products are also very well accepted (with the element of surprise because of the taste) and our chef always cooks up something traditional and in line with the local taste profiles. Our plant-based beef rendang and crab were the ultimate favourites.
Q: How do consumer preferences differ in Asia compared to other markets?
Asian consumer preferences have been different for as long as one can remember. The style and culture makes Asia a popular destination for westerners because it is so different to what we are used to. Asia is an awesome market to showcase diversity and different products as the Asian taste profile is unique. It is refreshing to see that the culture is open to accept a plant-based meat successor as one of their food options.
Q: How is PLNT adjusting your products for different regional markets?
“It is important to offer a product that would fit into any taste profile because you would be able to cook it any way you like.”
We have really dedicated a lot of time and investment to ensure that our PLNT products are easy to cook with, taste great but most of all, healthy. It is important to offer a product that would fit into any taste profile because you would be able to cook it any way you like, by adding your own twist to the meal, flavouring or not flavouring it the way you like (just as you would do with your normal day to day cooking) and adding whatever side meal you like with it. PLNT products are flexible like this because we focus on the mouth feel, the texture and the nutritional values to complete the whole experience.
Q: How do PLNT’s products differ from other plant-based meat and seafood firms in the market?
“The most important differentiating factor is that we have a massive range of products, and when I say massive, I mean around 35 different products and the number is still growing. We want the consumer to have the option to alternate between different products to offer a full selection of choices.”
We do all of our R&D and production in house. Nothing gets outsourced, this is one of our USP’s because we can make changes to recipes, adjust product specifications when required and this saves a lot of time. A lot of other brands outsource their production. We also source all our raw material from as close to the factory as possible and only from sustainable suppliers, like our soy comes from a factory in Austria, which uses natural resources to produce and extract the soy.
But I think the most important differentiating factor is that we have a massive range of products, and when I say massive, I mean around 35 different products and the number is still growing. We want the consumer to have the option to alternate between different products to offer a full selection of choice. If you are in the mood for a burger, a snack or a proper cooked meal, our products have it all available. But apart from having the biggest range available, we really focus on taste because that is the most important part of any food product. Why would you eat something if it does not taste great!
Q: What are the challenges faced in growing the brand?
The biggest challenge we have faced to date is the fact that there are a lot of manufacturers “jumping onto the bandwagon”. By that I mean that with the plant based trend that really started booming in 2020 during the pandemic, a lot of companies saw it as an opportunity to make a quick buck, not really focusing on the taste of the product or the nutritional values of the products, they just wanted to have a product to sell. The problem we have with this is that the consumer who is keen to experience plant based product tried a product that does not taste so good and you lose them. Because no matter how great a product you give them to try again, they will say that “no sorry, I’ve tried it and not interested in plant-based”. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of competitors with products that taste great. We all work together for the same goals – sustainability of our planet, the health of the population and working together to secure a better future for all.
Q: What new products can we expect from PLNT at FHA 2024?
We at PLNT are constantly working on new products and already have a few surprises up our sleeve for next year. So don’t want to say too much but what I can say is that the new products that we will bring will take the audience by surprise like our PLNT Plant Based Crab that won the Audience Award at the show this year.
The PLNT team at FHA – Food and Beverage 2023.
Looking to expand your business into the Asian market?
FHA – Food and Beverage returns next year on 23-26 April 2024 at Singapore Expo. With a line-up of leading global suppliers, industry professionals can anticipate the most extensive showcase of trending F&B and hospitality products and solutions, cutting-edge technologies for food & drinks manufacturing, and more at the mega event. Contact us to get involved.