In this episode of the FNA Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Co-Founder and CEO of Thailand’s More Meat, Kanwra Tanachotevorapong (Minnie). More Meat is best-known for having revolutionized the use of splitgill mushrooms, a local native mushroom species that grows on rubber trees, into meat alternatives.
More Meat has seen some significant success with widespread national supermarket presence of its plain unseasoned product, made plain and unflavoured on purpose in response to consumer demand for a healthier ingredient to cook meals from scratch with in order to control sodium intake – but now the firm is also venturing into items that are a little more flavoured with RTC products.
“This portfolio expansion is really also due to consumer demand – there are many who want to be able to cook from scratch and have a plain canvas with which to add their own herbs, sauces, spices and so on to, but there are also many who simply don’t have the time to do this and need something quick yet healthier than the average pre-processed instant meal,” Tanachotevorapong told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Another factor here is in the economics of it – many of our consumers are either in small families or single, and have found it to be very cost-ineffective to cook from scratch. For instance, to cook a dish like kra pow they’d need a lot of basil and certain herbs and spices, and then the next day for dish like green curry they’d need curry leaves and other things – and these days the raw food ingredients are so expensive that buying all of these items is not cheap, and not economically worth it.
“There’s also a food waste factor, where at the end of the day many of us have unused bags of herbs and vegetables left over from making different dishes sitting in the fridge and going to waste, as most people don’t have the time to use these up daily or quickly enough.”
These factors propelled the firm to create a new RTC line, with products ‘in the middle’ of the raw ingredient – ready-to-eat (RTE) spectrum of foods, a sector which Tanachotevorapong believes is at a very infant stage for the meat alternative sector in the country.
“Our first product was really a base ingredient for cooking with, and in Thailand there are many RTE plant-based foods from chips to snacks and so on, but there really aren’t any options out there in this area that are RTC, so that’s where we hope to grow,” she said.
“One thing we do know is that although many consumers need that convenience of easy-to-prepare items, they also crave that hands-on experience of doing at least some minimal cooking so as to have that kitchen experience and that freshness perception.
“Another area of emphasis for us with this line is also the use of fresh local Thai herbs and spices, as opposed to using powders or other preprocessed forms of flavourings so as to ensure that things are still kept as clean and healthy as possible.”
Listen to the podcast above to find out more, including Tanachotevorapong’s insights on how her experience being an air stewardess launched her down the food entrepreneurship path.