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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Updated on May 24th, 2023
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Let’s Plant Meat 2023: Tasty, Healthy & Sustainable

Smith Taweelerdniti is a prominent figure in the Thai food industry and the co-founder of Let's Plant Meat, a leading plant-based meat company based in Thailand. Let's Plant Meat is dedicated to creating innovative and delicious meat alternatives that are not only healthy but also sustainable. In addition to their products, Let's Plant Meat is also promoting a campaign called "Wen Day on Wednesday," which encourages people to skip meat on Wednesdays to reduce their carbon footprint and promote a healthier lifestyle.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Let's Plant Meat and the mission of the company? How did you identify the need for plant-based meat alternatives in the Thai market?

In 2018, I became interested in the connection between food and health after reading books about the topic. As I delved deeper, I realized that proper nutrition was about more than just eating good-tasting food - it was about preventing diseases and living a longer life. I learned that avoiding meat was one area that could help improve overall health.

I experimented with a plant-based diet to explore the connection between food and health. Through research, I discovered Beyond Meat, a company that uses technology to create plant-based meat. I wondered if this could be a solution for a society with high-priced and low-variety food options. My journey led me to consider how we could create affordable plant-based options for people in Asia, beyond just burgers, but also incorporating traditional dishes like Thai spicy basil stir-fry. 

Secondly, I live in Northern Thailand and we are currently experiencing a problem with smoke and haze caused by farmers burning fields. This lasts for around 3-4 months each year. I believe that we are the ones creating this issue, and we need to be aware of the impact of our choices, such as consuming meat. I want to create options for people to continue eating ‘meat’ while also being mindful of the environment. We need to educate people about where their meat comes from and its impact on the environment, and work towards a more sustainable and healthier version of meat consumption.

What sets Let's Plant Meat apart from other plant-based meat companies, both in Thailand and globally? What unique advantages or features does your product offer?

My family's business involves producing spices and food seasoning powder and we aim to extend into plant-based proteins. We want to offer tasty and convenient plant-based meat products to consumers, and we have the expertise to create delicious flavors using our herbs and spices. We are also focused on making our products relevant to Thai and Asian consumers by using local herbs and spices. Our goal is to turn traditional meat-based recipes into plant-based options that taste just as good, such as creating plant-based sausage strips that can be added to dishes. Our products offer a clear and enjoyable eating experience, and we believe they are something special that can stand out in the market.

Can you walk us through the process of developing and producing your plant-based meat products? What are some of the key ingredients and techniques used to create the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of your products?

Our plant-based meat products are made from three categories of ingredients: non-GMO soy protein concentrates, rice protein concentrates, and a combination of coconut oil and rice bran oil for the fat content. We use plant-based cellulose and seaweed extracts as binding agents, and add real spices such as garlic and pepper for flavor. We do not use any animal-based ingredients in our products.

How do you see the market for plant-based meat evolving in Thailand and the wider region in the coming years? What are some of the challenges and opportunities you foresee?

During the COVID lockdown, we launched our plant-based products in 2020, and it drew attention to many brands in the country. We were among 10-15 locally made plant-based brands available in supermarkets. While some people were excited to try something new, others were hesitant. As the COVID restrictions eased, people started going out to restaurants and were more interested in enjoying their favorite foods. However, we still saw a continued growth in double digits from people who valued healthy food products. To penetrate the mainstream market, we need to do more than just make the product and sell it in supermarkets.

Finally, what are some of the long-term goals and aspirations for Let's Plant Meat? Are there any exciting new products or projects on the horizon that you can share with us?

In addition to selling our plant-based products, I also want to make a connection with our customers and help them understand how intensive meat consumption can harm our health and the environment around us. As we sell more of our products, we hope to convert more people to plant-based eating, reducing their carbon footprints one meal at a time. Our goal is to create exciting Thai and Southeast Asian plant-based products that have the potential to enter other markets. Currently, we are exporting our Tom Yum spicy sausages to Japan, and this has given us the opportunity to reach a global audience. We want our customers to know that our brand is committed to protecting the planet and choosing sustainable practices.

Our brand is a part of the Thailand Future Food Trade Association, which includes various plant-based brands. We have a campaign called "Wen Day on Wednesday," which is similar to Meatless Monday but specifically for Wednesdays in Thailand. We want to make it relevant to consumers and encourage restaurants to offer plant-based options on Wednesdays. Our goal is to promote the idea that reducing meat consumption can help the environment and create a healthier lifestyle. We want to be the leader in future food in Thailand and export our products globally while also promoting local creations and excellence in food products. It's a project that we want to work on together as a community.

If you would like to find out more about Let’s Plant Meat, visit https://www.letsplantmeat.co/ or follow on https://www.instagram.com/letsplantmeat/ or https://www.facebook.com/letsplantmeat/

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