agrifood innovation in southeast asia

What is the Future of AgriFood Innovation in Southeast Asia?

Last week, the ReThink Agri-Food Innovation Week took place in Singapore for the first time. The three-day event featured talks by Singapore government officials, tech giants like Microsoft, local and international investors, plenty of startups and global agrifood businesses.

At one point during the event, the audience of 330 delegates was asked to answer 10 questions about how they view the future of agrifood innovation in Southeast Asia.

Delegates believe that genetic engineering is the most promising technology type to transform the region’s agriculture industry while they were willing to eat cell-cultured meat only if it was the same price as conventional meat. Keep reading for the survey in full.

Which technology offers the greatest potential to transform agriculture in Southeast Asia?

Genetic Engineering: 32%
Robotics and Automation: 27%
Farm Management Software: 22%
Blockchain: 11%
Bio-based Crop Protection: 8%
Agricultural Drones: 0%

What is the biggest obstacle to technology adoption by farmers in Southeast Asia?

Finance: 51%
Education: 29%
Policy: 12%
Telecoms: 8%
Transport 0%


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Which is the most important factor when you are deciding to pay for premium fresh produce?

Taste: 40%
Price: 25%
Health Benefits: 20%
Sustainability: 15%

How much premium would you be willing to pay for locally-grown fresh produce?

25% premium: 56%
50% premium: 25%
Nil: 15%
100% premium: 4%

What is likely to be the next market-dominant aquaculture fish species in Asia?

Tilapia: 56%
Barramundi: 28%
Pangasius/Catfish: 11%
Carp: 6%

Which is the most significant consumer concern driving the market for farmed fish?

Price: 52%
Taste: 19%
Health Benefits: 14%
Sustainability: 14%

What do you think will become the main protein source of the future as countries try to meet demand for food from a growing population?

Plant-based alternatives (e.g. soy, pea, mushrooms): 44%
Fish: 35%
Chicken: 21%
Beef: 0%
Pork: 0%

Are you willing to eat plant-based meat on a regular basis? If so, how much of a premium would you be willing to pay?

Yes – But only if it was of price parity with conventional meat: 59%
No – I would never choose plant-based over conventional meat: 17%
Yes – 25% premium: 17%
Yes – 100% premium: 5%
Yes – 50% premium: 2%

Are you willing to eat cultured/cell-based meat (i.e. meat grown from single animal cell in the lab) on a regular basis? If so, how much of a premium would you be willing to pay?

Yes – But only if it is of price parity with conventional meat: 58%
Yes – 25% premium: 17%
Yes – 50% premium: 8%
Yes – 100% premium: 8%
No, never: 8%

What is the biggest challenge faced by alternative protein companies today?

Difficulty in scaling up/High production costs: 61%
Low consumer awareness / acceptance of alternative proteins: 25%
Unclear regulatory pathway: 8%
Lack of funding: 6%
Lack of channels to market: 0%

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