According to Euromonitor, a global market research firm, South Korea's alternative meat market stood at about 20 billion won ($15.6 million) in 2022, up 28 percent from 2021's 16.5 billion won. The market is projected to reach 32.1 billion won in 2025. Vegetarian or vegan cultures are not very popular in South Korea with some two million vegans as of 2021 but the number is steadily increasing thanks to people who look for a healthier diet.
Normally, alternative meat products are made only with vegetable ingredients including mushrooms, beans, and other non-meat ingredients. Ingredients are processed to have a similar texture and taste to meat products but some people find vegetarian meat unsavory because of such unique characteristics. Cultivated meat is lab-grown meat that has the same texture and taste as real meat without the need for butchering live animals. However, lab-grown meat products have not yet been fully commercialized because of their high costs.
Pulmuone, which launched an alternative meat product brand in 2022, said that the company forged a partnership with Simple Planet to commercialize cultivated meat products. The food maker will also make investments to accelerate the commercialization process and acquire new technologies, but details are yet to be announced, a Pulmuone official told Aju Business Daily on February 13.
Through the partnership with Simple Planet, the two companies will co-develop and commercialize hybrid cultivated meat products, which are a mixture of conventional vegetable-based alternative meat ingredients and lab-grown meat ingredients. Hybrid meat that offers real meat-like texture and taste will be commercialized by 2025, the food maker said.
The South Korean food maker has been preparing for the alternative market for many years. In 2020, the company forged a partnership with American food tech company BlueNalu, specializing in cultivated seafood such as tuna-like fish meat, to share know-how of alternative meat production.
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