Royal DSM bites into plant-based proteins trend

Booth of Dutch company Royal DSM. [Photo/IC]

Dutch company Royal DSM said it is optimistic about the plant-based protein market in China, vowing to take proactive measures to further explore the emerging market in the country.

With China's ever-climbing per capita disposable income to double in 15 years, its consumers are attaching more importance to balanced diets and quality proteins. DSM, whose nutritional products range from vitamins to dietary supplements, will seize the opportunity and continue to customize protein solutions for Chinese consumers, said Dino Asvaintra, president of hydrocolloids at DSM Food and Beverage.

Hydrocolloids are natural water-soluble polysaccharides used in foods to create texture.

The company restructured the food and beverage business group last year to better respond to the rising demand for plant-based consumables, eyeing "good growth" in the categories of dairy, baking and beverages.

Asvaintra said the company has been working on creating plant-based solutions with both taste and texture to be more like animal meat to better serve the increasing demand in the country.

As Chinese consumers are attaching more importance to health and nutrition, the company will continuously explore different kinds of texture and taste possibilities in China with similar nutritional value combinations as those of animal meat, he said.

China has always been a big source of innovation for DSM in plant-based meat solutions, he said.

The country now contributes about 13 percent of DSM's global revenue. The percentage is expected to continue rising in the country, which is not only a key market and production base but also an innovation hub for many multinational corporations.

A recent survey conducted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed some 86 percent of the respondents are satisfied with China's policies on stabilizing foreign investment, and the majority of foreign companies in China still see the country as one of their main strategic markets, despite challenges to their businesses triggered by COVID-19 resurgences.

"China has strong economic resilience and great potential, and its sound long-term fundamentals will not change," said Wang Chunying, deputy head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

Since DSM began trading with China as early as 1963, the company currently has 18 manufacturing sites and about 4,800 employees in the country. The animal nutrition and health, and the human health, nutrition and care sectors have also witnessed rapid development in the past few years.

With rising demand and attention to nutrition and plant-based solutions, as well as the growing number of elderly people in the country, the company will stay committed to the Chinese market and will further expand its presence in China in the food and beverage sector.

It will also attach more importance to pet foods and easily edible nutritional solutions for the elderly, eyeing the massive growth potential in these sectors, said Asvaintra.

In 2021, DSM saw its sales in China rise 17 percent year-on-year, said Zhou Tao, president of DSM China.

After decades of development, DSM has seen itself grow from a representative office to a company that brings over 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in annual revenue, with 18 plants spread out across China.

"We have really enjoyed the growth of China and DSM is optimistic about the continuous growth in the Chinese market," Zhou said.

Editor: Jiang Feifan