Vegetarian Chickenjoy? Jollibee supplier eyes piece of 'meat-free' market

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 04:08 PM

Vegetarian Chickenjoy? Jollibee supplier eyes piece of 'meat-free' market 1
Consumers walk past a Jollibee Chickenjoy sign in Manila. The Philippines' largest fast-food operator is on a global acquisition binge. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Cargill Philippines said it plans to bring plant-based meat alternatives to the country soon, as people are becoming more health-conscious.

Cargill, which supplies chicken to fast-food giant Jollibee, said it is aiming for a piece of the meat-free market as local poultry producers such as Century Pacific Food are already offering plant-based meats for Philippine restaurants such as Shakeys.

"We have a participation in plant-based protein somewhere in the world, but not yet in the Philippines. But yes, definitely this is an interesting space...that's still in the works," said Cargill Philippines President Sonny Catacutan said in an interview with ANC's Market Edge on Thursday.

Cargill is also looking to expand its retail footprint and into digital commerce, seeing "a lot of promise and success" especially with the advent of the stay-at-home lifestyle.

"For our poultry biz, we're not in digital commerce, but the lockdown has forced us to go there...This is something we want to continue building. We launched our retail brand which is going through digital commerce as well," Catacutan said.

He added that the company recently launched a new biosecurity program called Cargill 360 Protection to fight the African Swine Fever among hogs.

Since the third quarter of last year, Cargill said it saw demand pick up across its agri-businesses.

Cargill's other ventures include importing grains, production of copra, and feeds or animal nutrition.

When restaurants shut in March and some branches permanently closed, Cargill saw lower demand and oversupply in poultry, which led to a drop in prices.

"We're seeing a lot of recovery especially during the fourth of the year, and we are optimistic that will continue towards the first half of the year," Sonny Catacutan, president of Cargill Philippines, Catacutan said.

People's food consumption is now increasing, he said, due to the reopening of businesses and jobs and incomes pouring in.