KUALA LUMPUR: Taiwan is halal-ready and has much to offer to the increasing Muslim population in Malaysia and worldwide to cater to the rising demand for halal food while addressing their concerns about hygiene and quality.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia director of economic division James Chang said plant-based products have gained popularity in recent years, as consumers increasingly prefer healthy and environmentally friendly food. Taiwan, in relation to this, has emerged as the second friendliest destination for Muslim travellers in the world. Although the trend seems new, Taiwan has in fact long been a leader in plant-based meat production and has accumulated technical expertise in the field.

“The plant-based market is worth US$7.9 billion (RM35 billion) in 2022 and is projected to reach US$15.7 billion by 2027. The halal food market is expected to reach over US$3 trillion by 2028,” he said at the Taiwanese Halal Food & Plant-based Meat Cooking Contest @ Taiwan Expo 2022 in Malaysia here last Saturday.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corp director of halal, food and beverages and agro-based section Remee Yaakub said it hopes trade between Taiwan and Malaysia will continue to go from strength to strength.

“The relationship has enabled both markets to embark on many collaborations in various sectors. Over the years, our trade has been driven by technological and industrial items. Halal and plant-based are two segments with enormous potential post-pandemic. The halal industry has a current global market value of US$2.3 trillion. This is an opportunity for the world economies including Taiwan to be involved,” he added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Trade Center Kuala Lumpur director Eva Peng said such events will go a long way in introducing Muslims to Taiwan’s high-quality halal food.

“The rising health awareness among Malaysians is one of the driving factors for the increase in popularity of plant-based meat in Malaysia,” she added.

The cooking contest, which was organised by Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Taiwan Halal Center, showcased Taiwan’s plant-based meat produce, vegetarian products, and other halal-certified ingredients to the Malaysian market.

Eleven products from nine Taiwanese brands were specially flown in for the competition. The plant-based meat ingredients featured in the competition came from halal-certified manufacturers from Taiwan, including No Meating, Land Young Foods, Golden Crops (Sungift), and Vegefarm which carry products sold around the world.

No Meating, a brand under Taiwan Farm Industry Co Ltd, has shot up in popularity among the younger demographics on the back of its taste and packaging, while Golden Crop’s plant-based meat closely mimics meat despite being made completely of pea protein.

Through this halal cooking competition, Malaysian Muslims are able to see the different culinary possibilities of Taiwanese halal ingredients and increase their appreciation of Taiwanese halal food. The event also featured seafood sauce and fish floss from HuikunFirm, wasabi pepper salt from Sung Ghing, sweet potato fries from KK Orchard, brown sugar from Hei Tang Dau, and Udon from Sanuki Co.+

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