National oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc and NR Instant Produce Plc (NRF), a producer of vegetarian and plant-based food, have formed a joint venture with UK-based Plant and Bean Co to further develop food that can replace meat.
Nutra Regenerative Protein Co, which is equally owned by PTT and NRF, made a 51% investment in the joint venture, with the remainder invested by Plant and Bean.
Their cooperation will lead to the construction of a factory to produce alternative protein products in Ayutthaya as part of a plan to enter the healthy food market in Thailand, Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand, said Buranin Rattanasombat, PTT senior executive vice-president for innovations and new ventures.
Plant-based proteins can be made from protein-rich plants like beans, mushrooms, seaweed, almonds and oats, with help of modern processing technology to develop flavours.
Smells and textures will be produced to be similar to meat products.
The new factory is designed to have production capacity of 3,000 tonnes a year. Its construction is scheduled for next year and commercial operations will start in 2023, according to PTT.
Thailand will serve as a production base, with a range of products to be exported to Southeast Asia.
"This business is in line with PTT's new rapid growth strategy in the life science field," said Mr Buranin, adding it is also part of the Food for Future concept which is expected to generate high demand.