Tradition vs. tech: Tempeh vies for a place on the plant-based podium

Tradition vs. tech: Tempeh vies for a place on the plant-based podium

By
Laura Robinson
September 1, 2020

When it comes to plant-based alternatives, we’re often wowed by the magic of it all. Technology now transforms seaweed into fish, peas into chicken and mushrooms into jerky. So for anyone looking to go plant-based, the straight swap seems easy.

Then there’s tempeh. Despite being nutrient dense and boasting a unique taste and mouthfeel, it’s curious beancake-like appearance has typically left many of us turning up our noses or feeling at a loss for what to do with it.

But as the plant-based megatrend becomes more established, things are starting to change. The market for this protein packed product was valued at $ 3,842 million in 2019 and it’s now expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2025, doubling its value by 2030.

While North America is considered the most lucrative market, experts also predict rapid growth in Asia Pacific in the next few years. And with an increasing number of startups giving this traditional product a 21st century makeover, tempeh is now making its way onto European supermarket shelves.

This week, we get to know this protein-packed patty a little better and find out how - with a pinch of marketing and some product development know-how - companies are repositioning tempeh as the next big thing in the plant-based world.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a cake-like meat substitute. It can be made out of pretty much any legume, nut, grain or seed, but cooked and fermented soya beans are the most common base ingredient. It has a hearty texture, a neutral, nutty taste and can be enjoyed pretty much any way you cook meat - fried, steamed or baked.

Tempeh was apparently created in 19th century Indonesia, where it remains a staple today. Traditionally seen as ‘the poor man’s meat’, it made the transition to Western health stores as a niche ingredient for veggies and vegans. But today, a number of startups - recognising tempeh’s fit with current food trends - are helping to make it mainstream.

Trend drivers: a natural, healthy, gut-friendly, plant-based food

Tempeh is low in fat, high in protein and rich in fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus and minerals. It’s also an effective meat alternative offering considerable levels of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. These protein-packed patties have become a popular alternative for gluten free veggies or vegans. And market growth has also been bolstered by the rising popularity of gut-friendly foods more broadly, especially its sister categories, the fermented vegan drink segment.

Consumers are also increasingly looking for natural, less processed plant-based alternatives. A survey found that a huge 64% of us are concerned about the unknown side effects of faux meat and therefore expect our meat alternatives to be free from artificial ingredients. This is where tempeh comes into its own. It’s made from whole legumes or grains and is relatively unprocessed when compared to other alternative protein sources.  

Products: blocks and burgers, snacks and kits

Traditionally, tempeh was prepared and cooked as part of a main meal. Although fresh tempeh has held the lion’s share of the market so far, frozen tempeh products are now gaining popularity. Some brands are also experimenting with multigrain products that include brown rice, barley and millet to add variety to their ranges.

Given consumers’ love of convenience and the growth of functional snacking, a number of companies are also flirting with the ready-made market. Some products help consumers replace meat in go-to dishes, like nuggets, burgers or pre-marinated and pre-cooked blocks that can be added to salads or sandwiches. While others are creating high protein snacks - like crisps and chips - by combining tempeh with a range of tastes and flavours.

And then we have the foodies. Playing into the home cooking trend, some companies recognised that, as tempeh’s popularity grows, ambitious home chefs might also be looking to prepare their own. So they launched tempeh making kits to give them a hand.

Tempting you to try tempeh: Better Nature and Tiba Tempeh

The Better Nature team, who bagged fifth place in last week’s FoodHack Discovery Board, is on a mission to make the world’s best kept protein secret mainstream. Recognising that many people still didn’t know what tempeh was - let alone how to integrate it into their meals - the startup created a range of products that are easy to prepare and feel familiar. The names and packaging of their pre-flavoured Better Bites, for example, are linked to popular UK dishes like stir fry, curries and tacos, making it as easy as possible for customers to imagine how to use them to sub out meat. After raising £430k of seed funding in March this year, the team is now focused on product development and plans to explore supplementation with essential minerals and vitamins to make their tempeh a complete source of nutrition.

Back in 2017, Ross and Alexandra Longton were blown away by tempeh’s taste and nutritional benefits during a trip to Indonesia. So they decided to use their food industry experience in marketing and sales to introduce tempeh to the UK market. Tiba Tempeh’s first range of products, including the first ever tempeh burger to hit UK supermarkets shelves, was rolled out in late 2019 shortly before Veganuary - a key period for attracting plant-based newbies on the lookout for alternatives. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, the brand started taking online orders via their website - and this channel now makes up around 30% of their sales. Recognising that many plant-based alternatives have come under fire for being highly processed, they’ve clearly positioned their products as the simple and natural alternative. In a recent interview, Alex confided that the most challenging part of their journey has been turning a sustainable food business into a profitable one. To make this work, they’ve had to keep their business model lean and invest heavily in creating a high quality brand.

Space for one more on the plant-based gravy train?

As consumers start to get their head around plant-based diets and become more informed, the type of products they’re looking for is also evolving. And this will open up space for new opportunities, even in a highly crowded market.

To stand out, tempeh entrepreneurs will need to nail their natural, whole food messaging and develop new products in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking segments. Either way, experts are convinced that partnerships with key plant-based players in new markets will be key to making it mainstream.


The 30-second pitch: Tempeh


🔎 What

  • A nutty-tasting patty of fermented soya beans, typically sold as a meat alternative.


🤷‍♂️ Why

  • Tempeh is a healthy, high-protein, plant-based product that can provide the growing armies of veggies, vegans and flexitarians with yet more variety.  


🍽 How

  • As a ready-to-cook meat alternative (blocks, burgers, bites)
  • As a ready-to-eat product (pre-cooked salad or sandwich add-ins, crisps)
  • Tempeh making kits


👀 Who


👍 The good

  • The 21st century tempeh trailblazers have already done a lot to raise consumer awareness and win shelfspace in mainstream retailers.
  • There is still room for new product development in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking categories.
  • Tempeh can provide food service partners with another meat alternative option to tempt in plant-powered consumers.


👎 The bad

  • Ongoing competition from standard alternatives like tofu, textured vegetable protein, seitan, quorn and new innovations mean that tempeh brands need to have a very cleverly crafted USP and spot an underserved customer segment to get traction.


💡 The bottom line

  • For brands that get their positioning right, tempeh can be a promising product for retailers, manufacturers or restaurants looking to tempt whole food or clean eating oriented consumers to try something new.


Written by
Laura Robinson

From policy geek to digital consultant, Laura has always enjoyed bringing people together through words or tools to drive positive change. She is most proud of finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship by founding Pink Pear Agency - a network of passionate specialists who help food businesses grow innovative projects and share their stories with the world. Laura is currently interested in project development and management, digital tools, content strategy and copywriting.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Read Unlimited Articles
  • Access Member Directory
  • Get Event Discounts

When it comes to plant-based alternatives, we’re often wowed by the magic of it all. Technology now transforms seaweed into fish, peas into chicken and mushrooms into jerky. So for anyone looking to go plant-based, the straight swap seems easy.

Then there’s tempeh. Despite being nutrient dense and boasting a unique taste and mouthfeel, it’s curious beancake-like appearance has typically left many of us turning up our noses or feeling at a loss for what to do with it.

But as the plant-based megatrend becomes more established, things are starting to change. The market for this protein packed product was valued at $ 3,842 million in 2019 and it’s now expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2025, doubling its value by 2030.

While North America is considered the most lucrative market, experts also predict rapid growth in Asia Pacific in the next few years. And with an increasing number of startups giving this traditional product a 21st century makeover, tempeh is now making its way onto European supermarket shelves.

This week, we get to know this protein-packed patty a little better and find out how - with a pinch of marketing and some product development know-how - companies are repositioning tempeh as the next big thing in the plant-based world.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a cake-like meat substitute. It can be made out of pretty much any legume, nut, grain or seed, but cooked and fermented soya beans are the most common base ingredient. It has a hearty texture, a neutral, nutty taste and can be enjoyed pretty much any way you cook meat - fried, steamed or baked.

Tempeh was apparently created in 19th century Indonesia, where it remains a staple today. Traditionally seen as ‘the poor man’s meat’, it made the transition to Western health stores as a niche ingredient for veggies and vegans. But today, a number of startups - recognising tempeh’s fit with current food trends - are helping to make it mainstream.

Trend drivers: a natural, healthy, gut-friendly, plant-based food

Tempeh is low in fat, high in protein and rich in fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus and minerals. It’s also an effective meat alternative offering considerable levels of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. These protein-packed patties have become a popular alternative for gluten free veggies or vegans. And market growth has also been bolstered by the rising popularity of gut-friendly foods more broadly, especially its sister categories, the fermented vegan drink segment.

Consumers are also increasingly looking for natural, less processed plant-based alternatives. A survey found that a huge 64% of us are concerned about the unknown side effects of faux meat and therefore expect our meat alternatives to be free from artificial ingredients. This is where tempeh comes into its own. It’s made from whole legumes or grains and is relatively unprocessed when compared to other alternative protein sources.  

Products: blocks and burgers, snacks and kits

Traditionally, tempeh was prepared and cooked as part of a main meal. Although fresh tempeh has held the lion’s share of the market so far, frozen tempeh products are now gaining popularity. Some brands are also experimenting with multigrain products that include brown rice, barley and millet to add variety to their ranges.

Given consumers’ love of convenience and the growth of functional snacking, a number of companies are also flirting with the ready-made market. Some products help consumers replace meat in go-to dishes, like nuggets, burgers or pre-marinated and pre-cooked blocks that can be added to salads or sandwiches. While others are creating high protein snacks - like crisps and chips - by combining tempeh with a range of tastes and flavours.

And then we have the foodies. Playing into the home cooking trend, some companies recognised that, as tempeh’s popularity grows, ambitious home chefs might also be looking to prepare their own. So they launched tempeh making kits to give them a hand.

Tempting you to try tempeh: Better Nature and Tiba Tempeh

The Better Nature team, who bagged fifth place in last week’s FoodHack Discovery Board, is on a mission to make the world’s best kept protein secret mainstream. Recognising that many people still didn’t know what tempeh was - let alone how to integrate it into their meals - the startup created a range of products that are easy to prepare and feel familiar. The names and packaging of their pre-flavoured Better Bites, for example, are linked to popular UK dishes like stir fry, curries and tacos, making it as easy as possible for customers to imagine how to use them to sub out meat. After raising £430k of seed funding in March this year, the team is now focused on product development and plans to explore supplementation with essential minerals and vitamins to make their tempeh a complete source of nutrition.

Back in 2017, Ross and Alexandra Longton were blown away by tempeh’s taste and nutritional benefits during a trip to Indonesia. So they decided to use their food industry experience in marketing and sales to introduce tempeh to the UK market. Tiba Tempeh’s first range of products, including the first ever tempeh burger to hit UK supermarkets shelves, was rolled out in late 2019 shortly before Veganuary - a key period for attracting plant-based newbies on the lookout for alternatives. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, the brand started taking online orders via their website - and this channel now makes up around 30% of their sales. Recognising that many plant-based alternatives have come under fire for being highly processed, they’ve clearly positioned their products as the simple and natural alternative. In a recent interview, Alex confided that the most challenging part of their journey has been turning a sustainable food business into a profitable one. To make this work, they’ve had to keep their business model lean and invest heavily in creating a high quality brand.

Space for one more on the plant-based gravy train?

As consumers start to get their head around plant-based diets and become more informed, the type of products they’re looking for is also evolving. And this will open up space for new opportunities, even in a highly crowded market.

To stand out, tempeh entrepreneurs will need to nail their natural, whole food messaging and develop new products in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking segments. Either way, experts are convinced that partnerships with key plant-based players in new markets will be key to making it mainstream.


The 30-second pitch: Tempeh


🔎 What

  • A nutty-tasting patty of fermented soya beans, typically sold as a meat alternative.


🤷‍♂️ Why

  • Tempeh is a healthy, high-protein, plant-based product that can provide the growing armies of veggies, vegans and flexitarians with yet more variety.  


🍽 How

  • As a ready-to-cook meat alternative (blocks, burgers, bites)
  • As a ready-to-eat product (pre-cooked salad or sandwich add-ins, crisps)
  • Tempeh making kits


👀 Who


👍 The good

  • The 21st century tempeh trailblazers have already done a lot to raise consumer awareness and win shelfspace in mainstream retailers.
  • There is still room for new product development in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking categories.
  • Tempeh can provide food service partners with another meat alternative option to tempt in plant-powered consumers.


👎 The bad

  • Ongoing competition from standard alternatives like tofu, textured vegetable protein, seitan, quorn and new innovations mean that tempeh brands need to have a very cleverly crafted USP and spot an underserved customer segment to get traction.


💡 The bottom line

  • For brands that get their positioning right, tempeh can be a promising product for retailers, manufacturers or restaurants looking to tempt whole food or clean eating oriented consumers to try something new.


Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Read Unlimited Articles
  • Access Member Directory
  • Join a Global Community
UPGRADE NOW
Cancel anytime

When it comes to plant-based alternatives, we’re often wowed by the magic of it all. Technology now transforms seaweed into fish, peas into chicken and mushrooms into jerky. So for anyone looking to go plant-based, the straight swap seems easy.

Then there’s tempeh. Despite being nutrient dense and boasting a unique taste and mouthfeel, it’s curious beancake-like appearance has typically left many of us turning up our noses or feeling at a loss for what to do with it.

But as the plant-based megatrend becomes more established, things are starting to change. The market for this protein packed product was valued at $ 3,842 million in 2019 and it’s now expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2025, doubling its value by 2030.

While North America is considered the most lucrative market, experts also predict rapid growth in Asia Pacific in the next few years. And with an increasing number of startups giving this traditional product a 21st century makeover, tempeh is now making its way onto European supermarket shelves.

This week, we get to know this protein-packed patty a little better and find out how - with a pinch of marketing and some product development know-how - companies are repositioning tempeh as the next big thing in the plant-based world.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a cake-like meat substitute. It can be made out of pretty much any legume, nut, grain or seed, but cooked and fermented soya beans are the most common base ingredient. It has a hearty texture, a neutral, nutty taste and can be enjoyed pretty much any way you cook meat - fried, steamed or baked.

Tempeh was apparently created in 19th century Indonesia, where it remains a staple today. Traditionally seen as ‘the poor man’s meat’, it made the transition to Western health stores as a niche ingredient for veggies and vegans. But today, a number of startups - recognising tempeh’s fit with current food trends - are helping to make it mainstream.

Trend drivers: a natural, healthy, gut-friendly, plant-based food

Tempeh is low in fat, high in protein and rich in fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus and minerals. It’s also an effective meat alternative offering considerable levels of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. These protein-packed patties have become a popular alternative for gluten free veggies or vegans. And market growth has also been bolstered by the rising popularity of gut-friendly foods more broadly, especially its sister categories, the fermented vegan drink segment.

Consumers are also increasingly looking for natural, less processed plant-based alternatives. A survey found that a huge 64% of us are concerned about the unknown side effects of faux meat and therefore expect our meat alternatives to be free from artificial ingredients. This is where tempeh comes into its own. It’s made from whole legumes or grains and is relatively unprocessed when compared to other alternative protein sources.  

Products: blocks and burgers, snacks and kits

Traditionally, tempeh was prepared and cooked as part of a main meal. Although fresh tempeh has held the lion’s share of the market so far, frozen tempeh products are now gaining popularity. Some brands are also experimenting with multigrain products that include brown rice, barley and millet to add variety to their ranges.

Given consumers’ love of convenience and the growth of functional snacking, a number of companies are also flirting with the ready-made market. Some products help consumers replace meat in go-to dishes, like nuggets, burgers or pre-marinated and pre-cooked blocks that can be added to salads or sandwiches. While others are creating high protein snacks - like crisps and chips - by combining tempeh with a range of tastes and flavours.

And then we have the foodies. Playing into the home cooking trend, some companies recognised that, as tempeh’s popularity grows, ambitious home chefs might also be looking to prepare their own. So they launched tempeh making kits to give them a hand.

Tempting you to try tempeh: Better Nature and Tiba Tempeh

The Better Nature team, who bagged fifth place in last week’s FoodHack Discovery Board, is on a mission to make the world’s best kept protein secret mainstream. Recognising that many people still didn’t know what tempeh was - let alone how to integrate it into their meals - the startup created a range of products that are easy to prepare and feel familiar. The names and packaging of their pre-flavoured Better Bites, for example, are linked to popular UK dishes like stir fry, curries and tacos, making it as easy as possible for customers to imagine how to use them to sub out meat. After raising £430k of seed funding in March this year, the team is now focused on product development and plans to explore supplementation with essential minerals and vitamins to make their tempeh a complete source of nutrition.

Back in 2017, Ross and Alexandra Longton were blown away by tempeh’s taste and nutritional benefits during a trip to Indonesia. So they decided to use their food industry experience in marketing and sales to introduce tempeh to the UK market. Tiba Tempeh’s first range of products, including the first ever tempeh burger to hit UK supermarkets shelves, was rolled out in late 2019 shortly before Veganuary - a key period for attracting plant-based newbies on the lookout for alternatives. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, the brand started taking online orders via their website - and this channel now makes up around 30% of their sales. Recognising that many plant-based alternatives have come under fire for being highly processed, they’ve clearly positioned their products as the simple and natural alternative. In a recent interview, Alex confided that the most challenging part of their journey has been turning a sustainable food business into a profitable one. To make this work, they’ve had to keep their business model lean and invest heavily in creating a high quality brand.

Space for one more on the plant-based gravy train?

As consumers start to get their head around plant-based diets and become more informed, the type of products they’re looking for is also evolving. And this will open up space for new opportunities, even in a highly crowded market.

To stand out, tempeh entrepreneurs will need to nail their natural, whole food messaging and develop new products in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking segments. Either way, experts are convinced that partnerships with key plant-based players in new markets will be key to making it mainstream.


The 30-second pitch: Tempeh


🔎 What

  • A nutty-tasting patty of fermented soya beans, typically sold as a meat alternative.


🤷‍♂️ Why

  • Tempeh is a healthy, high-protein, plant-based product that can provide the growing armies of veggies, vegans and flexitarians with yet more variety.  


🍽 How

  • As a ready-to-cook meat alternative (blocks, burgers, bites)
  • As a ready-to-eat product (pre-cooked salad or sandwich add-ins, crisps)
  • Tempeh making kits


👀 Who


👍 The good

  • The 21st century tempeh trailblazers have already done a lot to raise consumer awareness and win shelfspace in mainstream retailers.
  • There is still room for new product development in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking categories.
  • Tempeh can provide food service partners with another meat alternative option to tempt in plant-powered consumers.


👎 The bad

  • Ongoing competition from standard alternatives like tofu, textured vegetable protein, seitan, quorn and new innovations mean that tempeh brands need to have a very cleverly crafted USP and spot an underserved customer segment to get traction.


💡 The bottom line

  • For brands that get their positioning right, tempeh can be a promising product for retailers, manufacturers or restaurants looking to tempt whole food or clean eating oriented consumers to try something new.


When it comes to plant-based alternatives, we’re often wowed by the magic of it all. Technology now transforms seaweed into fish, peas into chicken and mushrooms into jerky. So for anyone looking to go plant-based, the straight swap seems easy.

Then there’s tempeh. Despite being nutrient dense and boasting a unique taste and mouthfeel, it’s curious beancake-like appearance has typically left many of us turning up our noses or feeling at a loss for what to do with it.

But as the plant-based megatrend becomes more established, things are starting to change. The market for this protein packed product was valued at $ 3,842 million in 2019 and it’s now expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2025, doubling its value by 2030.

While North America is considered the most lucrative market, experts also predict rapid growth in Asia Pacific in the next few years. And with an increasing number of startups giving this traditional product a 21st century makeover, tempeh is now making its way onto European supermarket shelves.

This week, we get to know this protein-packed patty a little better and find out how - with a pinch of marketing and some product development know-how - companies are repositioning tempeh as the next big thing in the plant-based world.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a cake-like meat substitute. It can be made out of pretty much any legume, nut, grain or seed, but cooked and fermented soya beans are the most common base ingredient. It has a hearty texture, a neutral, nutty taste and can be enjoyed pretty much any way you cook meat - fried, steamed or baked.

Tempeh was apparently created in 19th century Indonesia, where it remains a staple today. Traditionally seen as ‘the poor man’s meat’, it made the transition to Western health stores as a niche ingredient for veggies and vegans. But today, a number of startups - recognising tempeh’s fit with current food trends - are helping to make it mainstream.

Trend drivers: a natural, healthy, gut-friendly, plant-based food

Tempeh is low in fat, high in protein and rich in fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus and minerals. It’s also an effective meat alternative offering considerable levels of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. These protein-packed patties have become a popular alternative for gluten free veggies or vegans. And market growth has also been bolstered by the rising popularity of gut-friendly foods more broadly, especially its sister categories, the fermented vegan drink segment.

Consumers are also increasingly looking for natural, less processed plant-based alternatives. A survey found that a huge 64% of us are concerned about the unknown side effects of faux meat and therefore expect our meat alternatives to be free from artificial ingredients. This is where tempeh comes into its own. It’s made from whole legumes or grains and is relatively unprocessed when compared to other alternative protein sources.  

Products: blocks and burgers, snacks and kits

Traditionally, tempeh was prepared and cooked as part of a main meal. Although fresh tempeh has held the lion’s share of the market so far, frozen tempeh products are now gaining popularity. Some brands are also experimenting with multigrain products that include brown rice, barley and millet to add variety to their ranges.

Given consumers’ love of convenience and the growth of functional snacking, a number of companies are also flirting with the ready-made market. Some products help consumers replace meat in go-to dishes, like nuggets, burgers or pre-marinated and pre-cooked blocks that can be added to salads or sandwiches. While others are creating high protein snacks - like crisps and chips - by combining tempeh with a range of tastes and flavours.

And then we have the foodies. Playing into the home cooking trend, some companies recognised that, as tempeh’s popularity grows, ambitious home chefs might also be looking to prepare their own. So they launched tempeh making kits to give them a hand.

Tempting you to try tempeh: Better Nature and Tiba Tempeh

The Better Nature team, who bagged fifth place in last week’s FoodHack Discovery Board, is on a mission to make the world’s best kept protein secret mainstream. Recognising that many people still didn’t know what tempeh was - let alone how to integrate it into their meals - the startup created a range of products that are easy to prepare and feel familiar. The names and packaging of their pre-flavoured Better Bites, for example, are linked to popular UK dishes like stir fry, curries and tacos, making it as easy as possible for customers to imagine how to use them to sub out meat. After raising £430k of seed funding in March this year, the team is now focused on product development and plans to explore supplementation with essential minerals and vitamins to make their tempeh a complete source of nutrition.

Back in 2017, Ross and Alexandra Longton were blown away by tempeh’s taste and nutritional benefits during a trip to Indonesia. So they decided to use their food industry experience in marketing and sales to introduce tempeh to the UK market. Tiba Tempeh’s first range of products, including the first ever tempeh burger to hit UK supermarkets shelves, was rolled out in late 2019 shortly before Veganuary - a key period for attracting plant-based newbies on the lookout for alternatives. As the COVID-19 pandemic set in, the brand started taking online orders via their website - and this channel now makes up around 30% of their sales. Recognising that many plant-based alternatives have come under fire for being highly processed, they’ve clearly positioned their products as the simple and natural alternative. In a recent interview, Alex confided that the most challenging part of their journey has been turning a sustainable food business into a profitable one. To make this work, they’ve had to keep their business model lean and invest heavily in creating a high quality brand.

Space for one more on the plant-based gravy train?

As consumers start to get their head around plant-based diets and become more informed, the type of products they’re looking for is also evolving. And this will open up space for new opportunities, even in a highly crowded market.

To stand out, tempeh entrepreneurs will need to nail their natural, whole food messaging and develop new products in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking segments. Either way, experts are convinced that partnerships with key plant-based players in new markets will be key to making it mainstream.


The 30-second pitch: Tempeh


🔎 What

  • A nutty-tasting patty of fermented soya beans, typically sold as a meat alternative.


🤷‍♂️ Why

  • Tempeh is a healthy, high-protein, plant-based product that can provide the growing armies of veggies, vegans and flexitarians with yet more variety.  


🍽 How

  • As a ready-to-cook meat alternative (blocks, burgers, bites)
  • As a ready-to-eat product (pre-cooked salad or sandwich add-ins, crisps)
  • Tempeh making kits


👀 Who


👍 The good

  • The 21st century tempeh trailblazers have already done a lot to raise consumer awareness and win shelfspace in mainstream retailers.
  • There is still room for new product development in the ready-to-eat and functional snacking categories.
  • Tempeh can provide food service partners with another meat alternative option to tempt in plant-powered consumers.


👎 The bad

  • Ongoing competition from standard alternatives like tofu, textured vegetable protein, seitan, quorn and new innovations mean that tempeh brands need to have a very cleverly crafted USP and spot an underserved customer segment to get traction.


💡 The bottom line

  • For brands that get their positioning right, tempeh can be a promising product for retailers, manufacturers or restaurants looking to tempt whole food or clean eating oriented consumers to try something new.


Read More