Veganism is on the rise in Malaysia. While there aren’t any statistics available yet, the emergence of vegan restaurants and entry of global plant-based brands like Beyond Meat and OmniMeat in the country shows that there’s a growing demand for vegan products locally.
Far from a passing fad that some believed it would be when it first picked up in the local F&B scene, veganism is a lifestyle that many have adopted for a variety of reasons including to improve health, save animal lives and protect the environment. Vegan products are becoming more accessible especially in the Klang Valley, thanks to specialty grocers like Vegan District and Qra Foods as well as select zero-waste stores.
Malaysians aren’t just passive consumers in the movement; there are local entrepreneurs pushing it forward with homegrown vegan-friendly startups that offer a myriad of plant-based foods from non-dairy milk to superfoods and meat alternatives. Here are 6 such brands to shop from and #supportlocal.
You’ve probably heard of almond milk, oat milk and soy milk when it comes to vegan-friendly dairy alternatives; but have you heard of pea milk? Cue Snappea, the first pea milk in Asia, made with 100% non-GMO Canadian yellow peas. Founded by Justin Chan and Fibi Cheong last year, Snappea offers a selection of creamy, dairy-free and plant-based milk options that are highly nutritional and environmentally-friendly. The brand currently offers three flavours: Utterly Original, Simply Unsweetened and Richly Chocolate, all of which are also gluten-free, soy-free and lactose-free for more pea-ple to enjoy! W snappeafood.com
Given that some of the most common misconceptions of a vegan diet is that you can only eat greens or give up ‘meat’ forever, Justin Yap came up with the idea of creating plant-based meats with Phuture Foods. After years of R&D, the company introduced Phuture Mince, created to emulate mince pork in terms of flavour and texture, but is actually made from plant-based proteins such as non-GMO soy, chickpea and pea. Not only is the product high in protein and healthier than its meat counterpart, it’s also safer and more sustainable for the earth. W phuturemeat.com
Fans of superfoods, Organicule has your health-conscious needs covered with its extensive range of organic products packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Established by a husband and wife team, the brand aims to deliver high quality superfoods and superoils that help consumers to lead healthier lifestyles with natural whole foods such as cacao, moringa, pumpkin seed and turmeric. Available in powder form, these ingredients can be easily incorporated into recipes and protein shakes for a nutrition boost. W organicule.com
My Plant Deli
Did someone say cheese? Yes, and you can find them in various kinds at My Plant Deli, including brie, cheddar, gouda and parmesan, either in block or powder or shredded form for cooking. Aside from that, the homegrown brand also produces vegan sausages and meats, non-dairy ice-cream and vegan frozen pizzas. Although they are not currently accepting individual orders, consumers can purchase the goods from Vegan District, Malaysia’s first vegan grocery store, located in Kota Damansara. W myplantdeli.com
The Hive Bulk Foods
Known for championing the zero-waste movement in Malaysia, The Hive Bulk Foods is also a popular hub for vegans to stock up on grains and pantry essentials. While the brand does not claim to be vegan, much of what they offer is vegan-friendly when it comes to food. Among the goods in its inventory include nuts, grains, cereals, noodles, seeds, spreads, butter and more, available for purchase at any of its outlets or online. W thehivebulkfoods.com
For those looking for a vegan indulgence, look no further than Cocova. Founded by two Malaysian chocolate lovers who had grown tired of the chocolate drinks in the market which often tasted too saccharine or bland for their liking, Cocova started out selling Dark Chocolate Buttons that can be eaten as a snack or melted down into a beverage. Since then, they have expanded their offerings to include a range of chocolate goods such as cacao nibs, chocolate spread and chocolate-coated nuts. All of their products are vegan, with the exception of the cold-steeped chocolate drinks, which contain dairy. W cocova.co