Food and beverage company Hy, previously known as Korea Yakult, said on Thursday it will enter the plant-based protein market with its new brand Protein Code.
Though the company previously released protein-focused products, it marks the first time it has launched a brand dedicated to protein-heavy products.
“Protein Code products are 100 percent plant-based, keeping in line with consumer trends such as going vegan and value-based consumption,” the company said in a statement.
The first product to be released from the brand is Protein Code Drink, a ready-to-drink vegan protein beverage sourced from soy and brown rice.
“Amid growing interest in health and the environment, the market for vegan and protein food markets have been consistently growing,” said Kim Il-gon, a head of the company’s category management team.
The move comes after the company changed its name to Hy 52 years after its founding in 1969 in late March.
It said the rebranding is part of efforts to expand its portfolio and branch out into other markets including distribution and platform businesses.
Last month, it teamed up with budget airline Jeju Air to roll out an airline-themed ready meal, signaling a change of direction in business strategy.
Demand for alternative proteins, including plants such as lentils and beans, is growing.
The market is expected to reach $290 billion in 2035, accounting for 11 percent of the protein food market, according to a recent report by the Institute for International Trade.
“Following the pandemic, consumer interest in social and environmental sustainability regarding health, the environment and animal welfare has grown and the market for alternative proteins is expanding.”
Given the current pace, the share of milk and other dairy products in protein food consumption will decrease from 80 percent last year to 55 percent in 2035, the report estimated.
By Yim Hyun-su (firstname.lastname@example.org