Tempeh is both trendy and traditional. Today, some global consumers see it as a staple, while others are newly embracing soyfood plant proteins. The result is a global tempeh market that is projected to reach $5.8 billion by 2026.[1]

According to A. Elizabeth Sloan, President of Sloan Trends, as plant-based alternatives, tempeh and tofu now top $118 million. The category has grown by 5 percent over 2018, and was up 11 percent 2018 vs. 2017.[2] Sloan’s Escondido, California-based firm tracks consumer food and beverage trends and behaviors, as well as health and nutrition attitudes, eating patterns, and emerging medical markets.

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) taps into Sloan’s expertise for an analysis of current trends creating a demand for U.S.-grown soybeans. USSEC works with customers in multiple global markets to present the advantages of U.S. food beans to soyfood processors and maintain industry relationships. USSEC’s U.S. Soy Producers Mission (USSPM) recently included a visit to a progressive Indonesian tempeh company to provide a team of leading U.S. soy growers with the opportunity to learn, gather knowledge and connect with regional customers and the agriculture industry.

This is part two of a two-part report on how global food trends are increasing the demand for soyfoods.


Why Tempeh is Making New Friends

The global tempeh market is projected to grow from $3.6 billion in 2019 to $5.8 billion by 2026.[3] While tempeh is a staple ingredient rather than an emerging one in many parts of the world, it keeps pace with current food and health trends. Tempeh (fermented soybean cake) has been part of the Indonesian diet for hundreds of years. Over the next six years, APAC (Asia Pacific) is expected to remain the largest tempeh market, followed by Europe.[4]

In Indonesia, 41 percent of consumers in a recent survey say they make food decisions based on health attributes, while 33 percent of Chinese consumers and 22 percent of both Australian and U.S. consumers say the same.[5] Of the Chinese consumers who changed their eating habits to eat more healthfully, 55 percent did so by eating more plant-based foods.[6] With its nutrition profile and culinary versatility, tempeh holds contemporary appeal.

Plant Protein Attributes That Appeal to Global Consumers

When it comes to plant protein, tempeh is well positioned as a high-protein, fiber-rich food that offers a firm texture and a nutty, savory flavor. More than half of the U.S. adults who eat plant proteins (52 percent) cite taste as their primary decision-maker.[7]  As for fiber intake, 44 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed say they are increasing the amount of fiber they eat, as are 33 percent of U.K. consumers.[8] Dietary fiber recommendations for adults 50 years and younger are 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. The average U.S. intake is approximately 15 grams.[9] Tempeh offers at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Other attractive tempeh attributes for U.S. consumers include non-GMO product claims for plant proteins. In fact, these claims grew from 3.8 percent in 2012 to 19.6 percent in 2017.[10]

Traditional Tempeh is Trending

Tempeh also scores points with new consumers as a functional food. In 2018, Asia, including Southeast Asia, accounted for 96 percent of the tempeh market share.  By 2026, the Asia Pacific market is expected by account for 77.6 percent market share, with China, South Korea and Australia expected to drive the market.[11] Currently, soyfoods such as tempeh and natto, with perceived health benefits, are gathering momentum in the U.S. as well. According to the Datassential Functional Foods Report 2018, tempeh has arrived on the scene, and is at the inception phase.[12]

[1]SPINS/Plant-based Foods Assn. Year Ended April, 2019

[2]SPINS/Plant-based Foods Assn. Year Ended April, 2019

[3]Persistence Market Analysis, 2018

[4]Persistence Market Analysis, 2018

[5]Innova Trends Survey (2018)

[6]Innova Trends Survey (2018)

[7]Mintel Research Plant-Based Protein, 2018

[8]Innova Trends Survey (2018)

[9]Dietary Reference Intakes, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (2002/2005). This report may be accessed via www.nap.edu.

[10]Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD)

[11]Persistence Market Analysis, 2018

[12]Datassential Functional Foods Keynote Report, 2018