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5 Samples of Healthy Food Business Ideas in Southeast Asia

Ideas for business owners who want to introduce healthy food in Southeast Asia.


There is now a rising global movement towards adopting healthier lifestyles. In today’s modern society, we’re seeing people consuming unhealthy fast food and being sedentary, avoiding working out or exercising.

Many concerned organizations are planning to address this problem by working with businesses in the food industry. Food establishments are being pushed to introduce healthy food concepts to the market and promote clean eating. This is why we’re seeing a growing number of restaurants, cafes and food establishments across the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, that are offering healthier options to diners.

The market is responding positively to this movement, which is why it’s smart to start up your restaurant that offers healthy food. Be inspired by these 5 food business ideas that are already seeing success in regions across Southeast Asia.

Casual dining

For someone who’s used to junk and processed food, healthy alternatives can be confusing and intimidating. One way to address this is to open up a casual restaurant that introduces healthy dishes to the general public. No need for fancy interiors or complicated menus – what’s important is how you’ll present the healthy food to the customer.

Yolo in Singapore, for instance, focuses on local crowd favourites and putting a healthy spin on them. Their goal is for their diners to come out of their food joint convinced that healthy food can be fun and tasty. One of their signature dishes is the Cauliflower Fried Rice, which is a low-carb alternative to fried rice.

Malaysia-based Fittie Sense, on the other hand, is all about rolling out “fit food” that will help locals achieve a healthier lifestyle. Besides vegan and vegetarian eats, they also serve gluten-free, diabetic-friendly and ketogenic meals. So, if you’re craving for Beef Rendang, but you’re on a strict keto diet, then you can have a version of this dish at Fittie Sense. You can satisfy your cravings without the guilt!

Feasting over fresh food on a Sunday brunch.
Family restaurants is a great food business idea to promote healthy food to the core unit in society. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Family style concept

A healthy lifestyle can be achieved and sustained in the long run if you have a support system behind you. And where better to look for your cheerleaders than in your family, right?

In the Philippines, The Wholesome Table embraces the concept of family dinners to create a healthy food culture that extends to the community. Their ingredients are organic, free-range and mostly sourced from local suppliers. Their branches serve a variety of dishes, including the popular Breakfast Kimchi Bowl, which features kimchi-flavoured cauliflower rice and a sunny-side-up egg.

Maybe you want own a cosy café that has meals that remind you of home, similar to what Farm to Table Hideout is. Located in Thailand, this hidden gem is great for families looking for healthy Asian desserts and meals like their well sought-out Roast Chicken Salad.

Plant-based cafes

‘Plant-based’ is becoming a buzzword that you’re going to hear quite often in the coming months and years. People are shifting to meat-free alternatives for health, religious, and ethical reasons. Whatever is your driver, it’s another good idea to serve this type of food in your upcoming restaurant.

Burgers can now be made without using any meat products in it. For example, you can use a black-bean patty, just like what Nourish Café in Thailand has done. They created the Nourish Burger, which comes with brioche buns to complement their special patty. They also sell tasty healthy food that provides high nutrition and nourishment to their customers.

Another vegetarian restaurant in the Philippines is using the world’s first plant-based burger patty. Green Bar’s specialty is its Beyond Burger, which features this particular meat-free patty. It comes with pepper jack cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce and a special sauce that is full of flavour.

A smoothie bowl with kiwi and berries as the topping.
Why not serve healthy acai bowls on-the-go as a food business idea? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Healthy food on-the-go

Let’s face it, choosing the healthier route when it comes to eating takes time – time that not a lot of people have on their hands. Why not cater to busy folk who would rather grab a quick bite than eat in restaurants or cafes? Give them an alternative to greasy and unhealthy fast food.

Singapore’s Shake Farm specializes in ‘grab-and-go’ healthy food. They have salads, acai bowls and even healthy toast with avocado and eggs as toppings. Their selection of protein shakes is perfect for gym goers who need to energize before a workout or to nourish their tired bodies after.

Agrain by Hale, the sister restaurant of a healthy food delivery service, offers unique and customisable healthy bowls at its food joint. There’s a lot of ingredients to choose from and mix, depending on what you’re in the mood for a particular day. You can create BBQ Chicken Rice that has a higher nutritional level than what you’d get at a normal restaurant.

Contemporary food business ideas

While healthy food is not a new concept, you can still introduce something different to the locals in your region. Because the market is growing, competition is getting fiercer. Naturally, you would want to stand out in the crowd and go against the norm, and the same goes for the healthy foodservice industry. You can check out what Locavore and Moksa have done, both based in Indonesia.

Locavore, while introducing modern dishes, still places a heavy focus on fresh produce from the country. The restaurant’s menu is extensive, featuring contemporary European dishes as well, but promises to deliver only healthy meals at the restaurant. A must-try is the Sirsak Muda, which is barbecued young soursop with special herbs and spices.

Extraordinarily presenting healthy food is Moksa’s goal. And the people behind the brand want to do so as they promote Indonesian culture to anyone who dines in. One of their dishes is Jackfruit Mignon, which uses a popular fruit as a replacement for steak. Their establishment is also surrounded by permaculture gardens, where they source the ingredients that they use, promoting sustainability as well.

There is no shortage of ways you can introduce healthy food to people, wherever you’re from. It just takes a bit of creativity, a lot of brainstorming, and a passion for healthy food to come up with food business ideas that can be a huge success in the long run.


 

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