According to a new joint report from PwC, Rabobank and Temasek, Asian consumers will double their grocery spending by 2030, leaving a gaping gap for investors to bring healthier and more sustainable options to the table.

Food spending in the region will reach more than $ 8 trillion by the beginning of the next decade – up from $ 4 trillion in 2019 – and become the world’s largest food and beverage market, according to the “Asia Food Challenge Report 2021” the group on Tuesday.

Much of this demand will come from changing consumer habits in an increasingly health conscious, digitally savvy region, but also from the rapidly growing population. By 2030, 4.5 billion people and 65% of the world’s middle class are expected to live in Asia.

People want healthier food, they want safer food, they want to shop online.

Anuj Maheshwari

Managing Director, Agricultural Industry, Temasek

“People want healthier food, they want safer food, they want to shop online, they want food that is sustainable,” Anuj Maheshwari, Temasek’s Managing Director of Agribusiness, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia.

India and Southeast Asia will be responsible for the largest increases in spending, with average annual rates of 5.3% and 4.7% respectively. However, China will remain the largest market overall.

The report’s findings are based on a survey of 3,600 consumers in 12 Asia-Pacific countries, interviews with food executives and analysis of over 3,000 publicly traded food and beverage companies.

A $ 1.5 trillion investment opportunity

The rapid upswing is putting pressure on an already fragile food ecosystem that has been under immense pressure since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, $ 1.55 trillion in investments across the value chain will be required by 2030 to meet the region’s growing food needs. This represents an increase of $ 750 billion from the $ 800 billion upstream (or preliminary) investment originally estimated in the group’s first 2019 report.

Customers buy vegetables at a supermarket in Handan, Hebei Province, China, on September 9, 2021.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

This offers significant commercial opportunities for investors, Maheshwari said, calling it a “big, big area in Asia.”

The report highlighted six “critical trends” in particular, including healthy eating, fresh produce, safe and traceable sources, sustainable consumption, alternative proteins and online shopping.

“It is on these trends that agribusinesses need to focus and ensure that consumers get this type of food in addition to what we need in countries like Asia,” Maheshwari said.

Investments in agricultural technology have increased significantly since 2014, increasing 377% to $ 30.5 billion, according to AgFunder.