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I have a unique qualification here: I am Malaysian and I like to cook, so I know what good shrimp paste tastes like and is supposed to do in a recipe, and I'd be willing to both be a taste tester of any new product and (if it's good) champion it to my family and friends.

My intuitions is that it's going to be very, very, very difficult to get people to care about shrimp lives, but it's still worth trying to make a humane shrimp paste substitute because people can and will switch for reasons other than empathy.

Shrimp paste / belacan is in inexpensive flavour enhancer. This is important, because if your humane substitute is cheaper, it'll probably win. Belacan also really stinky and comes in bricks that aren't easy to work with, so if you can make a less messy and smelly product, home cooks may use it just from convenience. (Think: chicken stock cubes, many of which don't contain any chicken. Most of the consumers cooking with vegan chicken stock cubes don't care that much about chicken suffering - they care that the chicken stock cubes are significantly easier than boiling chicken bones. Reducing animal consumption through convenience is probably a good strategy!)

However, it has to taste close enough to the real thing. If you can get as close or closer than beef bullion cubes, that's good. You need taste testing by locals. You need to run your marketing by locals. Trying this strategy, of course, has a risk of turning real belacan into an expensive gourmet thing, but I think it'll be more effective at reducing consumption than trying to propagandise against it (VERY hard. Belacan is a beloved and very distinctive ingredient, contributing to the cultural character of a lot of dishes - which is to say this is as hard or harder than convincing French people to give up cheese).

An interesting quirk of traditional Chinese medicine beliefs (somewhat widespread in the region) which you can exploit is the belief that when healing from a physical injury, you should avoid seafood. (Seafood is generally considered somewhat unhealthy under TCM, so you might be able to market it as a healthier option).

Another winning reason to substitute: ease of export. Southeast Asian diaspora is absolutely massive for the usual brain drain economic reasons, but especially in Australia, and Australia has very stringent biosec laws. It seems likely that a vegan shrimp paste is going to be much easier to import to Australia than the traditional stuff. This applies to other places too like US and Canada.

Considering the technical challenges (develop a product that is very similar to belacan which is cheaper when manufactured at scale), as well as the marketing side of things, I think the easiest way to go about this is to convince a leading maker of cheap shelf stable flavourings such as Maggi to develop and market it. I think there is value there, if someone can pitch it to them (or perhaps a different food giant?).

On the technical side, yeast based products like Marmite/Vegemite could be a good place to begin working on such a substitute, if anyone wants to form a startup about this.