Hong Kong-based cellular agriculture startup Avant Meats has announced that it will be establishing its R&D and pilot manufacturing plant in Singapore. The plan, supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), will enable Avant Meats to scale up and speed up the route to market, given the regulatory framework already in place in the city-state.
Avant Meats has revealed its new plan to build its R&D laboratory and pilot production plant in Singapore, the firm announced today (April 26). The Hong Kong-headquartered cell-based seafood startup will be supported by the Singapore government’s EDB, as part of the authorities’ doubling down on investments in sustainable food production and supply chain resilience in the wake of the pandemic.
The news comes shortly after Avant announced a partnership with Guangdong-based biotech Quacell to slash production costs by as much as 90% and launched its first cosmeceutical product, a cultivated bioactive functional protein with animal-free marine peptides to disrupt the collagen market.
Avant has previously debuted several prototypes of cultivated seafood, including the regionally prized delicacy, fish maw, as well as Asia’s first-ever cultured fish fillet in a recent cooking demonstration led by prominent Hong Kong Chef Eddy.
Singapore provides Avant with regulatory clarity, international talents, and sufficient space for the next step of scaling up.Carrie Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, Avant Meats
The decision to make Singapore its production and R&D hub will enable Avant Meats to speed up its commercialisation plans, given that the country currently stands as the first and only in the world to approve the sale of cell-based meat. Since December 2020, cultured chicken developed by San Francisco-based Eat Just has been served at restaurants and is now also available to consumers through online delivery platform Foodpanda.
“Avant has grown its presence in strategic locations in Asia to optimise its market access, technology ecosystem, and funding opportunities. Singapore provides Avant with regulatory clarity, international talents, and sufficient space for the next step of scaling up,” said Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO of Avant Meats.
The startup says that its new Singapore base, which will support its existing operations in the Greater China region, is poised to bring new opportunities for local talent. These new facilities will help the firm disrupt the global US$60.5 billion seafood market, primarily driven by Asia-Pacific consumers.
“Our Hong Kong base in Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks will continue operations, Singapore is for our pilot production plan,” a spokesperson for Avant told Green Queen Media, adding that the timeline to bring its cell-based dish fillet to market will be 2023.
The spokesperson for the firm further told us that Avant is “currently fundraising now”, following its US$3.1 million seed round that closed in December last year.
We welcome their expansion here and will continue to work with companies to leverage Singapore to enable innovations in sustainable agri-food technologies.Damian Chan, Executive Vice President, EDB
In January, Singapore authorities urged alternative protein firms around the world to apply early for regulatory approval of cultured meat products, further bolstering the city’s strong reputation as a food tech innovation hub with a supportive government keen to push sustainable protein production.
“Avant is an example of an alternative protein company which has tapped into the ecosystem opportunities in Singapore to bring innovative products to market and capture growth opportunities in Asia,” commented Damian Chan, executive vice president of the EDB.
The EDB added that Singapore’s doors remain open for food techs who wish to tap into the framework available in the country. “We welcome their expansion here and will continue to work with companies to leverage Singapore to enable innovations in sustainable agri-food technologies,” said Chan.
Among some of the other startups who have established a base in Singapore include Eat Just, who says that the city will be at the very least its Asian headquarters to supply its plant-based egg and cultured meat across Asian markets, and Swedish food tech Oatly, who has partnered with local player Yeo’s to manufacture its oat milk to supply mainland China and other Asian countries in the coming months.
They join Singapore’s growing cohort of homegrown startups, which include cell-based milk maker TurtleTree Labs, and cultivated crustacean food tech Shiok Meats, who has recently released research showing the promising levels of consumer acceptance for novel cultured proteins among the city’s consumers.
All images courtesy of Avant Meats.