Californian startup Eat Just has officially broken ground on its new production facility in Singapore. The mammoth site is located in the city’s Pioneer area and sits atop a 2.7-hectare plot. Construction completion is anticipated within two years, at a cost of US$120 million. Eat Just and a consortium led by Proterra Investment Partners Asia will build and operate the entire plant together.
When complete, the new facility will be the largest of its kind throughout Singapore. Eat Just already has similarly large-scale production facilities in North America and Germany. Full production capacity figures have not been released but are rumoured to be in the ‘thousands of tonnes’. Mung bean-based whole egg substitutes and cultivated meat products will be manufactured at the plant.
Breaking new ground
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on March 17. Tastings of the Just Egg range were offered to attending officials, investors and media professionals. Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling, was the guest of honour. She claimed to find the plant-based egg substitute “indistinguishable” from the eggs she eats every day.
Addressing the potential for Eat Just to contribute to Singapore’s 30 by 2030 food security initiative, the minister commented that, “this will be a big boost to our local production thrust, which will complement our stockpiling and also our diversified import strategy.”
Eat Just’s love affair with Singapore
Observers of Eat Just’s growth won’t be surprised by the choice of Singapore as a base of scaled operations. Historically, the country has been supportive of the alt-protein company’s commercial activities. Giving regulatory approval for two cultivated chicken products, branded as GOOD Meat, bolstered a symbiotic relationship between the two.
Singapore’s efforts to support the alt-protein industry have been ongoing. In 2021, it introduced the $60 million Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund. Initiated to offer local agricultural innovation a leg-up, it was mirrored by Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform. Both sought to encourage investment into sustainable alt-proteins as a domestic source of food security.
“Whether because of food security, climate change, or personal health, innovative approaches to making animal protein to feed our families are necessary in the decades ahead. And Singapore has firmly established itself as the leader in attracting and accelerating these new approaches,” Josh Tetrick, chief executive of Eat Just, said in a statement.
Eat Just appears to be reciprocating the world-leading support it has received in the form of new employment opportunities and domestic access to nutritious plant-based protein. It has been estimated that by 2030, the specialised agricultural sector will create an extra 4,700 job vacancies. Of these, a significant percentage will be recruited by Eat Just. The company’s chief executive for Asia confirmed that local engineers were already being employed for the factory construction.
As demand for alt-protein continues to grow, so too do the production plants needed to keep up. In July last year, Colorado-based Meati revealed it had secured $50 million to build a new 80,000 sq ft factory. When complete, the facility will be in a position to manufacture tons of its proprietary fungi-based meat alternative. As an aside, Meati is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with The Better Meat Co. over potential IP infringement. The latter has been accused by Meati. The case continues.
November last year saw Zikooin, owner of South Korea’s favourite vegan beef bran Unlimeat, announce it is building one of the biggest plant-based protein factories in the whole of Asia. $23 million was raised to support construction of the new 8,900 square metre facility. The location is due to open later this year.
All images/photos by Eat Just.