Singapore-based vegan meat maker Growthwell Foods has announced the successful completion of its new innovation and R&D centre. Located within the JTC Food Hub in Senoko, the facility will act as a preliminary production plant, with future expansion already forecasted. The company hopes to use the centre to make a meaningful contribution to Singapore’s ’30 by 2030′ vision.
Having secured $22 million in a Series A round, Growthwell Foods has wasted no time in putting the funding to good use. A launchpad for future expansion, its newly opened innovation and R&D centre will enable both scaled production and outreach into markets wider than Southeast Asia.
Progress for Singapore
Featuring the first fully automated plant-based production line in Singapore, Growthwell’s facility is breaking new ground. The JTC Food Hub brings together SMEs from the food sector, creating a dedicated axis for industry development and sustainability-driven enterprises, but this plant is something new. Capable of producing 4,000 metric tons of animal-free products per year, the line will be supported by extensive R&D activities designed to improve the texture, taste and nutrition of proprietary HAPPIEE! branded products. Particular attention will be paid to clean proteins, with legumes and algae already being explored.
Growthwell’s homegrown vegan chicken and fish products are a step towards the company’s goal to become recognised as Asia’s premier plant-based food tech operation. Underpinned by Israeli food tech’s ChickP protein, the ranges will contribute significantly to the ‘30 by 2030’ initiative. Feeding 30 percent of the Singaporean population with domestically produced food by 2030 is an ambitious vision in itself but Growthwell has another mandate in place. It still intends to make good on its promise to “feed 100 million across Asia with plant-based foods” and the new facility is the final puzzle piece needed to make it happen.
A good investment
Having previously raised $8 million in 2020, Growthwell’s existing investors doubled down in September, reaffirming their belief in the company’s vision. Both DSG Consumer Partners and Temasek returned to participate in the Series A round, which was led by Paris-based Creadev.
Temasek itself has just announced a new platform designed to accelerate the commonality of sustainable foods throughout Asia, so the investment feels on-brand. Speaking about the new development, Temasek said that the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform a”aims to alleviate ‘friction-to-adoption’ by providing solutions and support to food-tech companies at every stage of their growth cycle.”
Alongside A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food & Biotechnology Innovation, Temasek has committed to investing in the Food Tech Innovation Centre. This will serve as a dedicated location for food tech startups to access the infrastructure and support necessary to bring new sustainable developments to market.
In good company
Singapore is experiencing a surge of plant-based progress. Alongside Growthwell’s new production facility, Shiok Meats has announced the launch of its cultivated seafood ‘mini plant’. Acting as the first cell-based seafood R&D plant in the region, the facility will help Shiok to bring commercial products to market. It represents a shift in consumer demand too.
Digital platform abillion reported that although flexitarians account for the smallest percentage of Singapore’s consumer base, they are the fastest-growing. It also highlighted a growing trend of plant-based foods being chosen with vegan meat products demonstrating a 306 percent jump in reviews in 2020.
Lead image courtesy of Growthwell Foods.