Launched by Tatler Asia, the annual Generation T (Gen.T) list recognises 400 figures who are shaping the region’s future, from founders and entrepreneurs to tech gurus and creatives who are working to drive positive impact. Last year saw Green Queen’s founder and editor-in-chief featured as a Gen.T honouree for her work in advancing sustainability alongside trailblazers in agri-tech and plant-based cuisine, but this year marks the first time ever that leaders within the alternative protein industry specifically have been recognised. In addition, not one, but six founders and investors within the sector are listed this year, in a true testament to the explosive growth of alternative proteins within just the last year and a half.
“The number of honourees in the alt-protein space on the Gen.T List 2020 is reflective of the industry’s rapid growth across Asia over the last couple of years,” Lee Williamson, editor of Generation T and director of Tatler Asia Lists, told Green Queen. “The key criteria of the Gen.T List is achievement in the past 18 months. Given the huge strides these honourees have made in that time, in terms of fundraising and the development of innovative new products, they were obvious picks for this year’s list.”
Below, we take a look at the six leaders honoured on the Gen.T 2020 list and the impact they’re having on shaping Asia’s future.
Blair Crichton & Daniel Riegler – Co-Founders of Karana
Blair Crichton and Daniel Riegler featured on the list this year for their work “making new foods that are natural as well as plant-based” and “pioneering plant-based alternatives for popular foods”. They are the co-founders of Karana, a Singaporean plant-based food tech on a mission to make young jackfruit – a regionally abundant crop – into a popular whole foods meat alternative. Unlike other well-known vegan meat brands on the market, whose labels usually contain long lists of ingredients and preservatives, Karana uses minimal processing to optimise and enhance jackfruit into a meat-like ingredient that’s easy to cook and prepare. Since its inception, the startup has secured US$1.7 in seed funding, which will go towards its foodservice launch this year and expansion into retail in 2021.
Vince Lu – Founder & CEO of Zhenmeat
Vince Lu has been named an honouree for “pioneering plant-based meats with Chinese tastes in mind”. Lu is the founder of Zhenmeat, a Beijing-based plant-based startup and China’s first homegrown startup of its kind. The company, dubbed “China’s Impossible Foods rival”, has developed a range of vegan-friendly substitutes, including a plant-based mince meat made from pea protein, which is available in both pork and beef flavours, as well as vegan versions of Chinese delicacies such as mooncakes, dumplings and meatballs. It has since added to its line-up, recently unveiling two new plant-based meat products that are tailored to Chinese cuisine – plant-based crayfish and pork tenderloin.
Dr. Ka Yi Ling – Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at Shiok Meats
Dr. Ka Yi Ling was recognised this year for “leading the charge towards sustainable lab-grown seafood”. She is the co-founder and chief scientific officer at Singapore-based Shiok Meats, a food tech working on cell-based crustaceans, starting with shrimp. Since its inception in 2018, the company has already successfully sampled their cultivated shrimp product in a siu mai dish last year and even won a spot on Fast Company’s top 10 most innovative companies in the Asia-Pacific region. With its US$12.6 million Series A funding round in the bag, the company plans to construct the world’s first commercial pilot plant by 2022 that is dedicated to cell-based minced shrimp and crustacean production.
John Cheng – Founder & Director of Innovate 360
John Cheng was acknowledged on the Gen.T 2020 list for his work “helping companies create the foods of the future”. Cheng is the founder and director of Innovate 360, a Singapore-based incubator providing financial and practical support to food tech and agri-tech startups that are innovating solutions for some of the most pressing challenges within our broken food system. It is the first incubator within Southeast Asia with manufacturing facilities that are backed by the Singapore government. Today, Innovate 360 has assisted more than 25 food startups across different categories, including Shiok Meats and Karana.
Kathlyn Tan – Director of Rumah Group & Foundation
Kathlyn Tan was recognised for “preserving land and sea life”. As the director of Rumah Group & Foundation, a family office based in Singapore, Tan leads the company’s sustainability campaigns, including providing grants to environmental nonprofits in the region. Rumah Group is also currently focused on impact investment as a core part of its strategy, with its core interest areas in this segment including alternative protein companies. Tan has also co-founded Coastal Natives, an organisation that brings together a community of conservationists to create events to raise awareness about ocean pollution.
All images courtesy of Generation T / Tatler Asia.