… As industry grapples with financial volatility throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, alternative proteins are gaining ground in the Asian market amid an influx of investment in the plant-based and cellular agriculture spaces…
Bühler and Tyson Foods take stake in Asia’s plant-based and cellular agriculture sectors
Big Idea Ventures founder earmarks a “significant moment in history for the creation of wealth” in the alternative proteins industry
By Benjamin Ferrer, Food Ingredients 1st
30 Jun 2020
As industry grapples with financial volatility throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, alternative proteins are gaining ground in the Asian market amid an influx of investment in the plant-based and cellular agriculture spaces. Singapore-based venture capital firm and business accelerator Big Idea Ventures has recently attracted more investors to its alternative protein fund, including Bühler, a global food tech company that followed Tyson, Temasek and others investing in these emerging categories.
“Plant-based foods have been popular in Asia for decades. More and more local Asian entrepreneurs are developing culturally relevant plant-based foods and introducing them to excited markets across Asia. Karana Foods has launched an amazing whole plant char siew bao, a traditional barbecue pork bun in Chinese cuisine, and Zhen Meat has launched plant-based chinese style pork and crayfish,” Andrew Ive, Founder of Big Idea Ventures and the New Protein Fund, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Challenges include good quality co-manufacturers who can manufacture these great foods at scale and the funding community is still at the early stages. The plant-based and cell-based food space is a whole new category in food. It’s the first time such a shift has occurred in the global food industry. It is imperative for climate, animal and personal health and is a significant moment in history for the creation of wealth.”
Even during the COVID-19 global outbreak, demand for plant-based protein foods is surging in Asia, as reported by the World Economic Forum. This is as suspicion over possible links between wild animal meat and the novel coronavirus drives some consumers, particularly in Hong Kong and mainland China, to reconsider alternative diets. “The plant-based food category is very active with new product launches across meat, seafood and dairy. As consumers try these new plant-based alternatives, if they have a good experience, they’re more likely to try more plant-based foods,” says Ive.
Still, the onset and rapid proliferation of COVID-19 has notably impacted the alternative protein space in a number ways, Ive flags. “Retailers were focused on ensuring supply of staple foods were available and were less concerned about stocking new plant-based foods. However consumers have been increasingly demanding more plant-based foods as concerns about food safety and the virus have contributed toward a shift to more plant-based food options.”
Funding new protein
The New Protein Fund is a US$50 million accelerator focused on plant-based foods and cell-based meats. Big Idea Ventures’ second fund to be spearheaded, Generation Food, will be a US$250 million fund and led by Tom Mastrobuoni, the former founding partner of Tyson Ventures who had early investments in Beyond Meat (pre-IPO) and Memphis Meats, which recently raised US$161 million.
The Generation Food fund to be launched will invest in Series A and later stage companies operating in one of six areas, including alternative protein platforms, ingredient options, food safety innovation, transparency solutions, logistics enhancements and manufacturing technologies.
“The emergent alternative protein category is one of the most active across the food industry. In Q1 2020, Crunchbase identified more was invested in plant-based food and cell-based food companies than the entire previous year in its entirety. As a data point, we recently invested in our second cohort of seed stage companies and they have been able to secure strong investors in the last four to six weeks,” Ive highlights.
Big Idea Ventures’ companies span plant-based and cell-based meat, seafood and dairy NPD.
Tech-based bites ...
Asia craves cleaner ...
more, including links