Future Food Now: Asia-Pacific (#1)

Future Food Now: Asia-Pacific (#1)
By Michal Klar • Issue #1 • View online
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I am a plant-based investor, advisor and entrepreneur based in and focusing on Asia-Pacific region - home to 60% of the global population with the fastest growing animal protein production. My mission is to accelerate the region’s transition to sustainable plant-based & clean meat alternatives.
Expect ~monthly selection of top stories covering local start-ups, Asian expansion of global players, investments, trends, events, research, people and more.
Feel free to email me with feedback, story suggestions or just to introduce yourself (especially if you are an entrepreneur or an investor interested in Asia-Pacific).

Beyond Burger expands to Singapore and Taiwan
In mid-August, Beyond Burger launched in Singapore, its first market in South East Asia. Over 1,000 plant-based burgers a day have been sold during the launch event out of a food truck in a popular Orchard shopping area. The burger is now available at mezza9 restaurant at Grand Hyatt hotel. Singapore’s debut has been made possible thanks to the collaboration between Green Monday and the Grand Hyatt’s F&B director, Jerome Pagnier
Beyond Meat’s flagship product has also expanded to Taiwan, launching at 14 TGI Friday locations. In Hong Kong, the American company’s first international market, the overall sales quadrupled since the launch in 2017. One of the most popular burger chains in HK - The Butcher’s Club - claims the Beyond Burger is now responsible for 10% of their total sales
Omnipork further expansion in Hong Kong
Right Treat is a Hong Kong-based startup, founded by David Yeung (Green Monday). Their product, Omnipork - a ‘new generation’ plant-based alternative to pork, made from pea & soy proteins, shiitake mushroom and rice - is specifically formulated to work well as an ingredient in Chinese-style cooking. After launching earlier this year at Kind Kitchen and several high-end hotel restaurants, it is now also available at King of Sheng Jian, a local eatery that specialises in shengjianbao, Shanghainese pork buns.
Chefs get creative with Impossible Foods in Macau and HK
Earlier this year Impossible Foods has chosen Hong Kong as the first market to expand outside of the US. It is now also available in Macau, a favorite tourist spot not far from HK. Several restaurants at Galaxy Macau resort are offering eight different dishes made with the plant-based beef by Impossible, including traditional Chinese options like noodles, buns and dumplings. 
Hong Kong and Macau seem to be a great testing ground for a versatility of Impossible Foods’ product - both cities are known for their dynamic, diverse restaurant scene, creative chefs and open-minded consumers. There are currently more dishes like Impossible Baos, Impossible Burritos or Impossible Croissants than an actual Impossible ‘burgers’ in HK/Macau.
Impossible Croissant @ Urban Bakery (Hong Kong)
Impossible Croissant @ Urban Bakery (Hong Kong)
Shiok Meats is the first ‘clean meat’ startup in South East Asia
Co-founded recently by two stem cell scientists, Dr Sandhya Sriram and Dr KaYi Ling, Shiok Meats is the first Singapore-based clean meat startup (and also the first in South East Asia). The company currently focuses on cultured seafood. Ryan Bethencourt (Wild Earth, ex-IndieBio) is an advisor. The startup is in an early R&D phase and seeking seed funding to develop a prototype.
Pizza Express chain introduces Just Egg pizza and pasta in Hong Kong
Popular chain Pizza Express has introduced 100% plant-based breakfast pizza in Hong Kong, topped with a mung bean based eggless Just Egg (as well as plant-based sausage and dairy-free mozzarella). It also offers a plant-based Spaghetti Carbonara made with Just Egg and mushroom puree.
JUST (previously Hampton Creek) is another American company from the sector (next to Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods) that has chosen Hong Kong as its first international market. One of the JUST’s investors is Horizons Ventures, a VC fund of HK billionaire, Li Ka-Shing.
Josh Tetrick, CEO of JUST, when asked recently in an interview by Hong Kong’s Foodie magazine why Asia has been their first market outside the US, said:
More than four billion people live in Asia, and it simply can’t be ignored by those of us who want to radically transform the global food system for the better.
Costco Australia offers affordable plant-based burgers
Costco Australia has collaborated with a plant-based food company to sell plant-based meat for the first time at its stores across the country. 15-pack (1.5kg) of Meat Free Traditional Burgers costs AU$14.59 (US$10.50) - or less AU$1 per patty. The burgers were formulated for Costco by The Fry Family Food Company, which has been making plant-based meat alternatives for 27 years.
Sunfed Meats ramps up the production, availability, announcing new products
Sunfed Meats, New Zealand-based startup offering plant-based chicken chunks made from pea protein is ramping up the production and increasing availability of the product. Their ‘chicken-free chicken’ is now available at all locations of Countdown, the country’s leading supermarket chain, owned by Australian Woolworths Group. It brings a total number of outlets selling Sunfed’s chicken to over 250. The startup also announced that it is working on its second product: “no-bull burger” (plant-based beef patty) to be introduced in Q4 2018.
Domino’s, Subway, others add plant-based options in AUS/NZ
Domino’s Pizza chain is now offering a plant-based cheese at all 109 of its New Zealand locations, while Australia’s Mexican-inspired chain Zambrero added dairy-free cheese to its 170 restaurants after it has been trialled in Victoria region early this year.
Domino’s NZ is using a Kiwi product by Angel Foods, while Zambrero is offering Aussie brand Mylife.
In August Subway has been trialling new 100% plant-based sub sandwich with ‘smashed falafel’ at 100 selected locations across Australia and New Zealand.
GFI hires a director for China
The Good Food Institute (GFI), an influential non-profit working to support and accelerate commercialisation of plant-based and clean meat, hired Hong Kong-based Elaine Siu as its first managing director for Greater China. It now has two team members based in Asia (the other one: Varun Deshpande in India). GFI is also working closely with Food Frontier, an organisation with a similar mission, focused mostly on Australia and New Zealand, led by Thomas King
First conference in India focusing on clean meat (or “ahimsa meat”?)
The first ‘Future of Protein Summit’ in India was held in August in Hyderabad, organised by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, the Humane Society International and the Good Food Institute:
Varun Deshpande, Managing Director of GFI India, said:
Our Chief Guest and the keynote speaker was Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development Mrs Maneka Gandhi, who is responsible for a significant portion of the National Nutrition Mission budget. Other speakers included plant-based and clean meat entrepreneurs from all over the world, eminent scientists, and political leaders. We’re positive the event will create more interest and investment in plant-based and clean meat protein.
Some of the local media covering the event used a term “ahimsa meat”, which can be roughly translated as “cruelty-free meat” (“ahimsa” refers to non-violence towards all living things in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions). The current debate over the best name for clean/cultured/cell-based/craft meat is focused almost entirely on English language nomenclature. Many of the proposed terms do not translate well into other languages, including some of the major ones like Mandarin. It will be interesting to see how it evolves as these products become more available internationally.
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Michal Klar
By Michal Klar

Business news and deep dives into plant-based, cell-based and precision fermentation in Asia Pacific.

Covering: alt protein startups, funding, product launches, major events, consumer trends and more.

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