Future Food Now: Asia-Pacific (#2)





Future Food Now: Asia-Pacific (#2)
By Michal Klar • Issue #2 • View online
Welcome to the second issue of FFN with a fresh selection of curated news from the plant-based industry in Asia Pacific.
The format of the newsletter is still work-in-progress, so please keep your feedback coming. In this edition, I included some bits of original content directly from the source (reached out to several companies/people for their comment).
About me: I am an investor, advisor, entrepreneur and evangelist on a mission to accelerate a transition to the sustainable food system. If you want to reach out, just reply this email.
Thanks - Michal

Foodtech accelerator focused on plant-based startups launches in Hong Kong
New foodtech accelerator launched in Hong Kong as a partnership between HK-based Brinc and US-based food company JUST. Josh Tetrick, CEO of JUST, announced it during Food’s Future Summit 2018 event in late September.
The new accelerator will focus on startups that work on plant-based and cell-based products (although not exclusively). It will accept 10 teams per year, offering US$80,000 investment (minus US$30,000 participation fee) in exchange for 10-15% equity.
The accelerator will offer a 3-month program in Hong Kong with “customised curriculum”, use of a commercial kitchen, mentor network and support with China market entry. Participating founders will also get access to some of JUST’s R&D - specifically, their toolkit made up of raw materials from the plant and animal kingdoms. Finished products resulting from the collaboration will display “Made JUST” logo (video).
Josh Tetrick (JUST) and Manav Gupta (Brinc)
Josh Tetrick (JUST) and Manav Gupta (Brinc)
Beyond Burger outsells beef burger 3:1 at Singapore's restaurant
Grand Hyatt Singapore’s mezza9 restaurant has been the first one in South East Asia to offer Beyond Burger - in late August. During the first month since the launch, the plant-based burger outsold its beef counterpart nearly 3:1 at the restaurant, the hotel’s F&B director, Jerome Pagnier told me recently.
Beyond Burger is now also available at all 5 locations of a trendy restaurant chain Privé - as the Asian Sensation Burger with soy-ginger glaze and caramelised pineapple. Yuan Oeij, The Prive Group’s chairman, told me that the customer response had exceeded their expectations and on many days the burgers are sold out (the quantities are limited daily). Initially just a one month trial, the plan is now to make Beyond’s patty a permanent addition to the menu with regularly changing flavours/iterations.
Asian Sensation Beyond Burger at Privé Singapore
Asian Sensation Beyond Burger at Privé Singapore
Impossible adds more restaurants in HK, appears during Singapore's F1 event
Impossible Foods’ plant-based ground beef is available at more than 50 restaurants in Hong Kong in less than 6 months from its international debut in the city.
There is a reason I call it “plant-based ground beef” and not a “burger”: unlike the US, in Hong Kong the Impossible’s product is typically served in ‘non-patty’ form. The latest example - Impossible tacos, nachos and other Mexican dishes at Cali-Mex.
HK’s Urban Bakery introduced new Impossible-based dishes recently - like the Impossible Meatballs, which proven to be very popular and are often selling out in <30 min. Their other items include the Impossible Pizza and the Impossible Couscous.
Impossible also made a short appearance in Singapore during the high profile Formula 1 Grand Prix event (which coincidently has been won by plant-based F1 driver Lewis Hamilton).
Impossible Meatballs at Urban Bakery in Hong Kong
Impossible Meatballs at Urban Bakery in Hong Kong
Sunfed's chicken available at BP stations across New Zealand
Kiwi startup Sunfed Meats partnered with a petrol giant BP to bring its plant-based chicken to petrol stations in New Zealand.
It is offered as a filling of BP’s first ever 100% plant-based pie, paired with coconut cream and vegetables to create ‘chicken satay’ taste. Savoury pies, typically with animal-based meat filling, are a popular takeaway food in NZ and are widely available at petrol stations (some of BP’s competitors also offer plant-based options).
The plant-based pie is priced on par with ‘regular’ ones at BP stations. BP’s General Manager Retail, Adrian McClellan, said:
We think it’s so good that many of our regular meat pie lovers will enjoy trying the Satay Vegan pie instead of their usual meat favourite.
So far the new offering seems to be a success: from predominantly positive feedback in social media to reports of the item being ‘sold out’ regularly at many locations.
In a recent interview, founder Shama Lee told NZ Herald that Sunfed Meats is working on new products (including plant-based burger) and planning Australian launch.
Sunfed Chicken plant-based pie at BP stations
Sunfed Chicken plant-based pie at BP stations
Plant-based event with Beyond Burgers at WeWork Singapore
Office-sharing company WeWork invited Rebecca Cappelli (Let us be Heroes) in late September to speak to its members in Singapore about the benefits of the plant-based diet. Beyond Burgers were served at the event, provided by mezza9 restaurant.
It follows the July announcement of WeWork going meat-free at all company events and not expensing meals containing meat (dairy, eggs and seafood are still allowed) for their 6000+ staff worldwide. According to Rebecca, some participating members in Singapore were not yet aware of WeWork’s global meat-free policy.
Australia & NZ's plant-based chain Lord of The Fries expands
Lord of The Fries, 100% plant-based fast food chain in Australia & New Zealand opened a store at a popular tourist destination of Queenstown, NZ. That brings their total locations across two countries to 19 with several more opening soon. The company’s New Zealand franchiser recently announced plans to open about 12 more stores in the next five years.
The chain is the first to offer Beyond Burger patty in Australia & NZ, available as a ‘premium upgrade’ for their regular burgers.
Green Monday HK founder wins WEF award for social entrepreneur
David Yeung, the co-founder of Hong Kong’s social enterprise Green Monday has been recognised as one of the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2018 at the recent World Economic Forum in New York. Green Monday aims to tackle climate change, global food insecurity and public health issues. It offers schools, catering companies and restaurant chains a vegetarian meal once-a-week and aims to change dietary habits.
In addition to Green Monday, David also runs Green Common, a plant-based grocery and cafe chain in HK and Right Treat, the company behind plant-based pork alternative, Omnipork.
David Yeung (Green Monday) receiving the award
David Yeung (Green Monday) receiving the award
Plant-based and cell-based startups featured during events in China, Korea, HK & Singapore
Interest in plant-based and cell-based industries is growing in Asia - as demonstrated by the number of food/tech events across the region featuring various startups from this space.
Just during September: 2050 China Food Tech Summit in Shanghai and first of its kind Pop Plant-Based Festival in Beijing (read a report from both event by GFI’s Elaine Siu here), plus previously mentioned Food’s Future Summit in HK as well as Sustainable Foods Summit in Singapore. Last but not least, high profile tech & innovation conference SWITCH featured the first cell-based meat startup in South East Asia, Shiok Meats.
Here are some upcoming events across Asia:
Elaine Siu from GFI moderating 2050 China Food Tech Summit panel
Elaine Siu from GFI moderating 2050 China Food Tech Summit panel
Did you enjoy this issue?
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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