Re-Engineering Food To Save The Planet—Singapore Start-Ups In The Spotlight

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 | 1370 Views

With environmental by-products of food production adversely impacting the planet, several local “food tech” start-ups are demonstrating solutions they hope will turn that trend. Using plant-based or cultured proteins, they are introducing meat and seafood alternatives geared to address the rising need amongst consumers for the taste and nutritional value of meats without the negative health and environmental impact associated with commercial livestock and seafood production.

The livestock industry itself is calculated to contribute to 58 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 57 percent of water pollution and 56 percent of air pollution[1] caused by agriculture industries globally. A recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report[2] has warned shrinking biodiversity threatens the world’s future food supply and recommends that consumers choose sustainable produced foods.

Singapore-based Shiok Meats, KARANA and Life3 Biotech are among the companies participating in the second Disruption in Food and Sustainability Summit (“DFSS”). Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State in Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Water Resources delivered the opening remarks for the one-day Summit.

“Nowadays, when we think of meat, we think of change, with the rise of healthier, greener, kinder meat alternatives. Businesses, governments, academia, and non-government organisations all want to learn how to ride the alternative meat bandwagon, and DFSS provides a place for everyone to learn together,” said Dr George Jacobs, President of Alliance for a Responsible Future (ARF). ARF is an initiative by the Centre for a Responsible Future (CRF) that provides a platform for local plant-based businesses and entrepreneurs to reach out to the plant-based and sustainability-conscious community.

“DFSS brings together like-minded leaders and people with a common goal to address global food security and sustainability, providing opportunities for partnership as we jointly build the Green Protein ecosystem in Singapore,” said Dr Andy T. Kusumo, Director of Science and Technology, Monde Nissin Singapore Pte Ltd. The Philippine-based company owns and distributes Quorn, a line of meat substitute products made from mycoprotein, locally. Derived from fermented fungus, mycoprotein is a high-fibre protein which has a carbon footprint 10 times lower than beef[3].

Mr. Ricky Lin, CEO/ Founder of Life3 Biotech, added, “DFSS is not just an event but a call-to-action for policy makers, academia, enterprises and social changemakers to devise new strategies in promoting a responsible and sustainable future for generations to come.”

Besides the environmental benefits of sustainable food production, Mr. Dan Riegler, founder of local start-up, KARANA, is also optimistic about the economic potential in the plant and cell-based meat sector, saying, “With demand for meat expected to grow by 19 percent between now and 2025 in Asia[4], plant and cell-based meat can have a huge impact in the Asia Pacific region as a sustainable and ethical alternative. This is why it’s important to have local stakeholders and early adopters come together and have open discussions around the opportunities and challenges.” KARANA works with farmers, processors and natural Southeast Asian ingredients to create nutrient-rich meat alternatives.

To ensure a day of fruitful, in-depth discussions, the DFSS has brought together a diverse mix of over 40 local and international organisations, businesses, investors, and industry accelerators. The Summit also aims to foster partnerships across the sustainable food and product supply chain, highlight investment opportunities and showcase aspiring sustainability-focused individuals and small businesses.

In a concrete demonstration of its commitment to sustainable produce, the Summit will also feature a live kitchen with a 100 percent plant-based menu curated by Grand Hyatt, Singapore, and sourced from clean protein partners Quorn, Zenxin Organic, Kroodi, Smoocht, Suka Suka Sauce, Nuzest and Grand Hyatt partners, Beyond Meat and Omnipork.

About 200 participants are expected to attend. The full agenda includes a series of panel sessions, and a live demonstration and showcase of Shiok Meats’ Shrimp Dumplings (made with cell-based cultured seafood).

A distinguished line-up of 35 industry experts from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and the United States will share their insights on the latest developments, issues and trends that affect the green supply chain.

Among these experts are Dr Kusumo, Mr. Jordan Sadowsky, Director of International Expansion, Impossible Foods, Dr Kelvin Ng, Head, Strategic Innovation, Bioprocessing Technology Institute Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Ms. Elaine Siu, Managing Director – Asia Pacific, Good Food Institute, Ms. Verena Wiederkehr, International Head of Food, Industry & Retail, ProVeg International, and Mr. Rob Hulme, Cofounder & Head of Asia, Beanstalk Agtech.


[1]  Carrington, Damien (2018, May 31). Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth. Retrieved from
[2] United Nations (2019. February 22). Shrinking biodiversity poses major risk to the future of global food and agriculture, landmark UN report shows. Retrieved from
[3]  Quorn (2019). Environmental benefits of mycoprotein Retrieved from
[4] Larson, Chris (2019, February 6). Plant-Protein Companies Look to Asian Markets for New Growth. Retrieved from