As more consumers adopt the new diet, plant-based food should offer not just the right taste, smell and price but also the right texture

Big Idea Ventures (BIV), along with Grand Hyatt Singapore, organised its first in-person and virtual tasting for plant-based foods called Tasting Big Ideas 2021.

The culinary tasting experience took place last week and was Big Idea Ventures’s third tasting event showcasing alternative protein innovations.

An image of the food at the event

BIV is a global VC firm-cum-accelerator in the plant-based food space. Its first fund, the New Protein Fund, recently raised over US$50 million.

“Working with these plant-based products is a great opportunity to share with like-minded guests who care deeply for food — things like where the ingredients come from and how it is being produced,” said chef Lucas of Grand Hyatt.

“It was like a black box competition, you receive the products, it all comes in boxes, you open and see — wow these are the products, then we think what we can create with that,” he added.

Here are the top trends that came out of the event:

Fermentation drives more options to alternative protein

Fermentation can develop everything from seafood to sustainable oils, and innovations in these areas will rise in 2021. The development of new alternative solutions entering the market will go some way to replacing their traditional products.

Examples of companies developing such products are Aquacultured Foods, a whole muscle seafood alternative created through microbial fermentation, and Farmsow, a B2B ingredients company developing alternatives to tropical oils and animal fats.

Alternative protein dine-in and take-out options growing

Plant-based options have thrived despite the pandemic, and many products have launched throughout the world.

Angie’s tempeh is a Singaporean plant-based protein tempeh company launched during the pandemic and is now available in multiple grocery stores. Haofood’s from China also developed the first peanut protein-based chicken and is now served in over six restaurants in Shanghai.

In light of the pandemic, Tasting Big Ideas 2021 and 2020 also offered a virtual tasting option where guests can opt to have a tasting kit delivered to enjoy in the comfort of their homes or offices.

Improving taste and texture for alternative protein

As more consumers adopt the new diet, plant-based foods are required to have not just the right taste, smell and price but also the right texture.

Increasingly, technologies and companies like “Meat. The End” is needed that will allow plant-based foods to be indistinguishable from traditional meats.

Cell-based products futuristic concept overseas but a growing trend in Singapore

Singapore was the first country in the world to give approval to the commercialisation of cell-based meat. In late 2020, the Singapore Food Agency gave the approval to Eat Just to sell cultured chicken to customers.

Companies from BIV’s portfolio company, such as Animal Alternative Technologies and Innocent Meat, foresee this trend and provide end-to-end solutions to scale the production of cell-based meat in a cost-efficient manner.

Image Credit: Big Idea Ventures

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