See the latest developments in the future of food from Big Idea Ventures and our global portfolio.

For press inquiries, please contact us.

The judging panel considered 155 entries from 20 countries across 21 categories. The winners will be announced during a special virtual ceremony on 15 September at 3pm (BST), sponsored by ADM on FoodBev Media’s YouTube Channel.

To ensure you don’t miss the ceremony you can sign up to the YouTube Premiere here.

A full list of finalists in each category follows below.


Best alcohol drink

Tiger Gin

ALDI – exclusive Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rose

Pals Vodka – Central Otago Peach & Passionfruit and Soda

TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Lola


Best beverage concept

REBBL Stacked Coffee

ISH – a mindful drinking company

Bemuse – Sparkling Low Alcohol Mead

OTO CBD – Pump Action Booster

DOKI DOKI – Functional Beverages


Best beverage ingredient

FUL Foods – Carbon Negative FUL® Superfood

ikaffe partner co ltd – chillme

Soylent – Soy Protein Isolate


Best bottle in glass

Ardagh Group – Absolut Movement


Best can or alubottle

CANPACK – BAVARIA 8.6

Canpack – ZUBR (Kompania Piwowarska) Demonstrates How Packaging Can Serve Corporate Social Responsibility
TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Rainforest


Best CSR or sustainability initiative

Harley Refrigeration – Parker Ammonia Submicronic Filter System

Canpack – ZUBR (Kompania Piwowarska) Demonstrates How Packaging Can Serve Corporate Social Responsibility


Best dairy drink

Inner Mongolia Yili Group Co., Ltd – Youngfun Milk Bubble

Inner Mongolia Yili Group Co., Ltd. – Yiran Milk Mineral Salt Milk Tea

Hunt and Brew – Extra Creamy and Hunt and Brew Skinny

Maple Hill – Zero Sugar Organic Milk


Best environmentally friendly packaging

PepsiCo Design & Innovation – SodaStream Professional

Brownes Dairy – Australia’s First Fully Renewable Carton!

Aptar Food+Beverage – Rocket

TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Pac Round


Best functional drink

Clutch Cognition ApS – Clutch Cognition

Qula Co Inc – Qula Kombucha Tabs

The GUTsy Captain – Kombucha Zero

OTO CBD – pump-action CBD Booster


Best infusion or botanical drink

DRY – Botanical Bitters & Soda

ikaffe partner co ltd – chillme

MAISON VILLEVERT – June Royal Pear & Cardamom

Tezahn – Organic Herbal Cold Infusions


Best Juice or juice drink

ALDI-exclusive Nature’s Nectar Watermelon Lemonade

ALDI-exclusive Simply Nature Organic Juice Blends

ALDI-exclusive VitaLife Cold Pressed Juice

MB 3 Ocean – O.Jamu


Best low-or-no alcohol drink

The Duchess Drinks Studio – Duchess Alcohol-Free Wine Spritzer

Gibson’s Goodology – CBD infused tea: Green Tea and Passion Fruit, Jasmine Tea and Rhubarb, and Shiso Tea and Blueberry

OTO CBD – Cocktail Bitters
Bemuse – Sparkling Low Alcohol Mead

DRY – Botanical Bubbly Reserve


Best manufacturing or processing innovation

Soylent

Harley Refrigeration – Parker Ammonia Submicronic Filter System

TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Pac Round

HYDRACT – water hydraulic process valve


Best marketing campaign

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd – Youngfun Milk Bubble

PepsiCo Design & Innovation – Pepsi KSA Music Campaign

Brownes Dairy – Milko

CANPACK – Żubr, Kompania Piwowarska Demonstrates How Packaging Can Serve Corporate Social Responsibility

CANPACK – personalised cans for TYSKIE beer (Kompania Piwowarska)


Best new brand or business

ikaffe partner co ltd – Chillme

Pals

OTO CBD

The Naked Collective


Best packaging design or label

Bemuse – Sparkling Low Alcohol Mead

Inner Mongolia Yili Group Co., Ltd – Cute Star Rub Your Tummy dietary fiber yogurt drink

TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Proud Source

PepsiCo Design & Innovation – Pepsi Culture Can LTO – Mexico

Crown Packaging / Coca-Cola CCHBC – AHA

CANPACK – ZUBR (Kompania Piwowarska) Demonstrates How Packaging Can Serve Corporate Social Responsibility

Kel & Partners – Aqua ViTea


Best plant-based drink

Koia – Koia Smoothie

Soylent – Complete Protein

Patch Organics – Pumpkin Seed Milk

NotCo – NotMilk


Best premium or adult drink

ALAVIE DRINKS – Alavie Fruity notes – the French non-alcoholic distilled aperitif

Gibson’s Goodology – CBD infused tea: Green Tea and Passion Fruit, Jasmine Tea and Rhubarb, and Shiso Tea and Blueberry

Saintly Beverage Co Pty Ltd – Saintly Hard Seltzer

BOMANI Vanilla

The Duchess Drinks Studio – Duchess Alcohol-Free Wine Spritzer


Best RTD beverage

Vessl Inc. – Tea of a Kind

Saintly Beverage Co Pty Ltd – Saintly Hard Seltzer

Hunt and Brew – Peru Single Origin Cold Brew Mocha

Clutch Cognition ApS – Clutch Cognition


Best sparkling drink

ikaffe partner co ltd – Chillme

REBBL POP

Bemuse – Sparkling Low Alcohol Mead

TRIVIUM PACKAGING – Waiakea


Best technology innovation

Botrista Technology – Botrista DrinkBot

HYDRACT – water hydraulic process valve

NotCo – NotMilk

Plant-based meat products have made their way into grocery stores, restaurants, and onto kitchen tables thanks in large part to Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

Now your pet’s food bowl is the next place you might find plant-based products.

Pet ownership and spending has boomed in the U.S. amid the pandemic. Seventy percent of Americans, or roughly 90.5 million homes, now own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. That represents an all-time high and is up from 67% of households in 2020.

In 2020, $103.6 billion was spent in the U.S. on pet-related products and services, a 6.5% year-over-year increase, according to the APPA.

The biggest portion of that expenditure is on pet food and treats, which totaled $42 billion, up 9.7% year-over-year. Not only was that increase driven by new pet owners, but also by people just spending more on their pets — 30% of pet owners said they spent more on their pet in 2020 than the previous year, while only 10% said they spent less, according to the APPA.

With more consumers choosing to eat plant-based products for environmental and health reasons — sales of those products are expected to achieve a 30% compound annual growth rate through 2025, according to a UBS report — the expectation is that they could make similar decisions for their pet’s food.

“A lot of people are like, ‘Your customers are plant-based vegans and vegetarians,’ and actually they’re not,” said Ryan Bethencourt, CEO of Wild Earth, an alternative protein pet food company. “Our customers are people that care about, first and foremost, the health of their animals, and secondly about sustainability.”

Introducing plant-based foods to pets

“In the same way that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have found that a majority of their customers are people that care about ESG, about climate change, about sustainability, about health — those are our customers too,” Bethencourt said.

Wild Earth, which sells plant-based dog food and treats made from things like dried yeast, chickpeas, oats, and pea proteins, saw 700% growth from 2020 to 2021 and now has more than 40,000 customers in the U.S., Bethencourt said. The company does not disclose its revenue.

The company initially gained recognition in 2019 when Bethencourt closed a deal with Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank.” It raised an additional $11 million in a Series A several months later that included investors like Mars Petcare, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, vegan investment fund VegInvest, and Cuban.

Now, Wild Earth has closed a new $23 million funding round that again included Cuban and VegInvest, as well as Big Idea Ventures, whose chief investment officer is former Beyond Meat board member Tom Mastrobuoni. Actor Paul Wesley and Bitburger Ventures, the venture arm of the eponymous German beer brewery, also invested in this most recent round.

The company will use the funding to produce new dog and cat foods, as well as develop beef, chicken, and seafood cell-based meats, which aims to be more sustainable and cruelty-free.

“Of the meat we consume in the U.S., 25% to 30% of it goes to our pets,” Bethencourt said. “There’s this outdated perspective that the intestines and whatever else goes to our pets; that doesn’t happen anymore.”

“Entire factory farms are running to feed our pets, and it just makes no sense to make little brown balls of protein if we can make it with plants,” he said.

Pet food producers see plant-based future

Other pet food producers are also seeing the opportunity for more plant-focused products.

Mars, which is an investor in Wild Earth and owns pet food brands like Iams, Pedigree, and Whiskas, launched a “plant-first formula” in June called Karma. While the product is marketed as having 60% of its ingredients coming from plants, it also includes chicken or white fish.

Nestlé, which produces pet food products under the Purina brand, launched a dog and cat food in Switzerland in 2020 that includes proteins from plants as well as insects. Mars also is launching a dry cat food made with black soldier fly larvae insect meal in the U.K., one of several bug protein-based foods currently in the works for pets.

Freshpet, which sells refrigerated dog and cat food, said it will start to produce a vegetarian dog food line that will be available at Petco locations this year.

Bethencourt said that he expects General Mills, which owns pet food company Blue Buffalo, will also have a plant-based pet product in the next two years.

It’s a trend that he doesn’t see slowing down as long as the same thing is happening on dining room and restaurant tables across the U.S.

“The same consumers who are buying Beyond or Impossible burgers are the same people who are switching their pets over to plant-based diets,” he said.

Plant-based dog food company Wild Earth has secured $23 million in a new Series A Plus funding round and plans to launch new cat and dog foods in 2022 — including cell-based beef, chicken and seafood products.

Wild Earth was founded by IndioBio co-founder Ryan Bethencourt and is headquartered in Berkeley, California and Durham, North Carolina. The company pioneered “cleaner label”, high-quality vegan dog food when it launched back in 2018. It offers supplements and treats as well as dog food via direct-to-consumer retail.

Cleaner food for pets

Bethencourt is a longtime vegan as well as an entrepreneur and impact investor, having backed more than 120 early-stage food and biotech startups over the last several years. In 2020, he and food scientist Mariliis Holm (formerly of Finless Foods) launched Sustainable Food Ventures, a rolling fund dedicated to future food companies.

Wild Earth’s current dog food products are made from yeast, pea protein, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and other plant-based ingredients. Bethencourt closed a deal for the company with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank in 2020, which helped bring the concept of plant-based pet food further into the mainstream. Cuban contributed to this new round of funding, which also saw participation from At One Ventures Veginvest, Big Idea Ventures, Bitburger Ventures, Gaingels, and actor Paul Wesley.

Wild Earth founder Ryan Bethencourt

Disrupting the $40B pet food industry

Wild Earth will release new products in the next year, including cell-based dog and cat food, which the company says it is currently developing. So far, it is working on beef, chicken, and seafood cell-based meat products.

“With the skyrocketing growth of plant-based dog food and Wild Earth having grown our revenue 700%, more than double the growth rate of the plant based meat and dairy industry, we’re excited to win market share in the $40 billion US pet food industry and create two new categories in the pet food industry,” Bethencourt told Green Queen.

He added that the company’s 40,000-plus customers have been a major contributor to growth.

Cell-based pet food

Wild Earth’s announcement that it will develop cell-based pet food comes just a few weeks after Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based startup Because, Animals debuted a cultured mouse meat product for cats. And in 2020, biotech company Bond Pet Foods, Inc. said it had developed the world’s first cultured chicken protein for cats and dogs.

None of these products have actually reached the market yet, since cell-based pet food will presumably have to go through a regulatory approvals process much like meat being developed for human consumption.

The pet food industry currently accounts for about a quarter of meat production, and as much as 21% of the world’s GHG emissions come from the production of meat and dairy.

“Meat production is the most climate intensive part of our food system, driving nearly as many emissions as the global energy sector,” Tom Chi of At One Ventures noted in today’s press release. “Wild Earth is changing the game by addressing the 20+% of meat consumption that goes to pets.”

Wild Earth says it is “on track” to release cell-based pet food in 2022, though the company has provided no further details at this time about where and via which channels (e.g., retail) it might do this.

CULT Food Science Corp., the Canadian investment platform has finalized a strategic investment in Novel Farms, a California based company that specializes in cell-cultured meat.

So far, CULT has exclusively invested in cell-cultured meat and dairy companies, which is why Novel Farms is an ideal addition to its portfolio. The company is working on proprietary tissue development processes with the goal of producing whole cuts of gourmet cell-cultured meat. These gourmet meats will include products such as Iberian pork and dry-cured Iberian ham.

According to Novel Farms, it will use the new funding to add on to its team, begin a pilot, and increase production. The company aims for its products to be distributed through fine dining restaurants and foodservice, and later become available at speciality retailers. The company has already shown promise, as earlier this year, it was declared as a semifinalist of the XPRIZE Foundation Challenge.

“A sustainable, safe and secure solution will be required to meet the global growing consumer demand for meat and dairy products, and at CULT Food Science we unequivocally believe that the future of food will be science-based,” said Dorian Banks, CEO of CULT Food Science

Additionally, Novel Farms says it plans to offer its Iberian Ham at the same price range as the conventional variety. Although cell-cultured meat is often very expensive to produce, it appears this is beginning to change; late last year, an Indian cultured chicken company claimed it had achieved price parity, and other companies are cutting down costs.

“Using animals to convert plants to meat is incredibly inefficient,” said Banks. “Our investment in Novel Farms, a company at the forefront of premium cell-based meats, advances our vision of a cleaner, more ethical, and more secure food supply chain.”

Singapore just hosted the Alternative Protein & FoodTech Show, organised by industry nonprofit KindEarth.Tech (KET), in collaboration with cell-based crustacean startup Shiok Meats and events company SciGlo. In addition to bringing together the “first of its kind union” of leading innovators, scientists and investors in the space in a series of panels and talks, the show served up a bento box fit for the future—featuring everything from chickenless chunks and vegan cashew cheese to low-GI rice.

The Alternative Protein & FoodTech Show (APS), organised by KETShiok Meats and SciGlo, took place between August 25-27 this year, marking what it calls the “first of its kind union” of food tech stakeholders to discuss the role of alt-proteins in building a climate-friendly, sustainable and ethical food system.

Over the course of the three-day event at Singapore’s Ravel Innovation and Innovate 360, the show featured more than 80 companies, showcasing their sustainable food solutions, from plant-based meat to cultured proteins to an audience of more than 200.

Alt-protein through an Asian lens

Sharing more about the successful show, co-founder and CEO of Netherlands-based KET, Ira Van Eelen, said: “I am so glad that Singapore could host an in-person event where people across sectors could spend time exchanging ideas and sowing the seeds of future collaborations.”

Van Eelen is the daughter of Willem van Eelen, founder of the Invitromeat Foundation and advisory board member of Eat Just, the startup that won the race to become the world’s first to commercialise cultured meat in Singapore. Together with co-founder Olivia Fox Cabane, KET has hosted a number of alternative protein events, including the virtual Kind Technology for Future Food in November last year, and The Science of Taste in Alternative Proteins two months ago.

Startup Pitch Competition taking place during APS.

Its latest Singapore event marks the first non-virtual show it has hosted since the pandemic struck. It featured 8 sessions in total, each discussing different aspects of the future of alternative proteins through an Asian perspective, in fitting with regional food tech hub Singapore being the host of the show.

Among some of the topics discussed include trend analysis, consumer perfections, investments, regulation and cell-based seafood, the space that co-organiser Shiok Meats is leading, being Asia-Pacific’s most well-funded cultured protein firm to date. In a separate private tasting event on August 26, Shiok debuted what is the world’s first-ever cell-based crab meat, in a series of dishes that also featured its cultured lobster and shrimp.

“The APS event was curated carefully so as to help participants gain a global perspective through the Asian lens,” shared Shiok’s co-founder and CEO Dr. Sandhya Sriram. “I am sure many exciting conversations with long-term potential would have been sparked during this event.”

Bento box of the future

One of the key highlights of APS was the exclusive bento box that delegates dined on. Unlike your traditional bento box, the meal featured dishes made with different alternative protein products, from both local and international startups.

Dishes included a plant-based wagyu teriyaki developed by Top Tier Foods, high-fibre and low-GI rice created by Singapore startup Alchemy, and fresh produce sourced locally from Urban Tiller. Roquette’s Nutralys textured plant protein was used to serve up a Thai basil stir-fry, alongside The Vegetarian Butcher’s vegan chicken nuggets and chunks.

Finally, delegates could finish off with artisanal Singapore-made fermented vegan cashew cheese, created by local brand Nut Culture.

Bento Box served at APS.

Aside from the future-fit bento, APS showcased other culinary creations through workshops, which were led by Chef Jose Luis of Classic Fine Foods and MasterChef Singapore finalist Sowmiya Venkatesan of Kechil Kitchen, who used a range of plant-based meat alternatives and ingredients.

Startup competitions, expert insights

APS saw some of the biggest names deliver keynote speeches, each offering their own insights on everything from fundraising and investment, to food science and marketing. Just some of the names included plant-based chicken brand Tindle’s newly-appointed COO Alex Ward, Christian Cadeo of alt-protein investor and accelerator Big Idea Ventures and Eat Just’s co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick.

AgFunder’s Asia director John Friedman, Innovate360’s director John Cheng and Roquette regional head of sales Shi Yun Tan, on the other hand, formed the panel of judges that chose the winners of the Startup Pitch Competition. While first and second place went to Singapore startup Angie’s Tempeh and SinFooTech respectively, the third prize was jointly won by India’s vegan egg startup Evo Foods and Singapore’s UrbanTiller.

Podcast #18: Gaia Foods CEO Vinayaka Srinivas speaks with Andrew D Ive about founding his cultured meat company in Singapore.

Podcasts

YouTube Episode


SUMMARY KEYWORDS

meat, cells, animal, people, industry, produce, started, company, foods, understand, cost, cultured meat, technology, food, singapore, products, gaia, money, challenges, create

SPEAKERS

Vin Srinivas, Andrew D Ive

 

Andrew D Ive  

Hi everyone, this is Andrew from the Big Idea podcast with a focus on food. Today we’re going to be talking to Vin. Vin is the founder and CEO of Gaia Foods based in Singapore, spelled GAIA foods. He’s focused on producing cell based meat, in particular pork, and beef. Gaia foods is an incredible company. I really do try to unpack exactly what Gaiai foods are focused on.  I’m asking often quite simple questions, because I’m really just trying to get a deep understanding of what it is that they do and it’s quite complicated at times, but I think we get it to the point where pretty much anyone and everyone can understand exactly what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, within reason. So okay, over to Gaia foods, really interesting conversation today. I hope you enjoy it. Please do leave your questions and comments after the podcast. Thanks very much. Okay, hi Vin from Gaia, how are you today?

 

Vin Srinivas  

We are doing good in Singapore and I think I’m okay here.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Fantastic. So welcome to the Big Idea podcast in food. Today I’m really glad to be talking to you. You’re a great company in Singapore focused on cell based meat. So we’ve had a couple of conversations in the cell based meat space, I always assume that anyone listening where this is the first cell based meat company they’ve ever heard from, and therefore they might need a bit of an opening introduction to what exactly that means. So tell me about Gaia and cell based meat. What do you guys do?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, well, it’s my pleasure. We are mainly focused on producing cultured meat, that is beef, pork and lamb in the future. So what we are doing compared to any other company, is mainly that we are focusing on structured meat, such as steak, or pork belly, or you can even for people who are conaseurs of Asian food, like you, this kind of structure meats are very hard and unique in the sense that you need to have much more deeper understanding about a lot of biology, rather than just growing cells.  In the space of cultured meat, almost every one, almost 95% of the companies, are focused on producing minced meat that is like meat for burger patties and deep ball, and things like that, what we are trying to do one step forward, and that’s the unique selling point of us. To do this, we are using a technology called scaffold based technology and this is what will give the textured look of the structured meat that we will be producing.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so other cell based companies, as you mentioned, sort of creating mincemeat and it’s much more about the cells replicating. In your case, it’s structured meat, much more complex, like a steak, or pork belly, or something along those lines, something that’s like a real slab of meat that’s been cut out and ready to cook and eat correct?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Exactly. I think what people in the minced meat version of it, you don’t really have to do anything special in the sense you grow cells in large quantities, and harvest them and produce whatever meat you want. However, when we are talking about structured meat, the meat we are all used to, is mainly the meaty portion that comes from the muscle tissues in animals and then also some amount of fat and connective tissues. So these muscle tissues are not single cells, they are well established tissues. So in order for us to make structured meat, like steak, we constantly grow the cells, we also have to push them to differentiate and align them in specific order. That’s what makes it unique, and not just mixing cells.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Sounds more complex

 

Vin Srinivas  

It is, that’s why no one is ready to touch this kind of area at this point in time.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so very few companies out there trying to do this because of its complexity. How are you guys doing on you know, making this happen?

 

Vin Srinivas  

So we are taking a very innovative approach in the sense that we try to understand how these cells behave in their original place. Let’s say if you’re talking about beef, we understand where this is and if we are talking about steak, where the steak comes from, what is surrounding the cells in that micro environment and we decode the ideas about the cells native environment, and we try to bring it out of the system. Then we create material, basically, we decode the material from the animal microenvironment and then we recreate them outside of the body.  So, by this, what we are trying to do is give the cells the belief that they are in the animal body in a specific orientation and order. So they go on to produce structures, which they eventually do in animals. So that is like, if you’re talking about tender loins, they are very high meat kind of a thing and cells do go on to become like that, when we give them the tech environment. So the idea behind what we are trying to do is, we are trying to create the extracellular matrix, which are dedicated for the cell types that we are working on. I think that’s what differentiates us from the rest of the bunch.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. So I don’t even know where to go after that. Other cell based companies, or some other cell based companies I’ve spoken to, they, for example, pierce the ear of the pig and take the cells from that little biopsy, and then they recreate those cells and they’re not really, from what I can tell, aware or not aware, but they’re not even that worried one way or the other, about where the cells are coming from, they’re just cells of the pig, and then they can manufacture those in larger and larger quantities and create pork.  What I’m hearing from you isn’t, tell me if this is accurate or not, where the cells are coming from on the animal impacts the type of meat you’re ultimately going to get. So if you want to, you know, create a really juicy piece of steak for someone to eat, you need to be aware of where that steak is coming from within the animal and then grow, the cells as if they were still in the animal.

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, one thing you mentioned is characters. We are trying to create the micro environment so if we use a steak, it comes from a leg portion and we create and give the condition for the cells of that leg portion. We are not going to take the cells from there, but we are going to give the cells a condition and sense in general. They are able to adapt to different environments. So once we give them the conditions, they go on to become specific type of meat. Like if we give very strong working leg muscles conditions, they become very strong meat like that. So I think that’s the basic idea.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So when you say making a cell with certain conditions, you basically fool that cell into believing that it’s a leg muscle or part of a leg muscle, or part of a breast you know, whatever part of animal you’re taking it from, is that is that right?

 

Vin Srinivas  

That’s exactly right, we can recreate any type of meat that we’re used to. If you’re talking about breast, chicken breast or any other animal breast meat, which is much softer compared to the leg like tissues. So that’s what we’re trying to recreate outside of the animal.

 

Andrew D Ive  

I know I should be asking how one makes a cell believe it’s a certain part of the animal. But I’m sure that’s very complicated and will take us another three or four hours worth of conversation. Is there a simple way of explaining how you make a cell believe it’s a certain part of the body?

 

Vin Srinivas  

We can simplify? It’s not simple, but we can simplify the answer in the sense that if we give a cell some markers, let our body like whichever part of the body the muscle cells are drawing the East some markers are signal molecules for the cells. So based on this signal cells change and behave differently. So what we are trying to do is we are trying to exploit this signal molecules and then do the South that kind of signals depending on what kind of meat we want to produce, I think in a very simplistic manner that’s the technology.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Awesome, I think that that that sort of does explain it in a in a way even someone like me can understand. Okay, so Gaia foods, how long have you guys been in operation and who started the company?

 

Vin Srinivas  

We are a Singapore based company and we started the company with two founders. One is myself and my co founder is Hung Nguyen. We both are scientists by training and we were wondering how we could use our technical expertise to make some tangible changes in our environment. That’s when we thought of food as one of the major avenues which is ripe for disruption and then when we went around to understand what kind of problems were supposed to create an assault, that’s when we realized if we go to any wet market, which is very hard to find, if you go to any vet market, you’ll see that when animals are killed, almost 50% of the animals are thrown away, like skin, bones, blood are all thrown away, which actually at the end of the day, is almost 50% of the animal mass.  So on top of that, when we take 50% of the meat for consumption, eventually we end up wasting 30%, because that’s a trend of general food waste that occurs. We are consuming only around 40% of the total animal, which we put so much energy into growing. So that’s a very broken cycle that cannot go on also, because of all of the environment factors. So that’s when we started our company in December 2019 with a lab in Singapore, which is supported by Singapore governments central funding agency.  We got started with the lab, because we needed a specialized setting, we couldn’t simply start in our home, our garage, so we have to go for many established condition settings. We started in December 2019 and we showcased our products in 2020, where we showed a strip of beef tissue, and we also had some people testing and tasting this material and they gave really nice feedback on this and basically, if we remove all the COVID restricted lab closures, we have just under one year of lab company.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got you. Because of COVID you guys got to pause the clock just here and there. Right. 

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think that’s the time when we really started to understand the business side of things. And that’s when BIV was really really generous for us to get into to understand that we are business school primary school students. So it was really helpful in that regard. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. So in terms of why you got started, you’ve mentioned the wet markets where you know, 80 to 90% of the animal is thrown away after they’ve cut off the thing that they want to sell and consume. Is that why you guys started? Because you saw the inefficiency of it? Or were there other drivers that you could explain to me if you don’t mind? What made you say, Okay, this is why I want to spend the next 10 years of my life doing this?

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think one part of the reason for us startig was what we talked about earlier, the wet market. And also, from a scientific point of view, we strongly believe that this technology is going to be very transferable, transformative, there are some celebs going to shake up food supply chain to the maximum effect in the coming future. So that’s known and we are strong believers in that idea. However, when we started looking deeper into the cultured meat space, we were surprised that there is still a lot of fine tuning needed.  I find there is more discovery that has to be done, and also more scientific data that has to be generated and when we saw that there was still not enough data, we really felt that we could solve some of the toughest challenges in the cultured meat space. That’s one of the major drivers for us, and we can do this with our technical expertise. So that’s where we strongly felt that we can solve some of the toughest challenges, which not only us, all of the industry is facing and that’s why we took on the challenge and started our own company.

 

Andrew D Ive  

And how’s it going? Have you solved those challenges? Are you well on your way? 

 

Vin Srinivas  

We are very well on our way. We started asking some of the basic questions like can we get the cells to grow just from the animals without even doing any god? The standard practice in the industry is you do some but you use some viruses and all to transform the cells to grow for a long period of time. It’s not a bad thing, but it It requires extreme planning and regulatory approval, because it’s very hard for you to go to the market. So one of the tricks here is can we grow the cells without any genetic modification? In that regard, we have been very successful because we isolated ourselves once, when we started our company and that’s the last time we did cell isolation.  We didn’t go back to animals to get us out and the animals that we got from that are still happy and still living. That’s one of the challenges. Another technical question we asked was, how do we think about making structured meat? Do we limit ourselves to mincemeat? Or can we go beyond that? We started asking how we could achieve the structure? And in that regard, the showcase of our product shows that we actually can do the structure meat.  So some of the basic challenges, we started asking the questions, and we are well on the way to resolving those questions. On top of that, our current main focus is how do we bring down the cost. So that’s one of the major barriers for most products to go to the market is the cost of producing it aggressively, focusing on reducing the cost of our culture.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So reducing the cost is a key barrier to bringing this product to market. Have you estimated current costs of producing the meat that you guys are working on? That and I don’t know if there’s a difference, but because your a year old, but I’m wondering if in the last year, that cost structure has changed, as far as producing the meat is concerned?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, when we started our company, our cost of bed mass of the cells, just one kilo of meat was around $13,000. US dollars and now we are well under $6,000 in the calculation, these are thanks to very minor changes in the whole technology, we thought we can remove some of the components, which are very expensive, and we managed to do that. And going forward we are collaborating with a bunch of different startups and also established companies to source some of this materials. So this should be able to bring the cost down to around 1000 $2,500, next one to two years,  and again, when the economy of scale kicks into producing this product, I think they are well underway to being around $200 range within next three, four years.

 

Andrew D Ive  

An extra kilogram?

 

Vin Srinivas  

 A kilogram of meat. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so started off at around how much $1,000 for a kilogram, you’re now at around five or six after a year and given the technology that you’re working on, you see it ultimately coming down to what amount?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Within the next three to four years, it will be around $100. But we still have a lot of ways to reduce the cost because one of other economies of scale. I didn’t talk about this one right now, what we are doing our calculation based on 5000 liter bio reactors, but once the scale is around 20,000 liter reactor, we will again further reduce by another half meaning 50% reduction will be there. So, we have very many more weapons in the toolbox to reduce the cost to the actual cost of meat that we are all used to, exteriors coming in the future. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. Perfect. So you think in the next three to four years using did you say 2000 liters bio reactors or what size did you mention? 

 

Vin Srinivas  

500 fine under 2000 liter bioreactors.

 

Andrew D Ive  

 Got it 500 to 1000 perfect. How much is a kilo of steak today from a traditional source from cutting up the cow. How much does it cost?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Depending on where you go and what kind of meat you’re talking about. It can vary anywhere from around 20 to $30 per kilo to anywhere from few $1,000 per kilo. So if you’re going for the highest rated wagu It costs around 300 to 400 US dollar so we can do the maths.

 

Andrew D Ive  

I’m not sure I would be able to do that. Yeah, that’s fine. Okay, so the least expensive possible meat per kilo is probably said 20 $30 per kilo. You guys are going to be able to get it down to 100 or less in the next three to four years. So it’s possible, I would guess in four to five years that you guys could actually be down to a similar price point to traditional meat.  Now, you mentioned that wagu and other sorts of prime meat, which includes marbling and various other things from a cow, a piece of beef that’s been particularly difficult to grow and ultimately sell lines that are incredibly expensive. could be two to $3,000 per kilo. Are you guys able to produce the Wagu beefs of the world using your technology, and that way you can actually get to product and a price point that makes sense sooner than the four to five years?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, the ultimate idea is to produce meat like wagyu, just to show the extreme proof of concept for people with the same same quantity of nutrition, same type of nutrition, everything exactly matching, like wagu that’s our ultimate goal, but at a much, much cheaper cost, if you want to produce wagu for under $1,000 per kilo. I don’t think that it’s fair market but that’s not our aim, we want to bring down the cost to significantly lower level. The main idea is we are trying to challenge the old conviction of traditional animal farming, factory style farming. So for us to do that, it’s not just the wagu, it has to be majority of the meat we have to target also.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so you not only think that within the next four or five years, you can potentially get to work you mean in terms of the type of meat that you’re producing with the characteristics, but you believe that it’s possible to do so at a far lower price. I was talking to someone on the cell based side the other day, and they mentioned that some cell based companies are using cell lines from sources where there may be some copyright or some sort of intellectual property that needs to be recognized and they’re not clear on that they weren’t sure that all cell based companies take that sort of thing into consideration.  So for example, they’re either taking cell lines from universities, which don’t have the right to use those cell line for commercial purposes. Or they’re, you know, buying animal meat, or cells from a company and that company would be thinking it’s just doing a meat transaction, it doesn’t realize that it’s selling the cells of their animals that they’ve spent, you know, 20 years, 30 years, 50 years, growing from a breeding perspective, and using that cell line for commercial purposes, which could upset their entire industry in a decade’s time. Do cell based companies need to be thinking about this?

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think one thing we should start from very basic point of view is they should be upfront about what is the usage of material that they are going to collect from the animals? They should be told, that’s what we did. We told them we were going to capture meat even though the farmers didn’t understand what exactly we are trying to say. Cultured meat, they don’t even grasp the idea of what we were trying to say. But we mentioned to them about the usage and that it was going to be for food purposes and for the growing of meat. So good thing with our interaction that it was not a meat farming farm. It was a milking farm. So they were okay with that.  But one thing in Japan especially, you can’t simply take a wagu cell and produce meat. Because these are all very copyright restrictive and area restricted, in order for you to use anything apart from consuming it, it’s considered illegal right now. So we have to work with the government because this whole concept of how do we share the intellectual property or how do we even post intellectual property in the first level, because we are taking from the farmers. Do they own any part of it or are we the owners.  So we have to figure out a way because there is no standard template for us to follow. So we have to keep them engaged and also ensure that they understand what we are going to use it for. In general, before we go first for small farming communities, mainly because they are much more open and understanding of our requirements rather than big animal farms, so we have to have a much more active discussion with the whole supply chain of people, like one of the unintended victims of our cultured meat will be small farmers, because then it will be too expensive for regular audience, they will, they will still have consumers, but we have to keep that in view.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it, I didn’t realize that this area was actually as complex as it is. But you know, you’re right, some farms, some breeders have been breeding certain strains of cattle, etc, for decades, and they’ve invested a lot of time science, money, etc. to create these lines of animals, these different types of animals that have certain characteristics from a meat production perspective.  So just taking their hard work and sort of converting it into a disruptive technology you need to, as you say, bring the farmer with it, bring the farmer and the breeder with you, and make sure they understand what’s happening and why and you for you for you all to sort of partner together around that is probably the best way forward. Question. You’ve been going for a year, where do you see Gaia being in two to three years time, obviously, you’ll be struggling, you know, working hard to make that meat down to the $100 and the $50 level from a price point perspective. But where do you see Gaya being?

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think our ultimate goal is to be one of the major players, which can give people real meat options. Reducing the impact of factory style animal farming. That’s our main goal. When it comes to our target markets, since we are in Singapore, and Singapore is very open to this kind of new innovation, which was witnessed by the approval of the first cultured meat sale in Singapore. So we will be launching our products in Singapore, mainly because this market is something which we understand a little bit. And also we have some understanding of the deeper understanding of the markets.  But eventually we will go to other Asian countries, mainly because some of the data that we are trying to produce are mainly meant in the Asian foods. Any Asian cultures will be able to consume our food. But we are going to focus on where are the major centers that have this kind of meat consumption happening. So that is in Japan, Korea, and East Asia and Southeast Asia, some of the countries are because that’s the we also need. If I go to Indonesia and sell my meat for $100 per kilo, I don’t think I’ll have enough market for me to capture the biggest people as there price point is different. On top of that, we also have to do education amongst the general consumers about what is this technology just because I gave something they don’t consume. So we have to do a lot of consumer education before even they can like this kind of product.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so it’s interesting, in two to three years, you’re kind of focus is on how do you build this into a business, which is in multiple countries and take the consumers with you?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, I think that’s the main goal for us because we want to conquer the world but it doesn’t simply work like that. You want to understand each and every market, even though it’s a beef. In Japan beef is very different from Korea. So we want to make sure that we are creating products, which our consumers require not for some corner shelf of the supermarket. We want to engage our consumers right at the very beginning also to make sure that they understand and they consume our products.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So you guys started a year ago, if you were talking to other entrepreneurs that were about to start the journey in the future of food space, and it was, you know, day one for them what would you want them to understand about the last year for you and things they should take into consideration as they build their business? 

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think if if you’re coming out of school, that’s pretty good. You can start and dedicate a lot of time. One of the biggest fears that I had to overcome for myself, was not having a salary coming into my account every month to get rid of the fear. It took quite a bit of time for me and that can be very scary. So you have to get out of the fear and you will eventually find ways to survive and live. On top of that, I think startup in general is very, physically and emotionally draining. It’s not simply like, Oh, you just put in 80 hours a week you are done with it, it can also be very emotionally draining.  So be ready with it and surround yourself with people who understand you and support you on different levels, this is absolutely crucial. So if you can start and do things on your own, that’s good. But in general, majority of the time you need friends, family and other supporters surrounding you, to be there with you throughout the journey. So find some good partners to hang around with, that will make your life so much easier, rather than doing things on your own.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I remember when I started my first company, and the investors came in and gave me a small amount of money so that I could continue and I went through the same thing you did. Feeling really insecure and wondering, you know what the future was going to be, even though I’d been given a X number of $100,000, to sort of roll the business forward. And then I sort of I don’t know why, but I envisioned a curtain and I was standing on one side of the curtain and I was sort of working in a traditional job and when you’re in a traditional job, you’re waiting for the 15th of the month or the 30th of the month, and somebody invisible is going to be sending you some money.  And you’re going to go along with your ATM card to a bank and you’re going to pop it in and you’re going to look and see that a little bit of money has been hit your account or you know a lot of money has hit your account, depending on what job you do. But either way, you’re on one side of the curtain where somebody.some sort of faceless finance person, sends you some money and you’re feeling grateful for the fact that you’ve got some cash.  When you make that transition, that you walk through the curtain, from employee to founder, or startup, if you’ve got some money, and it’s not always that you do, but if you’ve got some money, you may end up writing checks to yourself at the end of the month and it’s a bit of a mindset shift. But you know, at the end of the day, as long as you have the ability to meet your bills, you know, pay for some food, those sorts of things.  I found it a little bit more reassuring that I was the one writing the cheque and I knew I was going to write a check at the end of the month and there was no unpredictability about it unless you ran out of money, of course, versus this faceless accounting person that you may not even ever meet sending you this money and you were sort of is it there? Okay, yeah. I’ve been paid today. So how do you cope with that? I mean, you said it wasn’t easy when you it’s your own company, there’s an insecurity and you sort of spoke over it not really explaining how you coped with it, how you dealt with it.

 

Vin Srinivas  

So, in my case, at least since I’m a freshman in college, I had planned, at least for four or five months, I can push this off. Even I hadn’t made myself mentally prepared for four or five months without salary or any money still, I can survive and that kind of helped a little bit in the beginning stages but again, first month, I didn’t see any salary. It was shocking, again, even how much I prepared? It didn’t really help much. But I think one of the things you mentioned is like, once you have enough money and you have enough planning and passion with you, you will find ways to succeed in one another way.  And that actually was one of the drivers for me right now. Now I’m already taking the plunge to find a way to survive. So it took us quite a lot of mental adjustment. I’m done. It helps you to drive also, that’s a good thing. Like it helps you to drive towards your goal. When you are squeezed, you will become the best part of yourself. I think that helps a lot and yeah, I think that was one of the main ways and also my family and everyone was very supportive and that was one of the biggest advantages I had compared to many other investors, because if your family is not along with you, I think you’re fighting water to France, which has a higher chance of failure than pressing the water at one point.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I think you’re right. I think it’s great to have family and friends and people who are supportive, even if they don’t necessarily understand exactly what you’re doing or even why you’re doing it but as long as they’re supportive, I think that’s really important. But I wonder, did you discover anything about yourself in the process?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, I think that’s a major thing that changed. Actually, in our last jobs, we were good at what we were doing but it’s just like, we have to wait for governments to decide,  some, as you mentioned, person behind the curtain, I have no idea what I’m going to do if the person rejects my idea of something? I think one of the biggest thing that has happened is my confidence, believing in myself, I have achieved certain things and this has significantly changed me. Now, I think I can go out much more confidently and I face the challenge much more effectively, rather than passively, like just putting under the rocks about some of the issues, I can face them directly and that has made a much bigger impact than any other thing, at least for myself.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So having full responsibility for your actions is the biggest change for you and you’re not waiting for somebody else’s approval, you have to figure it out for yourself.

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, I think that that’s the main thing for me.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Wow, okay. There’s so much more I’d love to get into, but I’m not sure we have a lot of time left, unfortunately. So we’ve spoken about how you started, in terms of you mentioned that there are two of you in the company. You’re a Singapore based business and is there still only two of you or are you growing? Or where are you at from a team perspective?

 

Vin Srinivas  

We are total of five people now. We started with two and now we are five, mainly because we need to think about advancing. While we can take the route we are on, it’s very slow, or we can get support from different individuals, VCs, to go faster is just that we can achieve the same result at a much faster timeline. I can, I think that’s the main difference, we are expanding.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So at the beginning, your nervousness was about paying yourself. Yeah. And now you have five people in the company does that add to the nervousness that you now have to worry about paying salaries for the other three or four people?

 

Vin Srinivas  

It actually multiplies every time you add another employee, it keeps going, like when you see a bank account going negative are going down and down. Every time you open it, you find the heart to go and find ways so it kind of motivates us to make sure that we are well resourced. It’s not just like, we want to do everything at the smallest of the amount, we want to make sure that it’s not a random five people we just picked up.  Once we pick the people, we also want to ensure that they do get salary and also they do improve on a personal level. That’s also one of the key points when they’re hiring. They don’t randomly hire people we get unless the reference or network by people we don’t randomly randomly hire people mainly because we will be live we are getting a reference means we are responsible for reputation of the person who referred referred to us and also for our reputation that thanks for referring me but a good person might be able to improve that person. So in that regard, yes, it is more scary, but also more fun.

 

Andrew D Ive  

You make the amount of money you have available sound a little bit like oxygen. You know, the as long as you’ve got oxygen, you’re fine, but you’re sort of aware that the oxygen is decreasing and it gets more and more nerve wracking. Obviously when there’s no more oxygen …..

 

Vin Srinivas  

The aim to not to get to that stage.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So in terms of key challenges, what do you see as the sort of next barrier or two that you guys need to get through to take Gaya where you want to take it?

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah. So when when it comes to the challenges, right now we are restricted by covid, we can’t bring in people whom we want, because we can’t do everything. We need the expertise from other industries. Like I can talk about biology for hours but if I want to talk about designing a bioreactor, and things like that, I am not equipped for that. So we need to find that set of people. And since this is a very new industry, and there are so very few players, there’s not a large enough talent pool available for us to tap into.  So we have to compete with the biopharma industry, which are much better stocked up in cash. They can offer much bigger incentive to their employees. So to find passionate people who can help us achieve our goal is a challenge. We want to find the right people to ensure that we are on the correct path, and to make sure that we are keeping the promises that we planned for ourselves.

 

Andrew D Ive  

That’s interesting. So it’s not the science that you see as the barrier to making this company work or changing the industry or moving the technology forward, it’s finding good people to join the team who will ultimately help you get there. That’s the challenge finding the right people, you make this, you make the science sound inevitable.

 

Vin Srinivas  

Yeah, I think that you can. If I can give an example of COVID and COVID came in, in a traditional sense, if you want to develop a vaccine, it takes about 10 years minimum. So it showed that COVID was a new thing and we didn’t have enough material to start with but given enough of a talent pool coming in together, we managed to crack the problem within a year’s time. So something like that, even in our field. Yes, the science is still not there but if you find the right kind of resources, we can pull that off, but finding the correct set of people who are motivated also, is the hard challenge for us right now.  So because ultimately, we are borrowing technology from bio medical industry, many of the challenges we are facing, they have solved some of the things one of the thing is dating. In the biomedical industry cost was never a consideration when they’re planning to produce any product. In our case, everything hinges on the cost, how much further down, I can push the cost. So we know how to do certain things already, an extra pair of hands will be able to help us with that but when we’re trying to change some of the things different from what biomedical industry have been doing, for that we need a new set of talent pools. So that’s our body of products.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So you mentioned that from an employment recruitment perspective, you’re competing with the biomedical space with more resources, the ability to pay bigger bonuses, and so on. Obviously, what you guys are doing, though, has the potential to produce food that could you know, sustain the human race in a far more sustainable way than traditional large scale animal factory farming. I’m guessing there are scientists who may be swayed by the bonus. But there are other scientists who, for example, may be swayed by, you know, the planet. Is that the case?  So you’re finding that the best way of giving the right people is to communicate with them and to you know, make sure they’re aware that the impact they’re having the work they’re doing can actually change the world for the better. I mean, obviously, biomedicine is also changing the world for the better, but just in a fundamentally different way. 

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think in general, finding the motivated people who believe that they can change the world is very limited. There are a few people who definitely believe that, but we need more, much more than that, because we are tackling a $1.5 trillion industry and for that, just a few 100 scientists here and there doesn’t do the job. We need way more personell than that.  And also we have to think much more radically. If you want to bring down the cost, they simply cannot rely on old ways to do things. So for that, we need much more passionate people, if you don’t have passionate people, and if you don’t give them challenges which they can think outside the box and solve, this industry will have, meaning the price parity to the traditional, will take much longer. That’s why we have to bring in the passionate, driven people.

 

Andrew D Ive  

I think you’re right. The only thing in what you just said, though, that I wonder about just a little is, you said if we’re going to tackle the traditional 1 trillion or however many trillion meat industry I don’t see this technology necessarily as something that is tackling the meat industry or is sort of fighting the meat industry, I see it as the natural progression of the meat industry, to the point where if I was in the traditional meat industry, I would be trying to figure out how to partner with the right companies like you, like others, to be able to evolve my industry to where it is, you know, inevitably going to go. So it’s not a tackling of the industry as much as you know, working with and evolve evolution of the industry. Because you know that i think that’s how we’re all gonna win in this case,

 

Vin Srinivas  

I think the very thing that you know, inner workings of many of these big companies like Tyson dow, they already are investing in companies like cultured meat companies. So, they understand the thing but they also know that it is a natural progression and where they will have a limited option for butchered meats. So they are doing things but at a much smaller scale meaning if I’m growing cells, I’m producing meat, do I have the whole supply chain in place for scaling up? And do the other partners also have enough resources? I mean, are we taking raw materials from that sources or not?  There are a lot of things that have to be worked out before this industry can really do the job. And we definitely can take the lessons from traditional farming industry because they have hyper optimized this whole sector so we can definitely learn from them, there is a great opportunity for us to learn. I hope we can partner with many many of these companies because there’s always something interesting to learn from it whether it’s biology or business side of things. So we hope we can find partners who can help us achieve a sustainable world for all of us it’s not just for one company or one animal or one type of product or something in general for a whole sector.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect. So Vin I’m going to slowly wind this call down. Very quickly where can people find out about you and Gaia if they want to help you support you, ask you questions, invest in you, you know whatever it might be what’s what’s a good way of people getting a hold of you?

 

Vin Srinivas  

So you can just go to LinkedIn and type my name Vinayaka Srinivas or gaiafoods. Or you can just google search you will find Gaia Foods. LinkedIn is the fastest way for us to get in touch and we respond quickly. Or email us at www.gaiafoods.xyz 

 

Andrew D Ive  

So then vin@gaiafoodsxyz    In terms of LinkedIn, Vinayaka Srinivas. Anyone wants to get hold of you. That’s the best way. I’m guessing you’re not talking and instagramming and dancing to music on various platforms, are you that’s not where you’re at? 

 

Vin Srinivas  

No …. We’re not there yet. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Maybe personally, but not from a business point of view.

 

Vin Srinivas  

We are not the way to reach an audience, though.

 

Andrew D Ive  

It isn’t. It’s a good way, isn’t it? All right. So Vin I really appreciate your time today. I’m sure I would love to have spent another kind of 45 minutes or more talking to you. Maybe we can do this again sometime soon. I’m going to I’m going to say thank you very much any last thoughts for entrepreneurs out there? And then we’ll we’ll press pause.

 

Vin Srinivas  

Absolutely but it’s my pleasure again, it was really interesting to talk about this idea, or anyone who’s interested in the field it’s a much up and coming field so If you’re an entrepreneur, I think take the plunge. It’s going to be very rewarding both mentally and also hopefully, monetarily in future. But I think the main thing is, it’s going to be really, really fun. It’s going to be tiring, but it’s going to be fun. So if not, if there are multiple ways to join the communities, please do get in touch. There are many, many options available and we do get expertise. We need expertise from diverse range of fields and that’s all I can say about. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect. Thank you for your time today. Really appreciate you coming on board and having this conversation about you and Gaia foods. This is Andrew from the Big Idea podcast focused on food, saying thank you for coming along. And that’s it. We’ll be going out in a second. Thanks for listening or watching the podcast today with Vin from Gaia foods. This is the big idea food podcast. And we appreciate you watching, listening and participating. Please do leave any comments or questions you have by all means reach out to Vin at Gaya foods spelled Gaia or reach out to us at Big Idea Ventures by big idea ventures.com or Instagram, LinkedIn all the usual places. So I look forward to connecting with you next week, with next week’s podcast and another conversation with a great founder focused on the future of food. Thanks very much. Appreciate you coming by

As ever, investments in plant-based companies are booming. From cultured meat alternatives promising to end factory farming, to new protein technologies, and NBA star Chris Paul’s vegan cheese backing, here’s the latest in the vegan business world.

Chris Paul among investors raising $3 million for artisan vegan cheese brand

Misha’s Kind Foods is an artisan vegan cheese brand creating dairy-free spreads that are ‘kind to the planet and your body’. Moreover, they are soy-free and suitable for anyone on a ketogenic diet.

This week, it announced that it had raised $3 million in its seed investment round. Moreover, among the backers are vegan NBA star Chris Paul, as well as Marcy Ventures and Lisa Shamus & Partners.

‘I’m confident having these investors at the table will be vital to the future growth of the company’, said Misha’s Kind Foods CEO Aaron Bullock.

You can shop Misha’s Kind Foods here

Plant-based protein brand TMRW Foods raises $2.6 million to scale production

Plant-based protein brand TMRW Foods is scaling production in North America

TMRW Foods, a plant-based protein company based in Canada, has raised $2.6 million in its seed investment round.

Now, it will expand the production of its ‘reimagined meat’ in North America. This includes its plant-based and gluten-free shredded protein strips, TMRW Shreds, that are set for launch soon.

Co-founder and CEO Dean Blignaut is confident the investment can take the brand ‘to new heights’ and help evolve it along the way.

Investors include Daiya co-founder Greg Blake, Richard Cooperstein, Eric Patel, and Milne Group.

You can purchase TMRW Foods’ products here

CULT Food Science Corp. backs Californian cell-cultured meat company

A Canadian investment firm, CULT Food Science Corp., specializing in cell-cultured meat alternatives, is adding a new company to its portfolio of investments.

CULT is now a backer of Novel Farms Inc., a company based in California that uses synthetic biology to develop cultured meat products.

Dorian Banks is CEO of CULT. In a statement, they said: “Using animals to convert plants to meat is incredibly inefficient.

“A sustainable, safe and secure solution will be required to meet the global growing consumer demand for meat and dairy products. At CULT Food Science we unequivocally believe that the future of food will be science-based.

“Our investment in Novel Farms, a company at the forefront of premium cell-based meats, advances our vision of a cleaner, more ethical, and more secure food supply chain.”

With the cell-cultured meat and dairy industries still in their infancy, CULT claims it is hopeful it can create more investment opportunities in this space.

Find out more about Novel Farms here

Moolec Science and Grupo Insud partner to develop alternative proteins

Science-based ingredients firm Moolec has joined forces with Grupo Insud, a global plant-based protein conglomerate. The partnership is designed to ‘develop solutions’ within the alternative protein industry.

Additionally, it will use micro-organisms such as yeast and fungi to produce ‘unique’ sets of ingredients.

Moolec’s CPO and co-founder Henk Hoogenhamp said: “We have the wonderful opportunity to team up, co-create, and disrupt together.

“Our partnership will also allow for very quick scaling due to the impressive infrastructure readily available to the group. The more we are, the faster we can achieve animal-based parity in terms of taste, nutrition, and cost.”

Yogurt giant Chobani increases sustainability efforts with plastic-free packaging

Chobani is adding to its planet-friendly efforts by launching a paper cup. This is part of efforts to reduce plastic, and comes after the brand rolled out its new Oat Milk Blend.

Chobani’s Oat Milk Blend will be the brand’s first product to see the sustainable packaging

Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulykaya said: “We all have a role to play in protecting our planet. People have been asking for a paper cup, and we welcome this challenge to start reducing our plastic use, and to spark a conversation about how we can drive change together.”

Moreover, the cup is made from recycled paperboard. And, it will commence packaging on Chobani’s plant-based products first, before it’s rolled out across all products.

Japanese scientists just created the world’s first 3D-printed wagyu beef.

Osaka University researchers used real bovine cell fibers from muscle, fat, and “vessel” cells to bioprint an identical replica of traditionally-farmed beef steak.

Wagyu (loosely translated as “Japanese beef”) comes from one of four specific cattle breeds. It also features a distinctive fat marbling (known as “Sashi”), taste, and texture. Based on these criteria, the new 3D-printed beef is definitively wagyu.

In a paper published by Nature Communications earlier this month, lead scientist Dong-Hee Kang explains the team’s methods and results in detail.

Photo features Eat Just's cell-based meat. In Japan, scientists just 3D printed wagyu beef for the first time ever.
The 3D-printed wagyu beef uses bovine cells in the same way as cellular agriculture. | Eat Just

The world’s first 3D-printed wagyu beef

For step one, the team harvested “multipotent” bovine satellite and stem cells from Japanese black cattle. They use these to re-create every type of cell required in the manufacture of authentic meat.

The scientists then develop “tendon-gel-integrated bioprinting,” the actual building blocks of the final 3D-printed meat product. Finally, they combine and layer the individual cell fibers in such a way as to mimic the specific structure of wagyu beef.

This unique process gives producers the ability to create beef with incredibly subtle variations in composition—such as fat content and texture—based on health considerations and personal taste.

Much like other cultured meat production, the 3D printing of proteins provides a sustainable but texturally identical alternative to traditionally farmed animal products for dedicated meat-eaters.

What’s the beef with meat?

Food production (particularly animal agriculture, and particularly beef) negatively impacts the environment. Raising animals for meat emits greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollution. The process is also deeply inefficient and uses up excessive land, water, and other increasingly finite natural resources.

In contrast, cultured and 3D-printed meat presents an opportunity to produce sustainable and resource-efficient proteins that are virtually indistinguishable from conventionally farmed meat. The process is slaughter-free, and inarguably has a smaller cumulative impact on animal welfare than factory farms and industrial agriculture.

“Over the past decade, cultured meat has drawn tremendous attention from the standpoints of ethics, economics, the environment, and public health,” writes Kang. “Cultured meat is highly sought after due to the possibility of imitating real meat through the manipulation of flavor, muscle/adipose cells’ ratio, and texture.”

This team isn’t the first to try and tackle the challenge of sustainable wagyu. Back in 2018, Eat Just began work with Japan’s Toriyama on cell-based beef, and food tech startup Orbillion Bio held an extremely successful public tasting event for its cultured wagyu back in April of this year.

Plant-based versions are already available. Top Tier Foods’ vegan “Waygu” beef is so impressive that it fooled Japanese-Canadian master chef Hidekazu Tojo, while JAT Oppenheimer’s V Meat version launched to Australian supermarkets back in 2020.

Venture capital funds are betting on the continuing and future growth of both vegan and cultured meat products. To learn more about the venture capital funds investing heavily in this market, read on here.

Advances CULT’s Mission of Building a Focused Portfolio of Global, Innovative, and Early-Stage Cultivated Meat and Cultured Dairy Companies

VANCOUVER, BCAug. 30, 2021 /CNW/ – CULT FOOD SCIENCE CORP. (the “Company” or “CULT”), a Canadian-based investment platform with an exclusive focus on investing in cultivated, lab-grown, meat and dairy assets, is pleased to announce that it has completed a strategic investment in Biftek Inc. (“Biftek”). Biftek plans to use the CULT’s injection of growth capital to produce and distribute formula samples to global cultured meat producers, to apply for additional patents, and to advance their intellectual property portfolio.

Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Ankara, Turkey, Biftek produces an animal-free, non-GMO, natural growth medium supplement to make cultured meat more affordable. A business-to-business company, Biftek utilizes a novel culture medium supplement formula to grow muscle stem cells. Currently, growing stem cells requires conventional fetal-bovine-serum (“FBS”), which makes up 80-90% of production costs. Biftek’s formulation is expected to dramatically decrease the expenses related to creating cellular agriculture products, thereby enabling food technology companies to reduce production costs, reach economies of scale, and bring cultivated meats to the mainstream population.

The strategic investment in Biftek advances CULT’s mission of building a focused portfolio of the most innovative, early-stage, cultivated meat and cultured dairy companies and assets around the world. However, the cultivated meat and dairy industry is in its infancy and is highly fragmented, currently with only one publicly-traded company available to investors in the world. Therefore, CULT is focused on creating an opportunity in the near future for individuals to invest in the future of food by offering access to a promising group of exciting and disruptive private companies in these sectors.

Management Commentary

“At CULT, we unequivocally believe that the future of food will be science-based. To realize this future, we recognize and agree that the input and production costs of cultivated meat must drop significantly to support commercial viability and mainstream adoption. Our investment in Biftek, a company at the forefront of improving the scalability of cultivated meat, advances our vision of a cleaner, more ethical, and more secure food supply chain,” said Dorian Banks, CEO of CULT.

About Biftek

Biftek is focused on producing microorganism based, natural and cost-effective growth medium supplement to grow muscle stem cells. Instead of conventional fetal-bovine-serum (FBS) dependent production, which represents nearly 90% of costs, Biftek’s patent pending formulation decreases related expenses dramatically, introducing a much better and more efficient way to cultivate affordable meat.

About CULT Food Science

CULT Food Science Corp. (formerly Triangle Industries Ltd.) is an innovative investment platform advancing the future of food with an exclusive focus on cultivated meat and cultured dairy. The first-of-its-kind in North America, CULT Food Science aims to provide individual investors with unprecedented exposure to the most innovative start-up, private or early stage cultivated meat and cultured dairy companies around the world.

Additional information can be found by viewing the Company’s website at www.cultfoodscience.com or its regulatory filings on www.sedar.com.

Podcast #17: Haofood Co-Founder and CEO Astrid Prajogo speaks with Andrew D. Ive from Big Idea Ventures about starting a company producing chicken alternatives from peanuts.

Podcasts

YouTube Episode


Transcript

 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

peanut, astrid, china, chicken, restaurants, hao, food, plant based, product, meat, eat, shanghai, ingredients, people, chinese, linkedin, protein, consumers, format, chef

SPEAKERS

Andrew D Ive, Astrid Prajogo

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Hi, this is Andrew from the Big Idea podcast focused on food. Today we’re going to be talking to Astrid, the CEO and founder of Hao Food spelt, HAO Food from China. They’re creating a solid white chicken piece made from peanuts. Really interesting company. Interesting product. Let’s get into a conversation with them and find out how they will be changing the world.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, hello Asterid from HAO Food? How are you? 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

I’m very well, thank you so much, Andrew, how about you? How are you doing there?

 

Andrew D Ive  

We are doing very well. The US is doing well. Where are you today? 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

I’m calling from Shanghai. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, fantastic. So one of many great companies coming out of Asia, really great to speak to you. So today is going to be a discussion, we’re going to talk all about Hao Food, how you got the company started. What’s the motivation for that? Some of the interesting things that have happened along the way. So why don’t you start by telling us about you and about Hao Food so that people can understand more? And that’s Hao Foods spelled Hao And then food? Correct?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Correct? Hao Food is actually a food science and technology startup from Shanghai, that makes alternative chicken protein. This nutritious plant based chicken from peanut is our first innovation. Hao Food actually stands for hao and food in Chinese means good food. But what does it mean by have a good food for us? A good food means food that is safe, tasty, nutritious, and sustainable at the same time.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Now the microphone on my end made a jump when you were telling us exactly what the product was. So tell me. Yeah, tell me again, what the what the actual food is and then we can continue the discussion.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Sure. So how could this Hao Food is food science and technology startup from Shanghai that makes alternative chicken protein, nd our first innovation is a tasty and nutritious plant based chicken from peanuts.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so plant based chicken from peanut perfect and when you say plant based chicken does this look like a chicken breast? Does it look like a chicken tender or a leg? Or you know what’s the format once it’s manufactured?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Yeah. So we are trying to mimic the chicken breast. We come in several different format. The first format is in pate, this big thick chunk of pate amounted 113 grams, so it’s very fulfilling to eat one and then we also come in several different shapes from chicken thighs, chicken fingers, chicken meat balls and chicken nuggets at the same time.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so nice, big chunky pieces of plant based chicken and you said they are made from peanut. I’ve never actually met a company before that’s making in a plant based meat from peanut. How does that work?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Yeah, so we are in Shanghai. During our first day of devlopment we went to the market by sending samples to chefs and foodies. We asked them what do they like and what don’t they like about plant based meat? In China the plant based meats are based on soybean. It has taste, texture, aroma and experience that reminds consumer of tofu. At first we don’t understand it as well. Plant based meat is tofu. But then we realized that the Chinese palate has a very deep memory on the taste of soybean because we eat tofu every day, three times a day and consumers really really expect to get a very different kind of experience from plant based meat.  Because we’re so used to tofu already. So we had to be more creative to find a way, with the right ingredients, that are available locally in China and that can be transformed to a plant based meat and give a very tasty experience as well. Being tasty is extremely important in China, because Chinese palate is also very demanding, very sensitive, very complex. So they demand food must be very, very tasty.  So we really had to find a way to get the right ingredients for this. We tested so many types of ingredients and then we realised that plant based meat from peanut tastes better. And from our testing we found that our consumers loved it. So we decided to go with peanuts as the chief ingredient. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. So tofu is such a common ingredient in Chinese food that by making plant based meat out of soy was too similar. What made you choose peanuts? Is it particularly available in China? I didn’t realize peanuts were so available in China and how did you discover it as an ingredient source for this particular format?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Well, actually, we tried many types of protein but then, my partner Professor Hsu, he’s a local Chinese food scientist, very senior, he actually comes from shangdong, it is the biggest agricultural area in China and he grew up with peanuts. One day he said to me “Oh my god, Astrid we can make great products from peanuts”. Let’s try using peanuts and it matched very well with the Asian cuisine actually, especially because in China, we use lots of peanut oil in our cooking. So our plant based meat being made from peanuts worked really well.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. So if you’re cooking, because you’re frying and cooking with peanut oil, people are used to meats having that slight peanut taste. So by making the plant based meat out of peanut, it’s an expected part of the taste. It’s an expected part of the complexity of the taste of meat.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Correct. It gives a more meaty taste and a more meaty taste means a bolder taste as well. And it’s more umami because peanuts have some very high glutamine and aspartic acid that enables to impact their own umami flavor. The base is bold, and the base is heavy. It’s more meaty.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So take me from picking a peanut. I don’t know do you pick peanuts? I actually know very, very little about peanuts. How do you go from peanuts to plant based chicken? How does that work?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

It is actually very easy. So in China, peanut oil is the second or the third largest type of cooking oil used. The industry is actually just taking the oil and threwing away the protein from that peanut butter. So we kept the protein, we processed that again with extrusion and then we transformed that into our plant based chicken.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So how do you collect the protein from the oil producers?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

So we buy that from the oil producer. There’s the product producer that makes oil and peanut protein at the same time so we buy that from them. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay understood. So you take the peanut protein, that remains from the oil processing, and then you take that protein and you form it, do you add other ingredients to change the overall taste or texture or any of those things?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Yes, of course. Right now we are using nine different ingredients, the major one of course being water and then after that peanuts we are also using corn oil, and then foreign oil, and flaxseed oil and then we’re using binders and then finally Also using the freaking chicken fleet free. That’s all the ingredients that we’re using. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

So nice and simple in terms of manufacturing. It doesn’t sound like you’re putting lots of chemicals and lots of different things in it to achieve that product.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Well we still need to use enhancements, like to bind all of the product together. Whether we like it or not, we still need to use that but the ingredients that we’re using are actually already very simple and minimalist. If we really really need it, then we put it in, otherwise, we dont.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Yeah, so if you don’t absolutely need it, you don’t put it in there. But I mean, you talk to me about flaxseed oil, peanut, water, you mentioned another kind of oil, and then a binder s, apart from the binder, all of it is what you would get from a farm or what you would get from a manufacturer or from a normal agricultural process.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Certainly, it’s all simple ingredients. That is we are already very close to every day ingredients that we use every day in our kitchen.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect. Okay, so how long ago did Hao Food start?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

We were born last year, actually, in the midst of the pandemic in April 2020. We were born and then within a year, we managed to have our first launch in the market. We had our launch in Shanghai restaurants all across Shanghai last March 2021 and today, we are already available at 20 different restaurants in Shanghai.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So this is your company. You started it. What made you want to do this….

 

Astrid Prajogo  

I’m a foodie Andrew, I’m a hardcore foodie, I love food so much but I know that the way they do it today, I might lose my happiness for food because it’s just too much for us, and it’s not really sustainable. So being selfish, I want to sustain my happiness from food forever. So I think we just need to change the way we eat and let’s start it with ourselves. Let’s not pinpointing everyone, then let’s just start it from ourselves. That’s from me.  But another side is also from my daughter. So when my daughter was a little girl, nine years old, we were having a very beautiful dinner. I remember it very clearly that it was in Hong Kong and she suddenly said, mum, mum, I’m not gonna eat this beef soup anymore because that is my friend that I’m eating. So and then from that place from that point until today, she became a vegetarian and I had quite a hard time, as a mother handling a case where my daughter suddenly wants to become a vegetarian overnight but she keeps crying because she is missing her comfort food. And I cannot handle it. So I thought this plant based meat is a great idea because it will enable us to reduce meat intake easily, comfortably. So yeah, I just, I just fall in love with this Andrew.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I really appreciate that you changed, you became a mother looking for a solution for a daughter who had decided not to eat meat? Because, you know, she felt that these animals were her friends. You could have just said no, you could have just said you’re eating them. You could have just said you’re eating the meat. That’s what we do. That’s what the family does. That’s what everybody does. You know, you have to continue eating meat.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

There’s no school for parenting. Usually we do parenting by the tradition that was passed down to us but, if you keep doing that, then I think we will not break from the unwholesome traditions. Not every tradition is a wholesome tradition. So I think when my daughter said that she wanted to give up meat because animals were her friends, I think that was very positive. I would have to question myself if I forbid my daughter at that time for doing the right thing and as a parent, I thought I should support her in that intention.

 

Andrew D Ive  

I absolutely agree with you. I think it’s wonderful. Did it change how you eat and how you see food?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Of course, totally. The way we now think is that the only way for us to keep our health is to eat healthy food from a healthy planet. That’s how I see food right now, as long as our planet is our lamb is not so good, then we forget about the quality of food that we’re eating.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect. Okay, so the company is only a year or so old. You’ve already launched it in Shanghai, you’re in, I think you mentioned just over 20 restaurants, how are people responding to your peanut based chicken…

 

Astrid Prajogo  

We have had a very good response. We’re very glad that we get a very, very good response, especially when we cook our product in Chinese food. Then restaurants who cooks our product as Chinese cooks, as Chinese cuisine, they are just like wow….. I’m very glad to see people enjoying our meat.  So there was an event around a month ago, where we make a Chef’s Table and invited lots of people. One of the chefs was cooking chicken tikka the Indian food. That night, there was one consumer who went back to the kitchen and said tell the chef, I’m not gonna eat chicken, you asked for my input but this is a chicken, and I am not going to eat it. So someone thought that it was a real chicken and she cannot eat it because she thought it was too real looking like chicken.

 

Andrew D Ive  

How did you get the restaurants to take your product? When this is not a normal type of cuisine in China and plant based meat, plant based chicken is still a growing, very quickly growing, but still very small category in China. Right?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Correct. I am a foodie so I always enjoy eating in a restaurant. When I eat in a restaurant, I spend my time building a connection with the restaurant people, build the connection with the chef and so on. So we entered the market, not from professional perspective, but from personal perspective and then from there, once we got several restaurants that accepted us, then we started getting known by word of mouth and then we started getting feedback from consumers. Restaurants started picking us up and it kept on rolling like that. So no secret actually no sophisticated secret, no sophisticated strategy. We just do. I was just doing it from a very personal level.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So you would sit down in a restaurant, you’d order a meal, you’d start talking to the servers and eventually maybe talk to the chef. And you’d talk to them about what you did and it would just go from there. Does that happen every time you go into a restaurant now or do your friends and your family say Astrid this time just eat the meal and don’t try and tell them about your product.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

My very favorite part of the restaurant experience is when I sit at the open kitchen and talk with the chef, probably the sous chef. I see what are they doing, I think it’s just so beautiful. It’s still the same today and I think my husband knows when we go to a restaurant, that I will chatter to the chef if I can. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

That’s part of your experience with your husband. Okay. So it’s available in 20 restaurants, are they all doing the same style of food? Is it mostly Chinese style or  some of them using it in different types of food?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

It’s quite fair, I would say there are some that are using it in western application, some that are using it in Chinese applications, even Indian applications, but most of them are using it in, I would say, the Cosmopolitan application.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay. Now obviously in the United States, there are consumers who are allergic to peanuts. So does that mean that you won’t be coming to the United States? or would you try to come to the United States with a different protein source or it really doesn’t matter right now, because China is such a huge market that it might take you 10 years to get here anyway, before you completely cover China?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Yes, indeed, China is a very huge market but talking about the United States, it would be avery interesting place for us to go, because United States is definitely on a different level already compared to any other part of the world. We understand that there are many people who are allergic to peanuts, but as long as we always communicate clearly, hey, this fan base chicken is made from peanut, the key ingredient is peanut, so it is actually up to the consumer to decide whether they want to take it or not.  Because we already give information about that and actually, when we talk about allergies, some people are also allergic towards soy. There’s always an allergy towards something. So I think if we can give more variety, I think it will be more fun for people to to travel from one product to another, and so on. I think at the end of the day, it enriches their options.

 

Andrew D Ive  

The one thing I would say is when Hao Foods becomes one of the most popular plant based companies in China, you need to make sure they put on the menu maybe a special logo or something that lets people know that it’s Hao Foods peanut, because I know that there will be American vegans and vegetarians when they come to China who will eventually want to try your food and if they don’t realize that it’s peanut then that could be quite interesting for the restaurant.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

It is part of branding, but at the same time, it’s also partly education and informing people that these products are actually made from peanut. On one side you can see it as branding but on the other side, it’s also a label, actually.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I wonder if over the last year or so while you’ve been starting Hao Foods, if there have been any challenging times or difficult decisions that you’ve needed to make?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Of course, there were lots of them. There’s always something every day, but it’s still variable. So it’s okay.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I mean, if you can identify at any point in time, something that made you think about, okay, do I go in this direction or a different direction? You know, I’m wondering if there’s been any times in the last year or so, where you’ve really had to sit down and think about what you were going to do?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

One of the biggest decisions that took us some time to contemplate and to think through was actually making the decision to choose chicken as our first production. Why? Because, obviously, China, eats more pork than chicken but we used chicken instead of pork. Everyone was challenging us saying are you sure? You would have a better business if you made it with pork and so on. But then the four founders sat down and discussed, what kind of company are we going to be? What kind of product should fit well with our vision and mission? We decided it should be chicken.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So you said chicken was something that came through in terms of your mission and your founding principles? What is that vision? What is what are those founding principles of Hao Foods?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Our mission is to sustain happiness from good food for ever and our vision is that we want to be an international, sustainable food company that last for centuries. So for that we need to choose and we need to make a product that speaks well in the international market. Speaks well in Chinese in China, and then in other markets. So we stuck with chicken. That is one of the biggest decisions that we made and we got challenged from everywhere.

 

Andrew D Ive  

And it sounds to be going well. 20 plus restaurants. How do you grow your business in the future? Is it very much by Astrid going and chatting to the chefs and the sous chefs every time you go out for dinner? Or is there another strategy for growing more quickly? 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

No of course not. That way was only good at the beginning, and is not not really the way for us to scale up. So we are also having some distributors that are helping us right now and then aside from distributors, we are also working with Chef organizations and so on. So we enter  the market faster.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Absolutely. From a manufacturing perspective, have you outsourced the manufacturing of the product to a third party to another company, or do you manufacture the product yourself? On a daily basis? 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

We outsourced the manufacturing to a co Packer.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Got it. Okay and so they’re the ones who are taking the peanut ingredient and creating your recipe as it were, from a production perspective, where do you see the product and the company going over the next 12 months? What kind of volumes do you think are possible?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

So by the end of the year, we are expecting to produce at least 50 pounds of product. So for the next 12 months, it will be above 200 pounds of production. We see the next 12 months when people see or think about plant based chicken, they start to think Hao Foods, that’s how we expect things to be 12 months from now. At least one out of 15 restaurants in Shanghai will be offering our menu. Why 15?  because in Shanghai there are so many restaurants, around 100,000 restaurants, so if you can cover only 5% of them, it’s already very good.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Perfect so your initial strategy is restaurants. Do you see this product being available in other channels whether it’s grocery store or already cooked in a convenience store 711 etc what formats do you think this product works best with?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

The next launch will be happening in a month or two from now. We will launch in e commerce because in China we don’t really buy in supermarkets anymore .Well there are supermarkets still there, but the last time I went to a supermarket was about three or four months ago, so we don’t really buy in the supermarkets as everything is online. Our priorities for b2c is going for online and then, after that, we are preparing for convenience stores as well. That will come in a ready to eat format.

 

Andrew D Ive  

And that will be Chinese style, Indian style, Cosmopolitan? All of the above?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

It will be mostly all Chinese and cosmopolitan, Chinese and cosmopolitan. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Absolutely. I heard it I heard it. Okay, so I think that’s really interesting. So 12 to 1500 restaurants in the next year then pre cooked, pre prepared in convenience stores and then also ecommerce. Perfect. So, okay, well, in terms of moving the business forward, where do you hope to be, or where will you be, not even hope as hope’s a bad word because I know you’ll accomplish everything you want to accomplish. Were will Hao Foods be in five years time, when you achieve everything you want to?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

We will be in every leading city in Asia Pacific. 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so not just China but in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Japan.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Correct. We want to be the most loved Asian brand for food.

 

Andrew D Ive  

So I think that’s fantastic. You may not ever come to United States because why bother? You’ve got the whole of Asia to dominate obviously. Awesome. So quick question for you, what should people do to help you? What can they do to help you in China and in other places when they’re listening to this podcast?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

So if someone wants to try plant based chicken that is unconventional, made from peanut, let us know. We’d be happy to share more information.

 

Andrew D Ive  

And how can they connect with you Astrid?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

They can reach out via my email, astrid@haofood.co or simply click on our website? www.haofood.co

 

Andrew D Ive  

Again, how food is haofood.co  Fantastictastic Are you also on LinkedIn and Instagram tik tok and all those wonderful places?

 

Astrid Prajogo  

For the Western world, we are in LinkedIn, you can search our name hao food or my name Asterid Prajogo. It’s all there in LinkedIn but aside from that, we are on Chinese platforms. So we are in WeChat.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Okay, so they can find you on WeChat in China, and Astrid is it Astrid Mahara Maharani in LinkedIn. Astrid Prajogo. Okay, you’re going to have to spell that last name for me so that people who are listening can make a note.

 

Astrid Prajogo  

My first name Astrid? Astrid and then my last name Prajogo.

 

Andrew D Ive  

Thank you Astra that’s fantastic. So if people want to get hold of you, they can do that through LinkedIn, they can do that through WeChat. Or they can do that through Hao Food, no s dot co. And if they want to try your food, if they want to put your food in their restaurant, if they want to put your food anywhere at all, they should reach out to you. 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Correct? 

 

Andrew D Ive  

Awesome. Astrid, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. I really look forward to people reaching out to you and finding out more about your company. 

 

Astrid Prajogo  

Thank you so much, Andrew. Thank you. Coconut says thank you. Listening with my dog, my dog just decided to make an entrance. Thanks for listening to the conversation with Astrid from Hao Food. If you have any questions or comments, please do leave them. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please like and subscribe so we can send you updates as we get more interviews. if it is on another format another platform please do like an add comments and engage with us. If you’d like to connect with Big Idea Ventures, please do so at bigideaventures.com. You can also reach out to me via either bigideaventures.com or LinkedIn. Look forward to seeing you next week. Thank you

Looking for free gelato? Revolution Gelato, the award-winning line of plant-based gelato pints and mini gelato pies, has arrived in New York City!

As part of the local launch, Revolution Gelato has opened a city-wide scavenger hunt, called Capture the Pint. If you’re the first to see their organic pints or mini gelato pies in any NYC location, buy it and the brand will reimburse your purchase.

How did this come about? “We were told by one of our new distributors that they sold our gelato into over 100 locations around NYC — but they wouldn’t say which ones,” says Jared Olkin, founder.

“So we thought who better than to activate our loyal fanbase to hunt down these locations with us, and Capture the Pint was born. The true winners in this game are hungry New Yorkers – who doesn’t want a free pint of gelato?”

Revolution Gelato needs YOUR help to Capture the Pint. Where are they? They could be bodegas, grocery stores. You name it! Some are on the company’s store locator but most are not.

HOW TO PLAY

How do you ensure you’re one of the lucky Revolution Gelato finders? Follow these simple steps to your free pint or pie:

Step 1: Find a grocery store or bodega in NYC that sells Revolution Gelato.

Step 2: Check Revolution Gelato’s #CaptureThePint Instagram story highlight to see if that location has already been found. If it hasn’t been posted on their story, it’s fair game!

Step 3: Buy any Revolution Gelato pint (or pie) there and message Revolution Gelato (on Instagram @revgelato) with the receipt.

Step 4: Revolution Gelato will send you a reimbursement!

Step 5: Enjoy your FREE creamy, plant-based gelato.

A DAIRY-FREE REVOLUTION

Founder Jared Olkin’s passion for ice cream was passed down through generations of his family. His great-grandfather served ice cream in his general store in New York City, his mom had a scoop shop in his hometown of Chapel Hill, and delicious homemade ice cream was a daily part of his childhood. When Jared went vegan, he quickly discovered that none of the dairy-free ice creams on the market compared to the dairy-based ice creams found in stores, let alone the homemade ice cream he was used to. From this dilemma, Revolution Gelato was born.

It wasn’t easy, but Jared’s determination to create delicious dairy-free ice cream was a success. With his gelato, Jared proved that dairy-free ice cream can taste just as good, if not better, than traditional dairy-based ice cream. In fact, Revolution Gelato has beat traditional dairy ice cream in taste competitions, including winning the NEXTY Award for Best New Dessert in 2020 and Best Dairy from Flavor of Georgia 2016-2017.

GIVE DAIRY-FREE GELATO A GO

With the expansion into New York City, Revolution Gelato is available for more people looking to enjoy creamy, plant-based gelato made from clean, simple, high-quality ingredients. Those wanting to join the hunt for Revolution Gelato in NYC have until October 31, 2021 to submit their finds.
While Capture the Pint is based in the NYC metro area, gelato lovers located elsewhere in the United States can also enjoy their plant-based gelato by purchasing from select retailers or online at www.revolutiongelato.com.

Lorem ipsum | Vietnam | cesiscompany.vn

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap