In the Chin Bee area in Jurong, a lab has been cooking up pork dumplings, wantons and bao. No pigs were killed in the making of these Asian bites, however, as cultured pig cells were used instead. Alternative protein start-up Ants Innovate is betting its minced pork, chicken and beef products, made from a blend of in-house plant-based proteins, fats and animal cells, will find a meat-loving audience in time.
Traditional agriculture both causes, and is hurt by, climate change. The United Nations’ top climate science body’s latest report on mitigation, or cutting emissions, released in April stated that agriculture, forestry and other land uses accounted for up to 21 percent of greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2019.
Half of the earth’s biological capacity is used to feed people but degradation, deforestation and pollution have damaged vast tracts of land, reducing what nature can provide. In the worst-case scenario, more than 30 per cent of the world’s agricultural land will not be
suitable for crops and livestock by 2100, said a related UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in February.
Agri-tech is part of the solution, experts say. According to the international non-profit Good Food Institute, the cultivated meat industry
counts over 100 companies worldwide, with US$1.38 billion (S$1.91 billion) in investments last year.
In Singapore, more than 30 alternative protein start-ups have been launched in the past three years, working on various types of alternative protein products, including plant-based and cell-based, as well as microbial alternatives, said Enterprise Singapore.
But inflation has caused a softening in the funding landscape for alternative protein companies, noted Mr Andrew D Ive, founder and managing general partner of venture capital firm Big Idea Ventures. Mr Ive said those who want to invest in alternative protein firms should be looking for funds that have global visibility and deep knowledge. “It is not the time to stop investing as valuations are softening. The technologies are improving, so it is the time to invest in the right companies,” he noted.
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Singapore has been a focus for Big Idea Ventures since the very beginning. Our accelerator program kicked off from both our New York and our Singapore offices at the same time. Today we have more than 80 alternative protein companies in our portfolio, many of which are Singapore-based. If you are an early-stage startup looking for investment and support, reach out to us here. If you are a corporate or an investor interested in investing in the space, reach out to us here.