Tuesday, 05 Dec 2023

All sizzle, no steak: how Singapore became the centre of the plant-based meat industry

All sizzle, no steak: how Singapore became the centre of the plant-based meat industry


All sizzle, no steak: how Singapore became the centre of the plant-based meat industry

Singapore has emerged as a global hotspot for the alternative protein industry, with startups flocking to the island to develop and launch animal-free alternatives to traditional meat products.

Prof William Chen, director of the food science and technology program at the Nanyang Technological University, says Singapore relies on imports for more than 90% of its food, which leaves it vulnerable to shortages and price inflation.

The strategy focuses on increasing the production of fruit, vegetables and eggs, but the government has also invested in alternative proteins in anticipation of future demand. Food demand is expected to increase globally by at least 59% between 2005 and 2050, when the UN predicts the global population will hit 9.7 billion.

Plant-based products, the most widely available, have yet to achieve price parity with conventional meat, Gosker says. They comprise proteins from wheat, soy, pea and pulses, as well as from algae, such as spirulina.

Chen, who was part of the regulatory board that approved the lab-grown chicken nuggets, says there is less resistance to new food sources in Singapore than in countries with large livestock industries, where the job of farmers and others in the meat supply chain might be at risk.

Another advantage is that Singapore was already a tech hub.

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