Central Singapore. Image credit: kurmyshov / iStock

Temasek unveils foodtech platform & innovation center; partners with ADM

November 15, 2021

Singapore sovereign investor Temasek has established a new company which will work with food manufacturers and tech startups to scale up production of alt-proteins and other “sustainable” food products across Asia Pacific.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform will offer support to foodtech industry players as “an enabler, operator, and investor,” its CEO Mathys Boeren said in a statement.

The platform will “provide bespoke solutions and support to aspiring foodtech companies at every stage of their growth cycle,” he added. “With our support to remove friction-to-adoption, companies can speed up their product development and pilot launch, as well as accelerate their commercial scale-up and go-to-market. In the end, it is our goal to delight consumers across Asia with tasty, fresh, traceable, and sustainable food.”

Prior to his appointment, Boeren had an almost three-decade career with agrifood corporates including Unilever, Imperial Chemical Industries, Givaudan, Symrise, and most recently with Kerry, where he was president of taste.

He’ll be joined at the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform by “a core team of foodtech professionals,” the statement said.

Among other things, the new company will offer R&D advisory services, cross-border commercialization opportunities, and pilot-scale as well as commercial-scale manufacturing facilities. It will also “allocate capital to promising foodtech startups” where it identifies investment opportunities that align with its wider business objectives.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform has already signed, or is exploring, multiple partnerships which were detailed as part of today’s announcement.

It has agreed to form a joint venture with US agrifood major ADM to leverage the latter’s expertise in precision fermentation. The collaboration will seek to enable contract development and manufacturing services for microbial proteins which are used in the production of various alt-protein products.

A potential second joint venture is being discussed with Cremer, which will boost the platform’s plant-based protein manufacturing capabilities by bringing on board the German company’s high moisture extrusion (HME) technology. HME techniques can be used to create textures in plant-based proteins that closely resemble those in animal-derived meat.

The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform has also agreed to jointly invest S$30 million ($22.2 million) alongside the Singapore Institute of Food & Biotechnology Innovation — part of A*STAR, Singapore’s national R&D agency — into a new Food Tech Innovation Center (FTIC) over the next three years.

The FTIC will act as “a one-stop shop where aspiring [startups] will have access to a food-grade pilot scale facility with extrusion and fermentation equipment, shared labs, test kitchens, [and] co-working spaces,” the partners said.

The establishment of both the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and the FTIC was first teased by Temasek executives almost a year ago, when the sovereign fund said it may set up a dedicated unit to manage its portfolio companies in the agrifood sectors.

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