Growthwell Foods, a Singapore-based manufacturer of plant-based seafood analogs, has announced it has raised $22 million in funding.
The Series A round was led by Creadev, the investment firm controlled by France’s Muillez family, which founded retailer Auchan.
Other new investors participating in the round included GGV Capital and Iris Fund, a joint venture of Iris Capital and Hanwha supported by Penjana Kapital. Existing investors DSG Consumer Partners and Temasek also joined in.
Growthwell said it will use the funds to accelerate its business expansion and product development efforts across Asia. While its focus so far has been on novel plant-based seafood replacements, it is working on “a new collection of seafood and chicken alternatives aimed at the growing number of flexitarians,” it said in a statement.
The family-run company that eventually became Growthwell has a heritage reaching back to 1989, when founder Chou Shih Hsin began manufacturing traditional Asian vegetarian products in Malaysia. These included the wheat gluten-based ‘mock meats’ that are often used in the Buddhist cuisine of China and other East and Southeast Asian countries. The group also operates several vegetarian restaurants in Singapore.
Since rebranded and reorganized into a foodtech-focused venture, Growthwell is today helmed by Shih Hsin’s son Justin, who previously founded vegetarian restaurant chain Greendot in 2011 and digital farmer-to-restaurant marketplace Glife Technologies in 2017.
Under Justin’s executive directorship, Growthwell has shifted its focus to novel plant-based seafood and chicken replacements.
At the time of its last funding round in April 2020 — which saw it raise $8 million from Temasek and other investors — Growthwell also announced its own investment in ChickP, an Israeli startup developing chickpea-based protein ingredients for meat and seafood replacements.
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In a statement, Alan Zhu, co-head of Creadev China, said: “Observing consumers’ rising consciousness toward healthy eating and sustainable consumption, we have a strong conviction that the plant-based food targeting the younger generation and flexitarian consumer group will have robust growth in the years ahead.”
He said that Creadev had opted to back Growthwell above other companies “as it commands whole value chain competence from ingredients to product and differentiation of plant-based seafood with [an] Asian cuisine focus.”
“We believe Justin, together with the highly motivated management team, can bring the business to another level and one day become the champion in this uprising market,” he added.