ASIA – Israeli-based cultured meat startup Aleph Farms is set to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region through a new partnership with global protein leader Thai Union and global food and lifestyle company CJ CheilJedang.
“As part of these agreements, Thai Union and CJ CheilJedang will help us accelerate our scale-up, go-to-market activities, and elevate distribution of cultivated meat in existing marketing channels across the APAC region,” Aleph Farms said in a statement.
Asia is leading the global food industry in supporting and adopting cell-cultured meats with Singapore becoming the first country in the world to approve cultivated meat and to offer it on a restaurant menu.
The region is also seeing increased meat consumption thanks to rising income, growing populations, and increased urbanization.
Beef is, for instance, Southeast Asia’s second-fastest-growing meat category, with consumption expected to increase as much as 16% by 2022 in a region that, historically speaking, has primarily consumed fish and other seafood.
Increased demand for meat is however not matched with supply as the Asia-pacific region is known to be vulnerable when it comes to food insecurity and continues to struggle with the scarcity of natural resources.
Cultivate meat thus offers new opportunities for the region to provide enough proteins for its people and it’s no wonder it has been readily accepted there than anywhere else in the world.
“Our research with Thai Union reveals that 74% of Singaporeans and 97% of Thais are willing to try cultivated meat,” Aleph Farms noted.
“In Singapore, a key motivator for trying cultivated meat is the environmental benefits, while in Thailand, diners favor the ability to trace the meat’s origins.”
Aleph Farms has been eyeing the alternative protein market in East Asia for a while now and has been making moves to expand its footprint in the region.
Earlier this year, the startup signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group to bring cultivated meat to the Japanese table.
As part of the agreement, Aleph committed to providing its manufacturing platform (BioFarm™) for the cultivation of whole-muscle steaks while Mitsubishi agreed to provide its expertise in biotechnology processes, branded food manufacturing, and local distribution channels in Japan.
In its latest announcement, the company further revealed that Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore, had participated in its recent US$105 million Series B funding round that was led by L Catterton.
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