THAILAND- Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA) has invested in food-tech start-ups as a part of its “Space-F” program with the aim to become the next “food-tech Silicon Valley”.
The project promotes an influx of investment in the Thai food industry considering the global food security issue, which has been made worse by several causes including climate change, inflation, and the current war in Ukraine.
The program, which has been going on for roughly three years, focuses on sponsoring start-ups and encouraging them to establish operations in Bangkok.
NIA is working to enhance each of these areas to promote economic prosperity and food security both domestically and internationally.
Space F covers key food-tech trends including health and wellness, alternative proteins, smart manufacturing, and packaging solutions.
Other areas of focus are novel food and ingredients, biomaterials and chemicals, restaurant tech, food safety and quality, and intelligent food services.
“Space-F provides a prominent platform to encourage entrepreneurial start-ups to embrace deep tech and innovation to bring advancement to their business and the food industry,” said Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director at NIA.
He noted that selected startups will be mentored to take on Southeast Asian and global markets.
Dr. Pun is certain that e-commerce and finance will continue to grow at the same rate as tech in food and agriculture. This enables Thai food producers to benefit from stable supply chains.
“As the world’s population is increasing rapidly, coupled with climate change, the decline of agricultural labor, and food waste resulting from mass consumption, global food security is now a serious issue that needs to be solved,” he concluded.
In recent years, several Asian nations have taken a leading role in advancing food technologies.
The Thai Ministry of Commerce reports that Thailand has one of the largest markets in the APAC (Asian-Pacific) region, with nutraceutical industry sales of US$3.5 billion in 2019.
Emergen Research estimates that the worldwide food-tech market will expand from US$220.32 billion in 2019 to US$342.52 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.0%.
This is related to the increased demand for innovation in food security brought on by the worldwide food crisis.
Singapore has used technologies like vertical farming and aquaponics in urban farming, nutrient recovery from food waste, and biodegradable food packaging made from durian rinds to improve its food security.
They have innovated cultivated meat, insect farming, and microalgae as alternative protein sources to increase the self-production of food.
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