Tolaram enters alternative protein category with investment in faux chicken producer Shandi

SINGAPORE – Singapore-based food processing giant Tolaram has made its first foray into the lucrative alternative protein market by leading a US$700,000 second-seed funding round for food-tech startup Shandi.  

According to a report by Business Times, Shandi will use the new investment to set up a manufacturing facility in Singapore to commercialise and scale the start-up’s proprietary plant-based chicken products 

The investment will also help the Singapore-based startup to further product innovation and development on new textures, formats, and other meat analogues. 

Founded in 2019, Shandi aims to launch its range of products to foodservice and food manufacturers in Q1 next year, with a business-to-consumer retail product to follow. 

This round of funding also marks Tolaram’s first investment in the alternative protein category and comes at a time when the category is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2027 to reach US$27.05 billion at the end of the forecast period. 

According to Research and Markets, this growth is majorly driven by factors such as growing urbanization, growing venture investments in alternative protein companies, and innovation in food technology. 

The higher environmental sustainability profile associated with the production & consumption of alternative proteins is also another major factor driving growth, according to the market research firm. 

With chicken making up 45% of meat consumed, plant-based options are an exciting alternative to consumers, said Emma Ignaszewski, corporate engagement project manager for The Good Food Institute. 

The large dollar and volume opportunities make it an exciting space for manufacturers and probably explains why Tolaram chose to invest in Shandi. 

Shandi will however have to fight for space in the alternative protein market with startups like plant-based egg and cell-based meat maker Eat Just, The LiveKindly Collective, Motif Foodworks, and Aleph Farms.  

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Eat Just which is so far the only company with regulatory approval to produce cultured meat has a US$170 million funding for its Good Meat cell-based chicken division, making it a larger rival to Shandi.  

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