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Temasek weighs more ASEAN plant-based food factories

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on   2 mins read

After Singapore, state investor eyes Thailand, Indonesia to capture growing demand.

Singapore state investor Temasek is considering opening more factories in Southeast Asia to produce plant-based food after it launched its first in the city-state through its joint venture Cremer Sustainable Foods on Wednesday.

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia are potential markets in the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations where it could set up new factories as demand for meat substitutes grows in the region, said Mathys Boeren, CEO of Temasek’s wholly owned Asia Sustainable Foods Platform, at the opening of the Singapore plant.

Cremer Sustainable Foods is a joint venture between the Temasek entity and German manufacturer CREMER. The Singapore facility is the lone ASEAN plant now, built at a cost of SGD 6 million (USD 4.3 million). The German partner already has a factory in China’s Zhaoyuan City.

“We aim to offer safe and reliable plant-based protein contract manufacturing services in Asia,” Boeren said. “Cremer Sustainable Foods endeavors to grow with our customers in scale and expand to the rest of Asia.”

The Singapore factory is 11,000 square feet in size and can make up to 1,300 tons of plant-based protein per annum, equivalent to some 4.3 million chicken breasts. The factory can operate 24 hours a day, making plant-based food by mixing soy protein and water which is then processed into burger patties, nuggets, and meatballs that taste like chicken.

The factory is also able to make fish and beef substitutes.

Reporters were given a taste of those items cooked on site. While they tasted similar to chicken, some of the samples were noticeably softer than chicken.

Without disclosing its name, Boeren said the site is already producing 75% of its capacity for one client, and the joint venture partners are talking to more.

Cremer Sustainable Foods is selling itself as a one-stop platform for alternative protein companies that may not have the scale to invest in their own factories. These companies are able to tap the Singapore plant for operations, or rent its machines for short-term projects.

“As a global company we strive to be locally relevant and integrate ourselves into the ecosystem by adding value to clients,” said Cremer chairman Claus-Georg Nette on Wednesday. “We are looking beyond Singapore in the years to come, together with our partners and the demand for our plant is considerable.”

Singapore wants to capture the lucrative alternative protein market in Asia, as environmental concerns over traditional farming prompt more consumers to consider plant-based food substitutes.

“The plant-based food market is expected to make up 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over USD 162 billion, more than a fivefold increase from 2020,” noted Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling at the plant’s launch on Wednesday.

“In 2021, the sector saw a 40% increase globally in the number of investors,” she said. “Global sales of plant-based meat passed the USD 5 billion mark last year, reflecting strong consumer demand.”

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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