Avant Meats, ADM open plant-based food labs in Singapore

Published on
April 29, 2021

U.S. agricultural commodities and food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) and Hong Kong-based Avant Meats are opening food labs in Singapore to expand their production of plant-based meat and fish analogs in the region.

ADM’s facility, to be located in its Biopolis research hub in Singapore, will focus on developing “new nutritious products to help meet rising demand of food and beverage in the Asia-Pacific region,” ADM Asia-Pacific President Leo Liu said in a 22 April press release.

“Protein continues to be a focus for consumers who are experimenting with plant-based options to meet their health and nutrition, sustainability and convenience preferences, and with Asia being home to 60 percent of the world’s population, Singapore is a critical hub of innovation and growth around plant-based alternatives,” Liu said.

The facility is capable of doing testing of flavors, textures, fats, and binding characteristics, as well as enhancing the product-development process, including medium-scale sampling to assist market and product evaluation, according to the company.

“The opening of this innovation lab demonstrates our continued investment in plant-based protein and our commitment to finding new ways to solve the challenges of changing consumer taste and preferences not only in Asia-Pacific, but also around the world,” ADM Chief Global Flavorist And President of Creation, Design, and Development Marie Wright said. “The lab will help us capture key insight and learnings to help drive exciting new solutions for the Asian market, but also help us better serve customers around the world looking to incorporate Asian flavors and preferences into their latest plant-based food and beverage innovations.”

Beside the new plant-based innovation lab, ADM Biopolis research hub in Singapore already runs various facilities, including a food and flavor analytic lab and a meat lab. ADM has an established presence in China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia and other markets across the wider Asia-Pacific region that it can use for distribution of products once developed, it said.

Separately, Avant Meats, which specializes in cell-based “cultivated” fish fillets, announced on 26 April it will establish a new research and development and pilot manufacturing facilitiy in Singapore, to supplement its existing operations in Greater China. The development is being supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, it said.

“Avant has grown its presence in strategic locations in Asia to optimize its market access, technology ecosystem, and funding opportunities. Singapore provides Avant with regulatory clarity, international talents, and sufficient space for the next step of scaling up,” Avant Meats Co-Founder and CEO Carrie Chan said.

Avant Meats counts Vinh Hoan and Regal Spring Tilapia Chairman Markus Haefeli as investors. The expansion represents “an important milestone of Avant’s pan-Asia strategy,” as Singapore is the only country with a regulatory precedent for approving the sale of cell-cultured meats, and its “30 by 30” policy incentivizes the scaling-up of local food-manufacturing facilities, according to Chan.

"Avant is an example of an alternative protein company which has tapped into the ecosystem opportunities in Singapore to bring innovative products to market and capture growth opportunities in Asia.” Singapore EDB Executive Vice President Damian Chan said.  “We welcome their expansion here and will continue to work with companies to leverage Singapore to enable innovations in sustainable agri-food technologies.”

Photo courtesy of Avant Meats

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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