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 Driving Innovations
In an effort to drive innovation and collaboration among companies in the agri-food sector and to bring more developments from the lab to market, a new platform called Singapore Agri- Food Innovation Lab (Sail) was launched on 24 November 2021. Jointly set up by NTU in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Innovation Lab will seed partnerships between corporate partners, small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, research institutes and institutes of higher learning. Speaking at the launch, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong announced that Sail has onboarded 22 industry partners including Bunge, a global agri-commodities merchant which has sought to leverage Singapore’s “robust R&D ecosystem” to develop plant-based protein solutions for Asian consumers.
Sail engages with corporate partners to understand and analyse the key problems faced by companies. It then explores a range of possible solutions, and helps to link up potential
Besides working with corporations, Sail could potentially bring more research innovations to the market. Sail aims to
commercialise research innovations such as a plant- based mayonnaise created by NTU’s Food Science and Technology (FST) programme, where the egg ingredient is replaced with plant-based protein powder that has high nutritional value. Through the Sail platform, it is hoped that the production of plant-based mayonnaise can be scaled up and marketed. Another innovation is a probiotic ice cube that can be added to drinks to improve one’s gut health. It was jointly developed with ice supplier Uni-Tat Ice and Marketing and
commercialised earlier this year.
The agri-food ecosystem in Singapore has been developing rapidly, with more innovative companies being established here and developing technologies that contribute to better production yield and more sustainable food solutions.
This sector was one of those in which Singapore drew new fixed asset investments last year, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) in its annual year-in- review 26 January 2022. The review showed that Singapore attracted a total of $11.8 billion investment commitments in 2021, which would
generate $16.8 billion in value-add a year when implemented.
Among the growth in the agri-food business is the increased interest in plant-based meat alternatives. The market for this new kind of meat is expected to reach US$290 billion by 2035, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Blue Horizon Corporation (BHC).
Many people are now increasingly health- conscious about the food they eat. Due to the pandemic, people are also more aware of the impact of food supply disruptions on food security in the country. Alternative proteins not only provide another food source but also create a positive impact on the environment. Experts are expecting a greater proliferation of meat substitutes to flood the market in Singapore.
Among firms driving Singapore’s agri-food sector growth is plant-based food manufacturer Next Gen Foods, which launched its chicken alternative TiNDLE in Singapore in March 2021. TiNDLE is available in around 200 restaurants across Asia and the Middle East. The Singapore- based start-up will be opening a new research centre to focus on R&D and product innovation, in partnership with the Food Tech Innovation Centre in Singapore later in the year. The research centre will serve as a launchpad for the development and trial of new plant-based foods.
Another company, German multinational Cremer, which has set up a joint venture with Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform, hopes to grow contract manufacturing capabilities for plant-based protein products in Asia. Cremer Sustainable Foods is currently constructing a plant-based food manufacturing facility in Tuas West Drive which will be able to produce around 1,000 tonnes of vegan and vegetarian products a year.

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