Start-up Spotlight: South Korea's RE:Harvest, Hong Kong's IXON, Malaysia's Snappea and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Industry-leading start-ups in the Asia Pacific region feature in our first ever edition of the Start-up Spotlight. ©Getty Images
Industry-leading start-ups in the Asia Pacific region feature in our first ever edition of the Start-up Spotlight. ©Getty Images

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Industry-leading start-ups in the Asia Pacific region such as South Korea's RE:Harvest, Hong Kong's IXON, Malaysia's Snappea and more feature in our first ever edition of the Start-up Spotlight

‘Perfect fit’: South Korean food upcycling firm’s carbon-claimable flour alternative opens new avenues to hit nation’s 2050 net zero goals

South Korea’s first food upcycling firm RE:Harvest has developed a flour alternative from beer and sikhye byproducts which has a direct claim on carbon emissions, calling this a ‘perfect fit’ for F&B firms looking for options to hit the government’s 2050 net zero carbon emission goals.

RE:Harvest currently specializes in producing a flour alternative that is made from the byproducts of barley that has been used to make beer and sikhye (a traditional Korean drink), which is used to make a multitude of different products from pasta to granola.

“The flour alternative allows products to make a direct claim on carbon emissions – specifically, using 1kg of this flour means 11kg of carbon reduction and corresponding water savings too,”​ RE:Harvest CEO and Founder Alex Min told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

‘Tetra Pak’ for meats: Hong Kong’s IXON on shipping fresh meat from US to Asia without the need for cold chain

Hong Kong-based IXON Food Technology, which has developed advanced sous-vide aseptic packaging (ASAP) to store fresh meat, fish and seafood at room temperature for up to two years, is building a pilot plant in the United States as part of its plans to grow its B2B and D2C channels.

Over the last two years, IXON has worked with more than 25 companies worldwide, including Italian chicken processor Amadori, US meat processors Cargill and Tyson Foods, seafood producer Thai Union, hygiene solution provider Ecolab as well as packaging firm Sealed Air.

Founder, Felix Cheung described IXON as the ‘Tetra Pak’ for solid foods. “We are sort of like Tetra Pak who does aseptic packaging for beverages and milks, but instead, we are doing solid foods, so proteins like meat, fish, seafood​.” The ASAP technology also applies to fruits and vegetables.

‘First-mover advantage’: Asia’s first pea milk firm opts for natural flavour over dairy simulation with pioneering products

Asia’s first pea milk firm Snappea seeks to make the most of its first-mover advantage by emphasising the natural flavour of peas in its products as opposed to simulating dairy, believing that this sets it apart from other milk alternatives in the market.

Malaysia-based Snappea lays claim to being the first milk alternative made from peas in the region, and has both pros and cons that come along with it, according to Snappea Founder & Director Justin Chan.

“Being the first pea milk in Asia gives us a first-mover advantage, but this also means there is a lot of educational and awareness work to be done,”​ he told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Making the rice move: Sprout Organic scores international interest with pre-sales of Australia’s first plant-based infant and toddler formula

Sprout Organic, the maker of Australia’s first plant-based and organic certified infant and toddler formulas, says it is enjoying strong e-commerce pre-sales both domestically and internationally.

Since the launch of pre-sales in late May 2021, the company has sold one pallet of stock, approximatively 660 units of its plant-based infant and toddler formulas in the first seven days.

So far, about 10% of orders come from international customers from 19 countries including the UK, Europe, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The rice-based formulas will launch in Australia this July, in independent grocers, health food stores and pharmacies.

Rising tides: Avant eyes retail launch of cell-based fish maw and fillet by 2025 - CEO interview

Hong Kong’s cultivated meat biotechnology firm Avant is aiming to produce its first cell-based fish maw and fillet products for consumption by late 2022, and wants products to be commonplace in supermarkets by 2025.

Once it receives approval from Singapore’s regulatory body, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Avant will initially produce for foodservice first, and target the larger retail sector sometime in 2025.

Because pilot production volumes may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the fast-moving retail sector, its decision to launch into restaurants first allows the company to create awareness of its products and co-develop menus and recipes with its food service partners.

Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO at Avant said the pilot plant will be producing premium fish maw, a culturally relevant food product in Asia, as well as fish fillet, which would cater to the Western cuisine.

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