Start-up Spotlight: Australia's I Am Grounded, India's Skippi, Singapore's Probicient and more feature in this round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Australia's I Am Grounded, India's Skippi, Singapore's Probicient and more feature in this edition of Start-up Spotlight. ©Getty Images
Australia's I Am Grounded, India's Skippi, Singapore's Probicient and more feature in this edition of Start-up Spotlight. ©Getty Images

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Australia's I Am Grounded, India's Skippi, Singapore's Probicient and more feature in this edition of Start-up Spotlight.

Clean energy snacking: I Am Grounded expands upcycled energy-boosting snacks to further supermarket goals

Australian upcycled products firm I Am Grounded is expanding its portfolio of upcycled energy-boosting snacks into different formats with an eye on getting itself ready to enter major supermarket retail.

At present, the firm’s portfolio largely comprises clean energy bars, which use upcycled coffee fruit and are based on energy provision for different times of the day when consumers need it most, i.e. the 9am (Lemon Coconut and Coffee Fruit), the 3pm (Cocoa Almond Butter and Coffee Fruit) and the Pick-Me-Up (Espresso Tahini and Coffee Fruit).

I Am Grounded’s clean energy bars are now ranged nationally with various well-known distributors such as Go Vita and HealthyLife, in independent supermarkets such as IGA, and have found a steady clientele in offices and workplaces as well. The next obvious step for the firm is to enter mainstream supermarkets, and indeed that is the next step in the works for them, according to Murillo.

“We have just commenced in the Seedlab Australia's Cultivate Cohort, a Woolworths-supported incubator designed to get us Big Box retailer ready so we’re now preparing for exciting retail opportunities to help us grow more sustainably,”​ she told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Ice cold nostalgia: India’s Skippi revamps popsicle category with healthy ingredients

India’s first ice popsicle brand Skippi has revamped the traditional local category with the use of healthier ingredients and national exposure via the popular reality show Shark Tank, vowing to achieve nationwide penetration within the next six months.

Ice popsicles have been available in India for several decades, but the traditional form of the frosty snack is generally not branded and made from artificial colourings, flavours and ingredients, in addition to water that is not usually up to safety and quality standards.

“We realised that there was essentially nothing happening within the ice pops sector in India, no brands being established and certainly no better options being developed, especially for kids,” ​Skippi Co-Founder Ravi Kabra told Foodnavigator-Asia.

‘Grown up Yakult’: Probiotic beer debuts in Singapore with clinical trial suggests positive microbiota results

A probiotic beer developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has finally hit the market, launched by start-up Probicient in collaboration with bar and restaurant chain Brewerkz.

Containing one billion of Lactobacillus paracasei​ L26 per serving, the beer, which contains 4.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV), is available in all Brewerkz outlets on tap since March 1. It is sold as ‘Red Billion Probiotic Raspberry Sour Beer’ in the outlets.  

Said to promote gut health and enhance microbiome activity in the gut, the beer needs to be refrigerated at below five degree Celsius to keep the probiotics alive for its benefits to take effect in the gut.

Sizing down to make it big: Ulu Hye revamps size of dairy-free mylk base jars amid retail push

World-first dairy-free mylk base creator Ulu Hye has launched smaller versions of its products in preparation for entry into major supermarkets as well as expansion to overseas markets.

Ulu Hye established an entirely new plant-based dairy category with the invention of its dairy-free mylk bases, made with nuts and seeds, but all along its products have only been available in larger jars which would contain enough product to make 10L of mylk in total.

Having made its mark in the Australian market via health and bulk food stores as well as online platforms, the firm is now looking to enter major supermarkets as well as start exporting and has launched new ‘Mini Mylk Bases’ which can be made into 3L of mylk in total.

“The mylk bases are actually a very complex product to create, so we started with just the 10L jars only because that gave us enough margin for operations,”​ Ulu Hye Co-Founder Heidi Peuten told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Funding ‘massive impact’: Plant-based, cell-cultured and fermentation tech sectors to benefit from new APAC fund

A new APAC-focused investment fund says it can create a ‘massive impact’ by supporting firms targeting large-scale animal-based industries, including plant-based, cell-cultured and fermentation outfits.

The new investment fund is dubbed Better Bite Ventures, which recently announced the initial 10 companies in its portfolio which will benefit from its US$15mn fund. Of these, four are cell-cultured firms, three are plant-based and two use fermentation technology, signifying the fund’s aim to cover all the bases.

“We will be investing in 20 to 30 start-ups overall for this fund, and these initial 10 companies in the portfolios [are a good representation of what we want to do] as they come from various geographies and technology approaches, [all of which] we believe has the potential to transform the food system for the better,”​ Better Bites Ventures General Partner Michal Klar told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

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