Hot Right Now: Indonesia palm oil export ban, Singapore 2030 food security goal challenges, new cultured meat technology and more trending news on our social media

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Indonesia palm oil export ban, Singapore 2030 food security goal challenges, new cultured meat technology and more social media trending news in this edition of Hot Right Now. ©Getty Images
Indonesia palm oil export ban, Singapore 2030 food security goal challenges, new cultured meat technology and more social media trending news in this edition of Hot Right Now. ©Getty Images

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Indonesia palm oil export ban, Singapore 2030 food security goal challenges, new cultured meat technology and more social media trending news in this edition of Hot Right Now.

Palm oil opportunities? Indonesia’s export ban could mean big winnings for Malaysia – but timing is crucial

Indonesia’s palm oil export ban announced earlier this month has left the door open for Malaysia to swoop in and expand its market share – but this will very much depend on contract timings and labour viability, say industry experts.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo surprised the palm oil sector – and indeed the entire F&B sector – earlier this month when he announced a total export ban on all palm oil, both crude and refined/processed, out of the country to tackle local price hikes.

“The Indonesian people’s need for affordable food takes precedence over revenue and economic concerns right now – once domestic needs have been met, I will of course lift the export ban,”​ Widodo said via a formal statement.

Securing Singapore? Scale of city state’s food security 2030 challenge underlined by new data

The scale of Singapore’s challenge to achieve 30% food self-sufficiency by 2030 has been underlined by new data released by the city state’s national food agency.

According to the inaugural Singapore Food Statistics 2021​ by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Singapore is currently producing 4% of vegetables, 8% of seafood and 30% of hen shell eggs domestically. It has ambitions to achieve an overall domestic production target of 30% by 2030 (also known as the ‘30 by 30’ target).

Based on these figures, chapter two of the report suggested a two-pronged approach to remedy the situation domestically – optimising the space available for the agri-food industry and providing more funds to boost production capabilities and capacities through R&D and tech adoption.

“Food security is an existential issue for Singapore. Today’s fast-evolving and complex operating landscape have accentuated Singapore’s vulnerability in food safety and security,"​ stated the report.

Democratising cultured meat: Japan’s Integriculture pushes co-culture tech to reduce costs

Japanese cultured meat firm Integriculture has highlighted its co-culture technology as one of the fastest ways to bring down the cost of cellular agriculture and allow more F&B industry players to become part of the cultured meat sector.

One of the cultured meat sector’s most major hurdles to cost reduction and price parity has been recognised for a long time to be the high cost of growth factors required to grow cells into meat, but Japan-based Integriculture believes that it has uncovered the solution to this with its CulNet co-culture system.

“The co-culture approach is one that involves the use of multiple types of ‘feeder cells’ to produce growth factors in situ in their own individual feeder bioreactors, then have these growth factors fed as a cultured serum to the target cells, for example muscle cells to produce meat, in a target cell bioreactor,”​ Integriculture Founder and CEO Yuki Hanyu told the audience while unveiling the CulNet system at the recent Cellular Agriculture: Asia Summit 2022.

Indonesia alternative protein start-up Green Rebel targets Singapore retail shelves in Q3 2022

Green Rebel, an alternative protein start-up from Indonesia offering whole-cut plant-based meat for the Asian taste bud, aims to be on major Singapore supermarket shelves by Q3.

It is also developing a B2C e-commerce platform and plans to enter existing popular e-commerce sites to boost retail sales as part of its expansion plans.

Singapore is also the first country Green Rebel is expanding to outside Indonesia. Its partners include modern Chinese restaurant Empress, casual all-day café Privé, Love Handle at Ann Siang, speakeasy eatery Dragon Chamber and modern steamboat restaurant Queen of Wok.

“Singapore is like a gateway to South East Asia, with its melting pot of cultures. It is a great place to test the palate acceptance of our products,"​ said Green Rebel Founder Helga Angelina.

Adapting to Nutri-Grade: Singapore beverage firm to launch new low-sugar products to avoid labelling repercussions

Singapore’s upcoming implementation of its sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) labelling system Nutri-Grade is driving local beverage firms to reformulate and create low-sugar product options to avoid potential repercussions, including upcycled drinks firm Imperfect Drinks.

The Singapore government introduced the Nutri-Grade concept as far back as 2020, and after several pushbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now slated for implementation in December 2022.

Many beverage firms producing drinks that fall in the Grade C and Grade D categories such as fruit juices and soft drinks have had to make changes to adapt to this upcoming system via either reformulation or new product innovation, especially due to fears that having C or D labels on their products will negatively impact consumer perceptions of these. One such firm is Imperfect Drinks, which specialises in making fruit juices from ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables.

“Although all of the sugar in our fruit juices is only natural sugars (fructose) from the fruits, and not added or artificial, what happens is that when you have a C rating or D rating on the label of the product, what will happen is that a consumer will automatically have a shift in perception of it,”​ Imperfect Drinks Founder and CEO Andrew Lim told FoodNavigator-Asia.

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