Alt Protein Watch: Japan's Integriculture, Thailand's More Meat, China's Jooma and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Japan's Integriculture, Thailand's More Meat, China's Jooma and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Watch. ©Getty Images
Japan's Integriculture, Thailand's More Meat, China's Jooma and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Watch. ©Getty Images

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Japan's Integriculture, Thailand's More Meat, China's Jooma and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Watch.

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.

Splitgill sensation: Thailand’s More Meat strives towards clean label production while planning new RTC line

Thai mushroom-based protein firm More Meat is taking steps towards obtaining clean label recognition while also working on launching a new line of ready-to-cook (RTC) products to later this year.

More Meat’s business strategy revolves around the splitgill mushroom, a local mushroom that grows abundantly on rubber trees in Thailand’s numerous plantations, but is not well-known or recognized as a food ingredient even by local consumers.

“Research has shown that splitgill mushrooms have a high content of beta-glucan which is beneficial for the brain and immune system, and it also has a unique structure that is meaty in itself, with no need for extra flavouring to make it meat-like, so it’s pretty surprising that it’s not been more looked into yet,”​ More Meat Founder and CEO Kanwra Tanachotevorapong told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Buy, eat, repeat: How China’s plant-based start-ups can drive repeat purchases in competitive sector

A three-pronged marketing approach spanning health, safety and taste is crucial to drive sales in China’s burgeoning plant-based space, both to attract new customers and then retain them for sustained sales growth, according to pioneer of the category.

In this episode of the FNA Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Dr Stefan Schmal, Founder of China’s Jooma which is best-known for being one of the country’s first almond yoghurt pioneers, and has recently also launched a new coconut yoghurt line.

Making friends: Do cultivated protein firms ‘have advantage’ over plant-based due to big food links?

The cultivated protein sector holds a distinct advantage over its plant-based counterparts by having better relationships with existing big meat and food industry brands, but more work still needs to be done in terms of boosting government partnerships in order to make real change, say industry experts.

Within the alternative protein sector, plant-based protein and cell-cultivated protein are two of the main options attracting investor and regulator interest in hopes of developing a food system with better food security and sustainability credentials – but experts believe that cultivated protein currently holds an advantage by having positioned itself as ‘symbiotic’ and not ‘at war with’ the meat industry.

“In several markets, plant-based protein alternatives have really become positioned as an enemy of the meat sector and basically gone to war with this large traditional sector,”​ Aleph Farms Director of Market & Corporate Development Gary Brenner told the floor at the recent Cellular Agriculture: Asia Summit 2022.

‘Food oasis in the desert’: Locally grown dates fuel production of mushroom protein in Oman

Alt protein supplier MycoTechnology has teamed up with Oman Investment Authority to produce mushroom protein in the desert.

Oman, located in the south-eastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, is made up of 82% desert. While the country is largely self-sufficient in vegetable production, food imports are on the rise.

Aside from seasonal fruits and grains, most of the food imported falls into the protein category: dairy products, poultry and meat. Indeed, it is estimated that close to 60% of all poultry consumed in Oman is imported.

The country is committed to achieving a ‘sustainable future’ by increasing local food production. At the same time, it has pledged to attract modern technologies to the country.

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