Start-ups focus: The Top 10 APAC food and beverage start-up and entrepreneurial stories in 2022

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Bringing you the top 10 most-read start-up stories from the food and beverage industry in 2022.
Bringing you the top 10 most-read start-up stories from the food and beverage industry in 2022.

Related tags start-ups 2022

Bringing you the top 10 most-read start-up stories from the food and beverage industry in 2022, featuring firms such as Ulu Hye, Shiok Meats, Mycoprotein and more.

Love for loaf: Malaysian firm fulfils four-year mission to launch low-GI bread range

A four year-long research and development (R&D) project led to the launch of Malaysian low-GI bread range Healthy Joy.Malaysia is one of several South East nations battling surges in obesity and diabetes, and the Healthy Joy range, launched by Nova, has a slow-carb system and a low glycaemic index (GI) of 35. It also contains Omega-9 oils.

Chief Business Officer of Nova Nicholas Cheong Peck Hiang said: “Food in Malaysia usually has a high GI and trans-fat content.

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 launched smaller versions of its products earlier this year 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 previously its products were only 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 was looking to enter major supermarkets as well as start exporting, leading to it launching its new ‘Mini Mylk Bases’ which can be made into 3L of mylk in total.

Big stride: Shiok Meats confirms 2023 commercial launch plans as cultivated shrimp reaches US$50/kg milestone

Cultivated seafood pioneer Shiok Meats revealed that its production costs dropped to the coveted US$50/kg milestone earlier this year, bringing it even closer to realising its commercial launch plans by the end of 2023.

When we last discussed cultivated shrimp pricing with Shiok Meats’ Group Co-Founder and CEO Sandhya Sriram back in 2020, the price per kilogramme was hovering at around US$7,000 – demonstrating the enormous progress the firm has made over the last few years.

“This US$50/kg milestone is really a big milestone and a huge win for us compared to the US$10,000 or US$5,000 that we were at previously, it’s a huge update we’re very proud to be sharing with the industry,”​ Sriram told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

‘Unparalleled growth and innovation’: Indian hemp industry ready for lift-off as regulatory landscape improves

India’s hemp industry saw a wave of product innovation, from protein bars to flavoured powders and snacks, in the wake of 2022 regulatory advances that saw hemp seed, oil and flour products classed as food for the first time.

Although hemp-based food products have been present in the market in India for several years, all products were previously regulated under the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in the country as the local food authority Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had not set any standards for hemp locally.

“[Hemp] seeds, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour shall be sold as food or used as an ingredient in a food for sale subject to conforming to [FSSAI-defined] standards, [including adhering to specified] THC and cannabidiol (CBD) limits,” ​said FSSAI.

Mighty mushroom: Mycoprotein touted as future of protein due to flavour, nutrition and sustainability credentials

Asia’s first mycoprotein technology firm Mycovation believes that its products are the true future of alternative protein, with the firm touting its flavour, nutrition and sustainability credentials.

Mycovation is based in both Singapore and India, and its business and research model is primarily centred around mycoprotein fermentation from mushroom mycelium to develop this as a viable alternative protein product.

According to the firm’s CEO Shiva Susarla, mycoprotein holds immense potential to emerge as a major player within the alternative protein industry because of its advantages in all the areas that are the most important to consumers, namely flavour, nutrition and sustainability.

‘Insects the new sushi’: Ÿnsect sees Japan and Korea as attractive markets for mealworm protein

French insect protein company Ÿnsect looked to enter the Japanese and Korean markets earlier this year after securing success in a national trade contest and signing a high-profile research partnership.

The firm was founded in 2011, and currently operates a factory in France for its animal nutrition and fertiliser business and another facility in the Netherlands for human nutrition.

We focus on mealworm because it is easier to industrialise compared to other insects. Mealworms also have a high protein content of about 72% in powder and have a low fat content, whereas beef or chicken can give about 25 to 30% protein​,” said Bruno Grandsard, strategy committee member supporting Ÿnsect’s global development.

Suck it and see: Vietnam eco-straw brand EQUO sets sights on overseas expansion

Vietnam’s EQUO believes that the sustainability and hygienic credentials of its eco-friendly straws give it a clear edge over competitors made from paper or metal, and started 2022 with a new international launch into Singapore.

EQUO is focused on developing 100% plastic-free and compostable solutions for everyday single-use items from straws to utensils and even stationery, and aims to tackle the single-use plastic issue with its products.

“About 50% of all plastic products are in fact used only once, and only for 20 minutes or less, then takes hundreds of years to break down,”​ EQUO Founder Marina Tran-Vu told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Go dark or go home: CP Foods cultivated meat partner Future Meat Technologies believes cracking dark meat production is answer to Asian growth

CP Foods’ partner in cultivated meat production Future Meat Technologies (FMT) believes that successfully cracking the code to cultivated dark meat production is the sector’s best solution to conquering Asia Pacific consumers, due to an unusual fascination with these products in this region.

Dark meat refers to cuts of meat that have more myoglobin, a protein that contains iron and gives the meat that darker colour. These cuts are usually muscles that are used more and need more oxygen, hence the need for more iron, such as chicken or turkey drumsticks and thighs.

“In Asia, there is a very strong fascination with dark meat, a fascination that does not exist in other markets such as the United States or Europe, and this is likely linked to a demand for a certain texture and also stronger flavours,” ​FMT Founder and President Professor Yaakov Nahmias told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Plant-based 3D printing: China and Australia identified as key markets for new Wagyu launch

Hong Kong 3D food printing firm Alt Farm told us earlier this year that it had its eye on China and Australia as its first key target markets, revealing its hopes to launch a prototype plant-based A5 Wagyu Beef product within the next two years.

Alt Farm is a spin-off from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and has developed a patented 3D food printing technology with a nozzle that enables it to print foods with specified textures, a considerable difference from conventional 3D printed foods that are usually gelatinous before any additional processing.

“Most of the 3D food printing technology currently available is focused on applications for the elderly to produce soft foods that can be swallowed easily, or to be used with chocolate to personalize shapes – our technology is nothing like that, the target for us is to make regular food using 3D printing,”​ Alt Farm Managing Director Kenny Fung told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

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

India’s first ice popsicle brand Skippi revamped the traditional local category with the use of healthier ingredients and national exposure via the popular reality show Shark Tank.

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.

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