Alt Protein Focus: Updates from Magic Valley, OATSIDE, Thoughtful Food and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Updates from Magic Valley, OATSIDE, Thoughtful Food and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Focus. ©Getty Images
Updates from Magic Valley, OATSIDE, Thoughtful Food and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Focus. ©Getty Images

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Updates from Magic Valley, OATSIDE, Thoughtful Food and more feature in this edition of Alt Protein Focus.

Production and partnership priorities: Aussie cultivated meat firm Magic Valley details 2024 plans as regulatory approval nears

Australian cultivated meat firm Magic Valley has detailed its production and partnership objectives for 2024 as it seeks to get products in front of consumers in 2025.

The company is currently in discussions with various established wholesale and food producers in Australia who have displayed notable interests in cultivated meat. The start-up’s goal is to finalise these partnerships by 2024.

Beyond domestic collaborations, Magic Valley is fostering ties with overseas partners, specifically Biocell in the US and exploring other partnerships throughout Asia to contribute to various aspects of the cultivated meat processes.

“As a company, we recognise the impracticality of doing everything on our own. The intricacies of cell biology, bioprocess engineering, and cultivated meat production at scale require diverse expertise. Hence, we are looking at partnerships in those areas to propel us forward.” ​CEO Paul Bevan told FoodNavigator Asia​.

Cool move: Plant-based milk brand OATSIDE expands into ice cream to fuel regional growth

Singapore-based OATSIDE has recently expanded its product line-up to include a range of ice creams as part of its growth strategy, on the back of burgeoning popularity of its oat milk products across Asia.

The venture into ice creams was a “natural progression”, said Gabriel Melo, Commercial Director at OATSIDE.

We believe in providing delicious options for people who don’t care for plant-based products. The three ice cream flavours — Chocolate, Coffee with Mini Chocolate Chips, and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough — are made using our oat milk as a base.

“While other plant-based ice creams exist, none quite match the creamy texture and great flavours of traditional dairy options. Our focus was on overcoming technical challenges with quality ingredients and innovative processing techniques. Our oat milk is extracted from roasted Australian oats through a unique enzyme treatment process to create a rich, malty and milky profile,” ​Melo told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Dry and high: Ambient plant-based innovation the way to go for clean label products to become more mainstream

Singapore-based plant-based products firm Thoughtful Food believes that the sector needs to look more closely at dry and ambient innovation as a key driver, particularly for brands seeking to solve ultra-processing challenges or go more clean label.

The most common product format for plant-based meats in APAC thus far has been as frozen products, which comes with a host of challenges as a lot of processing and preservation is needed for these – ultimately more often than not resulting in a product that critics would describe as ultra-processed.

Removing the frozen or chilled factor from manufacturing would not only reduce these challenges, but also bring added environmental sustainability advantages, according to Thoughtful Food Founder Karen Lam.

Mainstream by 2033? Affordability and scaling up ‘ever more important’ for novel protein sectors as regulatory challenges ease

The major novel protein technology sectors in APAC covering cultivated meat and precision fermentation now see scaling up and subsequent product affordability as the next important evolutionary milestone for the sector as regulatory pushbacks ease.

Novel protein development technologies such as cultivated meat and precision fermentation have come a long way since first bursting onto the food and beverage industry scene several years back, when these were considered far-fetched or impossible contributors to the global food supply.

These survived through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have reached a stage where food regulatory authorities all over the world are now seriously looking at these as future alternative protein solutions.

While there has been significant pushback in some countries - such as Italy, which recently made headlines after banning cultivated meat​ production and promotion in the name of ‘protecting’ the local food system - there has been much more positive progress in the Asia Pacific region leading scaling up, commercialisation and product affordability to be much more prominent areas of focus here.

Plant-based diets linked to lower gestational diabetes risk: Chinese meta-analysis

A plant-based diet may have the potential to lower the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy, according to researchers in Fujian Province, China.

GDM poses a significant global health concern, affecting 5.8% to 12.9% of pregnancies. The condition is associated with adverse obstetrical outcomes, including hypertensive disorders, Caesarean section, neonatal hypoglycaemia, and macrosomia. Furthermore, the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among women with a history of GDM is considerably higher. In light of GDM’s prevalence and impact, identifying modifiable risk factors is crucial.

Diet, a key determinant during gestation, plays a pivotal role in regulating nutrient availability for placental and foetal growth, influencing the long-term health of new-born infants. Recent attention has focused on dietary patterns as opposed to isolated nutrients, with strong associations established between dietary patterns and the development of GDM.

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