First fully automated large-scale production line for plant-based protein launched in Singapore

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s first fully automated large-scale production line for plant-based protein products was launched on Wednesday (Nov 4) in a specialised food innovation facility in Woodlands.

The facility, owned by Growthwell Foods, a local firm that recently shifted its ambitions towards becoming a global supplier of plant-based food, is housed in JTC Foodhub Senoko, a seven-storey industrial plant constructed specifically for food innovation in Singapore.

The production line will be able to produce 4,000 metric tonnes of plant-based products in a single year – enough to feed more than 1,600 people for a year, a Growthwell Foods spokesman told The Straits Times at the event .

The output from the factory will also contribute to Singapore’s food security target of producing 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030.

Growthwell Foods has also received generous funding from Temasek for specialised equipment in the facility to significantly improve the texture of its plant-based meat products to compete with other global plant-based meat providers.

The investment from Temasek is just one example of the Republic’s general thrust towards intensive research and development (R&D) into agritech and high-productivity innovation.

In April this year, the Government launched the $60 million Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund, administered by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), to support local farms that adopt technology and improve their farming systems.

The SFA also pumped about $23 million into 12 research projects on innovative food production methods in the same month.

At the inauguration event held at the facility on Wednesday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said: “I’m confident that our local companies are rising to the occasion by taking the lead to develop local expertise and capabilities in agri-technologies.”

“(The Government) will continue to work closely with companies and institutions to prime and position Singapore as a leading regional R&D hub,” she added.

Consumers can expect Growthwell Foods’ plant-based products to hit shopping shelves by early 2022, under the brand “Happiee!”. The products will retail at around $8 for two servings of plant-protein.

Their plant-based protein options include synthetic salmon patties made of konjac and chicken nuggets made of chickpeas.

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