With global warming accelerating and water resources getting scarce, consumers are switching to more sustainable protein sources. Already alternative protein options via launch of Impossible Foods and Beyond Burger in Singapore and other Asian cities, are making waves for plant-based meat that looks, feels and tastes like real meat.
Apart from plant based proteins there are algae products that are sustainable as they require a fraction of the land, water and other resources needed to produce the same amount of beef and other animal protein.
Recently, Californian plant-based seafood company Sophie’s Kitchen won S$1 million from Temasek Foundation to produce microalgae from food waste and “transform Singapore into a protein export powerhouse”.
In line with Singapore’s vision to reduce food waste, Sophie’s Kitchen uses food waste such as spent grains and okara (by-products of breweries and soy manufacturers) as feed for microalgae, which is grown in a fermentation tank. The innovation can save large amounts of arable farmland required in agriculture. The food-grade microalgae protein can be used as an ingredient in plant-based burgers and seafood.
Only 0.02 hectares of land is needed to grow a tonne of microalgae protein at Sophie’s Kitchen, compared to 141 hectares of land needed for the same amount of beef.
Apart from Sophie’s Kitchen, Israeli-Singapore agri-technology start-up Simpliigood Asia has also launched its online store selling frozen spirulina, a blue-green algae with a mild nutty taste, in Singapore.
Simpliigood Asia plans to expand to the rest of the region and set up a local manufacturing facility if demand is strong.
Another company - agritech firm Life3 Biotech has partnered with Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore to produce food-grade microalgae on a large scale in bioreactor tanks.
Eugene Wang, Founder of Sophie’s Kitchen will present a session on ‘Food Grade Protein from Microalgae’ at CMT’s 3rd Sustainable Food Proteins Asia in Singapore.