Plant-based meat maker Growthwell snares $11.4m in Temasek-led funding round

(From left) Growthwell Group's executive director Justin Chou, managing director Chou Shih Hsin and commercial director Colin Chou. The plant-based meat-maker plans to set up an R&D centre here.
(From left) Growthwell Group's executive director Justin Chou, managing director Chou Shih Hsin and commercial director Colin Chou. The plant-based meat-maker plans to set up an R&D centre here. PHOTO: GROWTHWELL GROUP

Plant-based meat manufacturer Growthwell Group has clinched US$8 million (S$11.4 million) in a funding round led by Temasek to set up a local research and development (R&D) centre, and to launch a new product line with an Israeli start-up.

Other investors in the round are venture firms DSG Consumer Partners, Insignia Ventures Partners and Genesis Ventures; digital marketing solutions provider Brandify; and angel investor Koh Boon Hwee.

Started in 1989, Growthwell specialises in vegetarian food solutions for food and beverage businesses and organisations in Singapore, Australia, India and the United States.

With the fresh funds, Growthwell plans to set up an end-to-end technology centre in Singapore focused on R&D and manufacturing, targeted for completion by next year. The facility will boast technologies including high moisture extrusion capabilities, and a fully automated manufacturing line to scale production of plant-based meat and seafood.

The firm also plans to invest in Israeli food tech start-up ChickP and launch a line of chickpea protein-based seafood alternatives using the start-up's technology.

This product range will tap "the world's first 90 per cent chickpea protein isolate" designed with patent-pending technology, Growthwell said in its press statement. ChickP developed the protein together with the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Growthwell is developing a chickpea protein-based seafood alternative collection comprising ChickP Squid, ChickP Shrimp and ChickP Crab Patty, which will be free of allergens, gluten, lactose and hormones.

Separately, it is also ramping up its distribution. It has appointed Country Foods, a unit of Sats Food Services, as its main distributor and partner, thus tapping its clients in hospitality, food services, retail, wholesale, airlines and governments.

"The recent Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of our food supply chains. Our decision to build a manufacturing facility in Singapore is a timely solution to tackle the food security issue. Ultimately, Growthwell strives to be the local and regional champion in supporting the drive to achieve long-term food supply stability," said Mr Justin Chou, second-generation leader and executive director of Growthwell.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2020, with the headline 'Growthwell snares $11.4m in Temasek-led funding round'. Subscribe