First fully automated large-scale production line for plant-based protein launched in S'pore

A fully automated production line at Growthwell Foods' new Innovation and R&D Manufacturing Centre in JTC Foodhub Senoko on Nov 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first fully automated large-scale production line for plant-based protein products was launched on Wednesday (Nov 24) 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 Food Hub @ 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 fill the protein intakes of more than 100,000 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 Singapore's 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 agri-tech 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."

She added: "(The Government) will continue to work closely with companies and institutions to prime and position Singapore as a leading regional R&D hub."

The production line will be able to produce 4,000 metric tonnes of plant-based products in a single year. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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

Its options include plant-based salmon patties made of konjac and chicken nuggets made of chickpeas.

Clarification note: An earlier version of this article stated that the amount of protein produced by the facility is equivalent to the diets of 1,600 people. Growthwell Foods has clarified that the amount produced can fulfill the protein intake of more than 100,000 people.

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