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Eat Just, Proterra Asia to invest up to US$120m on plant-based protein facility in Singapore

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Rendering of the plant-based protein facility in Singapore.

JUST Egg.jpeg
US-based Eat Just is known for its plant-based egg product, JUST Egg.

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Josh Tetrick, co-founder and chief executive of Eat Just, said the collaboration will accelerate the firm's path to becoming one of the world's largest producers of eggs in the next decade.

FOOD production company Eat Just - known for its plant-based egg product, JUST Egg - has tied up with a consortium led by Proterra Investment Partners Asia to build and operate a plant protein production facility in Singapore.

Proterra Asia is an investment management firm focused on the food and agribusiness sectors.

The consortium will invest up to US$100 million, while Eat Just will invest up to US$20 million for the facility, the US-based firm said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Once built, the factory will generate thousands of tonnes of protein, adding to its existing protein facilities in North America and Germany, Eat Just said. It added that the partnership will combine Eat Just's proprietary protein separation technology, leadership and business model with Proterra Asia's on the ground experience across the continent.

In choosing Singapore as its first location in Asia, Eat Just said the Singapore government provided an "enabling environment" for the project, with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). It also noted Singapore as a country "leading Asia's transition to a healthier, more sustainable food system".

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Eat Just Asia will serve JUST Egg manufacturing and distribution partners across the region.

Existing distribution partners in Asia include South Korea's SPC Samlip, Thailand's Betagro, as well as a yet-to-be-announced partnership in China, where JUST Egg is already being sold on e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba-owned Tmall and JD.com, the company said.

"Future facilities that are envisaged to be built in Asia will follow as the demand for protein in the region increases... creating additional jobs and infrastructure," Eat Just noted.

Elsewhere in the US, JUST Egg is available at major retailers and sold to restaurants and other food service destinations through a partnership with Michael Foods.

Eat Just said it has sold the plant-based equivalent of more than 60 million eggs to date, saving 2.2 billion gallons (8.33 billion litres) of water, 8.7 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide equivalent and some 14 million square metres of land.

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and chief executive of Eat Just, said the collaboration will accelerate the firm's path to becoming one of the world's largest producers of eggs in the next decade, and that Proterra's experience across sourcing and manufacturing will be "invaluable".

"Consumer demand, driven by health, food security and food safety, is creating an environment of extraordinary opportunity for this unique partnership," added Mr Tetrick.

Damian Chan, EDB's executive vice-president, said it is increasingly important to invest in sustainable agri-food technologies, such as alternative proteins, to meet the world's future needs for food and nutrition.

Added Mr Chan: "The partnership between Eat Just and Proterra is an important addition to Singapore's agri-food ecosystem and will build new innovation and production capabilities within the sector here. This will allow us to better cater to the needs of the Asian markets, while creating exciting opportunities for Singapore."

Besides the latest tie-up, Eat Just said it is also in discussions with Proterra Asia to expand their alliance to focus on another "promising avenue for protein innovation" involving the production of cultured meat, or meat made from cells instead of slaughtered animals.

Separately, Impossible Foods on Tuesday announced that consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong are now able to buy the plant-based Impossible Beef directly from grocery stores.

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