LOCAL food tech startup Life3 Biotech announced on Tuesday it will be setting up Singapore's first integrated agri-food pilot facility, with support from the Singapore Food Agency and the Singapore Land Authority.
Located at Paya Lebar, the 50,000 sq ft facility will be used to kickstart the production of Singapore's first plant-based alternative protein source Veego.
It hopes to start production in a few months, with plans underway to extend distribution directly to consumers, as well as to hotels, caterers and food services, said founder Ricky Lin during a phone interview with The Business Times.
The pilot facility will officially launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, while plans to start another bigger production facility are underway.
With approximately 10,000 sq ft of production space, the pilot facility will aim to produce 1,200 to 1,800 tonnes of plant-based alternative protein source each year, Mr Lin said. Other parts of the facility will be used for research labs, offices and an in-house farm.
Life3 Biotech will also use the pilot facility as a test-bed for new concepts and conduct deep research to "push the boundaries of eco-circularity and sustainability", it said in a press release. Key protein crops produced can also be used as ingredients for the company's food formulation and manufacturing.
"Over the past few years, the alternative protein market has been growing rapidly, and global competitors have started entering the South-east Asian market. Right now would be the most opportune time for us to enter this market as well," said Mr Lin.
This is yet another step towards planning for greater food security in the city-state, in line with Singapore's goal of producing almost one-third or 30 per cent of the food needed here locally by 2030.
The facility will reach out to nearby schools, old folks' homes and community service centres for community outreach by organising various in-house activities, engagement workshops and guided tours.
"We want to reshape Singaporeans' thinking towards sustainable food sources and create more job opportunities for locals in this emerging industry. With an actionable roadmap that we have set up to achieve, we believe Life3 Biotech will contribute positively towards Singapore's drive towards sustainability and food security," Mr Lin said.