SINGAPORE start-up Alchemy Foodtech has raised S$2.5 million in pre-series A funding, which will accelerate its development of lower glycemic index (GI) food staples and the commercialisation of proprietary functional ingredient 5ibrePlus and related production processes. Foods with lower GI cause blood glucose levels to rise more slowly, making them healthier than high-GI foods.
The patent-pending functional ingredient 5ibrePlus can lower the GI of refined white carbohydrate-based food -- bread or noodles, for example -- "without compromising on taste, texture or colour", said Alchemy Foodtech in a release on Monday. 5ibrePlus is gluten-free and vegan, made from plant fibres and extracts.
The start-up aims to partner food manufacturers in the region to create low-GI and hence healthier versions of their products. Existing partners include bakery Gardenia, pau maker Lim Kee Food Manufacturing, and Tan Seng Kee Foods, maker of Kang Kang noodles. As a food item's GI is affected by the recipe, cooking and processing methods, Alchemy Foodtech has to customise the use of 5ibrePlus for each partners’ recipe.
Besides manufacturers, Alchemy is working with food service companies such as Han's F&B Group, with which it has a pilot to develop lower GI versions of dishes such as fried rice and pastries. Han's aims to launch these new products by the first half of 2019.
The start-up's foodtech laboratory CookLab@Alchemy was officially opened at the Science Park on Monday. It includes a food lab where Alchemy's ingredient blends are developed, and a biochemistry lab where research on digestion rates of carbohydrates and analysis of food texture is conducted.
Set up in 2015, Alchemy Foodtech is backed by Heritas Capital Management, Enterprise Singapore venture arm SEEDS Capital, Shanghai-based foodtech accelerate and venture capital fund Bits x Bites, National University of Singapore entrepreneurial arm NUS Enterprise and other angels. It is incubated by NUS Enterprise and was one of the first companies to move into NUS Enterprise’s co-working space at The Curie, in Singapore Science Park, which is dedicated to deep tech start-ups, including in the foodtech sector.