LONGTIME plant-based meat manufacturer Growthwell Group has clinched US$8 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 startup.
Other investors in the round include 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 US.
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 2021. 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.
In addition, Growthwell also plans to invest in Israeli foodtech startup ChickP and launch a chickpea protein-based seafood alternative series using the startup's technology.
This product line will tap "the world's first 90 per cent chickpea protein isolate" designed with patent-pending technology, Growthwell said in its press statement. ChickP had developed the protein together with faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Growthwell is developing a chickpea protein-based seafood alternative collection, comprising ChickP Squid, ChickP Crab Patty, and ChickP Shrimp, which will be free of allergens, gluten, lactose and hormones.
Separately, Growthwell is also ramping up its distribution. The company has appointed Country Foods, a unit of SATS Food Service, as its main distributor and partner. This will allow Growthwell to tap Country Foods' 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 Justin Chou, second-generation leader and executive director of Growthwell Group.