Alternative protein startups in APAC raised over $200m last year — six times that in 2019

OmniMeat patties. Source: OmniMeat

Alternative protein companies in Asia-Pacific received $205.61 million in investments last year, over six times the $33.8 million they raised in 2019 and nearly 21 times 2018’s $9.86 million sum, according to figures released by The Good Food Institute on Thursday.

The non-profit advocate for protein substitutes, which compiled data of more than 550 companies from PitchBook, found that there were 35 deals involving Asia-Pacific-based alternative protein companies last year, compared with 23 in 2019 and six in 2018.

The amount raised and deals closed by alt-protein companies in Asia-Pacific annually. Source: The Good Food Institute Asia-Pacific

A breakdown of how much each category of alt-protein companies in Asia-Pacific raised. Source: The Good Food Institute Asia-Pacific

Source: The Good Food Institute Asia-Pacific

Alternative proteins, which can range from plant-based proteins to cellular meat, or meat grown in laboratories using animal cells have gained ground in recent years as a solution to climate change and animal cruelty.

A 2019 report by Barclays predicted that the global alternative meat market, currently valued at $14 billion, or 1% of the $1.4 trillion meat industry, could be worth 10 times more at about $140 billion by 2029.

Hong-Kong-based Green Monday clinched the largest deal made in the plant-based space in the region last year, raising $70 million. The company is known for its alt-pork OmniMeat products.

Among fermentation players, Singapore-based Sophie’s Bionutrients raised the largest amount at $1.2 million. And among lab-grown meat developers, Singapore’s Shiok Meats, which is developing cultivated seafood, was the top fundraiser, pulling in $12.6 million in its Series A round.

“After years of international brands expanding their product rollouts into Asia, the tables are turning, and now it’s Asia-based companies that will be increasingly exporting their products around the globe,” said The Good Food Institute’s Asia-Pacific acting managing director Mirte Gosker.

Global ecosystem hits new highs

Worldwide, alternative protein startups received a record amount of funds, the organisation said.

A total of $3.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins, thrice the $1 billion invested in 2019 and four and a half times the $694 million raised in 2018.

The amount raised and deals closed by alt-protein companies globally annually. Source: The Good Food Institute

The amount raised and deals closed by alt-protein companies globally annually. Source: The Good Food Institute

A breakdown of how much each category of alt-protein companies worldwide raised. Source: The Good Food Institute

A breakdown of how much each category of alt-protein companies worldwide raised. Source: The Good Food Institute

Alternative protein companies have raised almost $6 billion in invested capital in the past decade between 2010 and 2020, more than half of which was raised last year, the group added.

Some notable deals include the $700 million that Impossible Foods raised in 2020 through a $500 million Series F in March and a $200 million Series G in August, and the $186 million Temasek-backed cultivated meat maker Memphis Meats got in its Series B round.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.