US-based food manufacturing firm Eat Just and a consortium led by the food and agribusiness-focused investment manager Proterra Investment Partners Asia will invest $120 million in what will be the first and largest plant-based protein production facility in Singapore.
The consortium will invest up to $100 million, and Eat Just — the company behind the popular plant-based JUST Egg —will invest the balance, according to an announcement on Tuesday. Eat Just said its local subsidiary, Eat Just Asia, will serve JUST Egg’s manufacturing and distribution partners across Asia.
Upon completion, the factory will generate thousands of metric tonnes of protein, the American company said. “Future facilities that are envisaged to be built in Asia will follow as the demand for protein in the region increases to hundreds of thousands of tonnes, creating additional jobs and infrastructure,” it added.
The government of Singapore has provided an enabling environment for the project with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
“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,” commented Damian Chan, executive vice president of EDB.
Eat Just’s existing distribution partners in Asia include South Korean food firm SPC Samlip, Thailand’s Betagro, and a yet-to-be-announced partnership in mainland China.
Currently, Eat Just has protein facilities in North America and Germany. In the US, JUST Egg, is distributed through a partnership with Michael Foods. To date, Eat Just has sold the plant-based equivalent of more than 60 million eggs.
“This partnership [with Proterra] will further accelerate our path to become one of the world’s largest producers of eggs in the next decade. […] Consumer demand, driven by health, food security, and food safety, is creating an environment of extraordinary opportunity for this unique partnership,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder, and CEO of Eat Just.
Tai Lin, managing partner of Proterra Asia, added: “We would like to help consumers across Asia get better access to the excellent plant-based egg product by establishing a fully integrated supply chain within Eat Just Asia.”
The firms said that in addition to the JUST Egg protein partnership, they will expand their alliance to focus on the commercial production of cultured meat.
Also on Tuesday, California-headquartered Impossible Foods announced the retail launch of its plant-based beef in nearly 200 grocery stores in Singapore and Hong Kong. The faux meat market in Asia Pacific was worth $15.3 billion in 2019, a 4.75 per cent rise from the previous year, according to Euromonitor International, which forecast that this industry could grow as big as $17.1 billion in 2020.