Shiok Meats has completed a $4.6 million seed funding round to carry out research on cell-based shrimps and target mass production in the next couple of years, according to a Forbes report.
Monde Nissin CEO Henry Soesanto was the lead investor in the round. Other investors include Y Combinator, AiiM Partners, Big Idea Ventures, Aera VC, Beyond Impact Advisors, Boom Capital and Entrepreneur First, among others.
Incidentally, Monde Nissin acquired Quorn Foods, a UK-based meat substitute company.
The funding also marked Y Combinator’s first investment in the cell-based meat sector.
Shiok Meats will use the latest financing to strengthen its R&D capacity, as well as add on bioprocess engineers, according to the Forbes report. Shiok Meats aims to scale production in the next two to three years to provide its clean shrimps globally.
The company is co-founded by CEO Sandhya Sriram and Ka Yi Ling, who together possess around 20 years of experience in stem cell science. They claim to be the first in Southeast Asia to enter the market and provide clean alternatives to seafood.
Globally, the demand for seafood for human consumption is 143.8 million tonne per year, and the overall consumption footprint, which also includes other uses of seafood, is 154 million tonne, according to a research in 2018 by the EU Science Hub.
Asian countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia are among the world’s largest seafood consumers.
In general, meat consumption across Asia is projected to grow 33 per cent by 2030 and an astounding 78 per cent by 2050, according to Asia Research and Engagement (ARE).
Investors are therefore keen to back sustainable ideas for protein substitutes.
Temasek has invested in Impossible Foods and animal-free dairy producer Perfect Day. Others have said they started to look at the space.
The expected increase in meat consumption is on the back of higher urbanisation and growing wealth in emerging Asian countries, said the ARE report.
But, at the same time, people are increasingly conscious of healthy and even cruelty-free products.
“There is a significant number of millennials in Asia who are much more conscious of the products that they are using. The purchasing power of the millennial in Asia is also greater than North America,” Big Idea Ventures’ founder and managing partner Andrew Ive told DEALSTREETASIA in our article on the growing lab meat trend.