Plant-based meat and seafood maker Growthwell said Monday it raised $8 million in a funding round led by Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek.
Other investors in the round included DSG Consumer Partners, Insignia Ventures, Genesis Ventures, Brandify and Koh Boon Hwee, the company said in a statement.
Growthwell, which has been selling its products in Southeast Asia since 1989, said it plans to use the investment to expand its alternative protein product range and its geographic footprint.
Food tech players hawking alternatives to meat have been seeing increased interest in recent years amid concerns over the impact of livestock farming on climate change and expectations a rising global population requires higher levels of food production.
But the field has grown more crowded in recent years, with the launch of Impossible Foods – another Temasek investment – and Beyond Meat. Agriculture giant Cargill too announced earlier this year it plans to launch rival products using pea and soy formulations.
Country Foods, a subsidiary of SATS Food Services, has been tapped to help scale distribution of the company’s products, Growthwell said.
The company said it plans to open a technology center in Singapore by 2021 to focus on research and development as well as manufacturing of new plant proteins.
The company has also committed to take a “significant stake” in Israeli food-tech startup ChickP in a deal to develop a 90 per cent chickpea-based protein isolate to use in plant-based dairy and meat alternatives, the statement said.
That includes chickpea-protein-based seafood alternatives, called ChickP Squid, ChickP Crab Patty and ChickP Shrimp, which will be gluten-, lactose- and hormone-free, the statement said.
Growthwell’s brands, which focus on Asian cooking styles, include the ready-to-eat Gomama, sauce-maker OKK and mutton-alternative Su Xian Zi.