Gaia Foods is Southeast Asia’s first clean red meat company that produces meat using stem cell technology.
It essentially develops cell-based cuts of pork, beef and mutton; and it’s doing so by growing animal cells on scaffolds, or thin plant-based surfaces, so that it mimics the texture of meat cuts as opposed to minced meat.
It also controls all the materials that are necessary for producing the meat to ensure that it doesn’t contain any antibiotics and other contaminants.
The goal of the company is to produce meat in a cleaner, green and animal-friendly manner that people can consume without any guilt.
The deal will help Shiok Meats add a variety of red meat products to its existing menu of cell-based crustacean products like shrimp, lobster, crab, prawn, and crayfish.
Raised around US$30 million in funding to date
This July, Shiok Meats announced that it had almost completed raising an undisclosed bridge financing round from Woowa Brothers, a Seoul-based food delivery firm. The latest round brought Shiok Meats total funding to around US$30 million to date.
Shiok Meats was founded in 2018 by Sandhya Sriram and Ka Yi Ling, and stands out from other cell-based meat production companies because of its proprietary technology that isolates stem cells from shrimp, lobster, and crab — they are the first company to be able to do this for cell-based production.
Once the stem cells are harvested, the shrimp, lobster, and crab meats are grown in nutrient-rich conditions, similar to that of a greenhouse.
After four to six weeks, the cell-based seafood is exactly the same as its conventional counterpart but more sustainable, clean, and nutritious. Shiok’s patent-pending technology can grow crustaceans four times faster than conventional production.
Singapore has recently emerged as the foodtech hub of Asia, largely thanks to the government’s heavy support in the industry.
According to the Asia Alternative Protein Industry Report, several leading startups in the food technology (foodtech) field are headquartered in Singapore. This includes firms in growing sectors like cellular agriculture and whole plant food optimisation.
The emerging foodtech ecosystem has been heavily driven by government support and funding. Singapore aims to produce almost a third of the food that it requires by 2030, and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has set a target — dubbed as 30 by 30 — of producing 30 percent of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030.
“The alternative protein space is evolving rapidly, and we are very excited to collaborate and integrate with Gaia Foods,” said Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats.
“With both seafood and red meat on our suite of offerings and the recent fundraise from strategic investors, we are ready to power through to commercialization.”
Featured Image Credit: Shiok Meats / Gaia Foods / Bloomberg