The undisclosed investment in Nanka, a plant-based meat brand with products based on jackfruit and plant protein, marks LF Growth Fund’s first investment in a Malaysian firm.
Based in the US, Lever Foundation is an active investor in the alternative protein category. It aims to create a more humane and sustainable protein supply chain in Asia, believing that changing East Asia’s protein supply chain is critical to its mission.
To do so, it provides critical early support to promising existing startups such as Nanka.
“Public interest in plant-based meat is growing quickly in Malaysia, with more consumers choosing plant-based products to improve their health or protect the environment and animal welfare,” said Vilosha Sivaraman, Sustainability Program Manager for Lever Foundation in Malaysia.
Pushing meat-free options in Malaysia
Nanka was founded by F&B veteran Syafik Jaafar and food technologist Amirah Mohd Noh.
This husband-and-wife duo told Vulcan Post in 2021 that their intention with the brand was to encourage fellow Malaysians to eat healthier diets, making their target market meat eaters.
Its products are made of jackfruit, which is native to Malaysia and grows all year round. Beyond its resistance to diseases and high temperatures, the fruit is also known to add a fibrous meat-like texture to plant-based meat.
However, not all of its products are 100% meat-free, as it has two “blended” options that mix in the jackfruit with chicken and beef.
In any case, Nanka’s products don’t seem to be easily available online at the time being. Perhaps the business is more focused on B2B clients such as hotels and restaurants for now.
According to Syafik, though, the fund will be spent on expanding the company’s production capacity, R&D capability, as well as building more online presence in penetrating international markets.
Syafik also shared that Nanka is working on a follow-on funding via an equity crowdfunding campaign using the LEET Capital platform, which will help build a bigger investor-consumer base.
In the long term, the startup hopes to work with more food companies to reduce the usage of animal meat in their products and instead introduce more plant-based products.
With this in mind, it seems like it’s in the books for Nanka to be ramping up the scale of its business down the road, making the jackfruit patties more accessible to the public.
Featured Image Credit: Nanka