Looking To Start a Future Food Startup? Singapore’s Protein Innovation Centre Is The Launchpad You Need

With its world-class innovation centre, a Scale It Up Innovation Challenge, and pioneering protein aeration technology, leading machinery maker Bühler is helping global meat substitute startups supercharge their production and scaling journey.

LAUNCH – Singapore as the Launchpad for Your Vegan Brand

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Singapore has built up one of the most exciting food tech industries in the world- some call it the world’s food tech capital. This moniker was all but solidified back in December 2020, when the tiny island nation became the first country in the world to give regulatory approval for the sale of cultivated meat- that is animal meat grown in a bioreactor from live animal cell cultures. A short few years later, founders from all four corners of the globe are leaving their home countries to establish a base in the Lion City state to pursue alternative protein dreams. As of 2022, 36 food tech startups are headquartered in Singapore, and collectively they have collectively raised over $214 million.

Early-stage food tech entrepreneurs need the ability to conduct research, run pilots, and test manufacturing above all else. Spurred on by the Singaporean government’s 30 by 2030 plan, which supports local food production technology, the little red dot has built up one of the most dynamic B2B plant-based protein ecosystems around, with infrastructure on all levels from world-class science & research talent to pilot production facilities to co-manufacturers and local ingredient sourcing, making it the ideal launchpad for a new vegan meat entrepreneur.

Companies building supply chains and doing R&D in Singapore include Swedish oat milk pioneer OATLY, Californian precision fermentation leader Perfect Day as well as homegrown brands like Next Gen Foods, maker of TiNDLE plant-based chicken, and plant-based nutrition company Growthwell Foods.

Young startups looking to test high moisture extrusion formulations are also able to leverage Buhler’s partnership with SG Protein, a Singaporean contract manufacturer of plant-based meat products that boasts a 500kg/hr extruder.

Plant-based chicken wrap by SaladStop featuring SG Protein – Courtesy SG Protein.

TEST – Get a Market Ready Product in Mere Days with Bühler

Possibly the most expensive part of a food tech startup’s Capex budget is a factory build-out.

Building out your own facility takes years, and millions in funding and comes with huge regulatory and legal headaches. All the while, you are not able to test or iterate your product, which is the most important part of the first few. But what if the machinery you buy is not a fit? And what about factory running costs? Not to mention rising labor charges.

Your job as a founder in those early days is to build, test and improve, ideally without wasting time or capital. Buhler’s Protein Innovation Centre empowers you to do all that and more (get inputs from industry experts and know-how from veteran food players) at a fraction of the cost and stress of investing in your own.

The Protein Innovation Centre, a collaboration between leading food equipment manufacturer Bühler and flavoring specialist Givaudan offers food tech founders and their teams a one-stop shop to innovate novel plant-based meat foods working with dry and wet extrusion techniques. The two Swiss giants’ combined expertise means that product development challenges can be avoided and shorten new product lead times. Startups can trial, test, and taste products in less than a week. To a young company, this kind of opportunity is life-changing.


Bühler is a Gold Partner for the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit and Aparna Venkatesh, Head of Innovation, Southeast Asia & Oceania, is representing the company in the panel discussion ‘New Trends in Plant-Based Protein: Advancing Processing for Localised Taste & Texture’. See the full agenda here.