Three Great Needs of Production: pre-summit interview with Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms

We spoke with Didier Toubia ahead of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit to see what Aleph Farms make of the increasing demand for alternative proteins in Asia, and how the industry can scale production efficiently and sustainably.

Didier Toubia, Aleph Farms
Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO, Aleph Farms

We are seeing a huge demand for alternative proteins in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world, but currently there isn’t enough capacity to meet this need. What needs to happen for supply to catch up?

Start-ups need to team-up with larger industry partners and rely on their financial and operational capabilities in order to scale more quickly. The financial benefits in particular will help speed up the building of production facilities, which in turn leads to greater production capacity at a lower cost.

Building infrastructure, bolstering supply chains, widening input sources, outsourcing processes, skills gaps… What are the vital areas of production that need innovation and investment in order to increase supply of alternative proteins to market and create affordable, economically viable products?

There are three great needs in production: first, developing new and more suitable ingredients that match the standard of quality and scale of the food industry, then opening the access to those ingredients to other players in order to drive economies of scale; second, building the upstream supply chain; finally, heavily investing in production infrastructure – and therefore production capacity – in order to make these products economically viable and affordable around the world.

How can producers and innovators work with regulators to pave the way for novel food approvals and create a clear route to market?

The best approach is to be collaborative and transparent with regulatory agencies, as we’re working with them around the world to foster trust with consumers in this new category of cultivated meat. Because we have been in contact from very early stages, we have been mutually able to manage expectations, ensuring that the approval process is as efficient as it could be.

Why is the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit an important date in your diary? Who are you hoping to meet?

We believe Asia will be the largest market for cultivated meat in the long-term, driven both by consumer demand and food security issues. In particular, meat consumption has been on the rise in Asia as incomes rise in the region. Furthermore, recent events like the chicken shortage in Singapore prove that we need to have more resilient food systems that also sustainably provide quality nutrition at affordable and stable prices.

Aleph Farms is a Gold Partner of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit 2022 and Didier will speak on the panel ‘Cultivated Proteins: Building Supply Chains and Accelerating Market Growth’. See the full agenda here.