This week, Singapore-based manufacturing company Growthwell Group announced that it has raised $8 million to fuel its growth in the plant-based food sector, particularly in the area of alternatives to traditional seafood and meat products. The company will use the funding to open a plant-based technology center in Singapore and as investment capital in CHiCK.P—an Israel-based startup that makes chickpea-based proteins for use in vegan meat and dairy products. Growthwell will also develop plant-based seafood such as shrimp, crab patties, and squid using CHiCK.P’s proteins. Through Country Foods—one of Singapore’s main distribution and import companies—Growthwell plans to distribute these plant-based seafood products in key Asia-Pacific markets such as China and Australia. In 2021, it will also develop dairy-free alternatives to milk and ice cream using CHiCK.P’s proteins.  

“As a leading manufacturer, we aim to capitalize on the growing global demand for plant-based alternatives in the areas of meat and seafood. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of our food supply chains” Growthwell Executive Director Justin Chou said. “Our decision to build a manufacturing facility in Singapore is a timely solution to tackle the food security issue. Ultimately, Growthwell strives to be the local and regional champion in supporting the drive to achieve long-term food supply stability.”

In the United States, the supply chain disruption to the meat industry is forthcoming. Many slaughterhouses, including Tyson’s largest pork plant, have begun to close as an increasing number of their employees—who often work shoulder-to-shoulder, making social distancing an impossibility—continue to contract and spread COVID-19. Amid the meat shortage and fueled by concerns around an increase in animal-borne illnesses, research firm MarketsandMarkets predicts that consumers will turn to the plant-based sector for solutions, helping it grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021.