From designing smart bins to track food waste to cultivating proteins in the lab, these are some of the honourees transforming Singapore’s food industry
Singapore is known for its vibrant and diverse food scene, from its inexpensive hawker fare to its award-winning fine dining restaurants.
This year, its F&B industry is expected to reach US$296 million in revenue, with an annual growth rate of about 6.58 percent. But with a strong food culture comes several challenges and responsibilities. This includes ensuring its food sources are sustainable and secured (Singapore buys food from over 170 locations globally) and its food waste is smartly managed.
Here are six entrepreneurs leading the charge in making the country’s food industry more sustainable, from using smart bins that measure and track food waste to cultivating food in the lab.
Co-founder and CEO, Lumitics
Rayner Loi’s startup Lumitics is behind Insight, an AI-powered tracker that allows dustbins to measure, identify and track all food waste thrown into them. With the data collected, the tracker helps chefs understand what is not being eaten and gives them actionable insights to reduce their food waste.
Lumitics has helped clients such as Hyatt, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways to reduce up to 40 percent of their food waste—or equivalent to more than 200,000 meals. The startup, which has backers in Temasek Foundation and Enterprise Singapore, was one of two Singapore startups to take home a prize at a global sustainability competition organised by the UN World Tourism Organisation earlier this year.
Ling Ka Yi
Co-founder and CTO, Shiok Meats
Ling Ka Yi and her business partner Sandhya Sriram are set on revolutionising the unsustainable crustacean market. They founded Shiok Meats to create slaughter-free, cell-based alternatives and recently raised US$12.6 million in Series A funding, which brings them closer to commercially launching their first minced shrimp product, Shiok Shrimp, in 2022.
Last November, they also revealed their cell-based lobster meat prototype during a private tasting in a world first.
“I want to provide everyone the opportunity to choose a clean source of crustaceans,” says Ling. “It is important to me that I know where my food comes from, to have a choice to eat what I want and not feel like I’m destroying the environment as I eat.”
Blair Crichton and Dan Riegler
Who would have thought jackfruit would make a good substitute for pork? Blair Crichton and Dan Riegler did. The co-founders of Karana are using the tropical fruit to create a whole-plant-based alternative to pork, which is also made into ready-to-cook products such as “pork” and chive dumplings and “char siew” buns.
The jackfruits are ethically sourced, primarily from Sri Lanka, where it is abundant. “Jackfruit is one of the most sustainable crops in the world and a very friendly crop for smallholder farmers,” says Rielger in an interview with Tatler. “It can offer significant income generation potential while requiring minimal inputs and maintenance. It is mostly grown intercropped (crops grown among other plants, usually in alternating rows or sections) on mixed farms, which is much better for soil health and provides diversification for farmers.”
This June, Karana expanded to Hong Kong, where it is working with chefs and restaurants to offer plant-based dishes using its pork substitute.
Ng Pei Kang
Founder and CEO, Tria Foodware
In 2019, Singapore generated 930,000 tonnes of plastic waste, of which only 4 percent was recycled. Ng Pei Kang wants to change this.
Ng’s company Tria, which he started in 2016, provides end-to-end solutions for the food industry. Its key products include its plant-based Neutria foodware, which is used by numerous restaurants in Singapore, and its Bio24 hydro-thermophilic digester, which can turn food waste into mineral-rich fertiliser within 24 hours—the first of its kind in the world.
In 2020, Tria has helped its clients avoid using at least 100 tonnes of plastic by switching to more environmentally friendly substitutes.
Co-founder and managing director, Fresh Creation Holdings
As the co-founder of one of Asia’s largest healthy fast-food chains, SaladStop!’s Adrien Desbaillets knows the impact that his company can have on the environment. Driven by the goal to help people eat better, SaladStop! uses eco-friendly packaging and supports a circular economy through initiatives such as a BYO campaign, borrow a bag, composting, using upcycled building materials and exploring sustainable sources of food.
This March, the chain went one step further and announced that it is carbon labelling its entire menu, in hope of encouraging its customers to think about the footprint of their food choices. SaladStop!, which has stores in eight countries worldwide, is the first healthy food chain in Asia to put this to practice.
See more honourees from the Food & Beverage category of the Gen.T List.