According to a new report by GFI APAC, alt-protein investments in the Asia Pacific region rose from $162 million in 2020 to $312 million in 2021 — a staggering rise of 92%.
While cultivated and precision fermentation startups are beginning to take a large percentage of alt-protein investments globally, plant-based companies still dominate in the APAC region. Among the most successful are Next Gen Foods’ record-breaking $30 million seed raise and Starfield’s $100 million Series B round.
Catching up with North America?
As APAC’s share of alt-protein investments rises, North America’s is rapidly shrinking, down from almost 100% to two-thirds. However, while APAC is on the rise in terms of plant-based and cultivated meat investments, the region is lagging behind when it comes to precision fermentation. North America still takes over 90% of investments in this sector, and work is needed to help APAC catch up.
A “hotbed of alternative protein unicorns”
Initiatives have already been put in place in an attempt to boost Asia’s alt-protein startups, including a newly-launched VC firm called Better Bite Ventures which has launched with a $15 million fund.
In November, food tech VC and accelerator Foodland Ventures was already predicting that APAC would catch up with Europe and the US in terms of alt-protein innovation. The company pointed out that growing demand for meat among the region’s middle classes would make sustainable alternatives increasingly important.
“After another massive surge in private investments, APAC has the potential to become a bonafide hotbed of alternative protein unicorns if investors are strategic enough to also ramp up support for plant-based, fermentation, and cultivated meat manufacturing infrastructure, which is critical for sustained sector growth. These encouraging new figures show more clearly than ever that now is the time for APAC to build, build, build,” said Mirte Gosker, Acting Managing Director of The Good Food Institute APAC.