Dominic Jeong, CEO of Simple Planet.

CEO Dominic Jeong © Image courtesy of Simple Planet

Company News

Simple Planet to Develop Cell Ag Technologies Under South Korea’s National Project for Food Tech

Cultivated meat ingredients developer Simple Planet announces that it has been selected to participate in an ₩11 billion national project launched by South Korea’s government to expand the food tech industry. The national project involves various individual projects led by different governmental institutions, including the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (IPET), the Korea Agriculture Technology Promotion Agency (KOAT), and the Korea Institute of Marine Science and Technology Promotion (KIMST).   As Simple Planet explained to Cultivated X, the company will be developing cell ag technologies for different purposes: The first project under the umbrella of KOAT’s agri-food venture nurturing program will focus on cultivated foods to replace animal-derived ingredients. A second activity involves establishing pluripotent stem cell lines and differentiation and …

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A pizza with animal-free mozzarella

© New Culture

Cheese Alternatives

New Culture Partners with CJ CheilJedang to Streamline Costs of Animal-Free Mozzarella

Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces a partnership with its previous investor, South Korean biotech giant CJ CheilJedang. New Culture develops casein from precision fermentation to make cow-free cheeses that melt, stretch, bubble, brown, and taste like conventional cheese without the lactose, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics found in milk.  The partnership will focus on reducing the production cost of New Culture’s casein to obtain a competitive price for its first product, animal-free mozzarella for pizzerias. Seung June Choi, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at CJ CheilJedang, comments, “Since our initial investment in New Culture in 2022, the CJ CheilJedang team has continued to be impressed by the company’s technical progress, robust bioprocess, and global ambition in the animal-free dairy industry.” Expertise to fuel …

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Cultivated Meat

South Korea Designates Regulation-Free Zone for Cultivated Meat to Boost Production & Safety

The South Korean government has announced the designation of a special regulatory-free zone in Gyeongsangbuk-do province to accelerate the production and commercialization of cultivated meat in the country. The zone, officially named the Gyeongbuk Cell-Cultivated Foods Regulatory-Free Special Zone (RFSZ), aims to address the legal obstacles facing the development of cell culture food products, establish global standards for these novel foods, and develop a skilled workforce for the cultivated meat industry. The cultivated meat RSFZ will be operational for the next five years (until December 2028) with a budget of ₩19.9 billion ($14.4 million) as reported by local media. Demonstrating safety Ten companies, including SeaWith, TissenBioFarm, and DaNAgreen, will demonstrate the commercialization of cultivated meat, backed by R&D funding and tax breaks. Their goal will be to use cells from livestock …

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Innohas plant-based food facility

© Innohas

Manufacturing & Technology

Innohas Opens “World’s Largest” Plant-Based Food Facility in South Korea

South Korea’s Innohas has announced the opening of its second manufacturing site — claimed to be the world’s largest fully plant-based food facility — in the city of Jecheon. The factory will produce Korean-style plant-based foods to be sold under Innohas’ Sunlit Foods brand. This will cater to the growing demand for Korean cuisine worldwide, while also making it easier for Koreans to adopt a plant-based diet. The site’s facilities will include Korea’s largest frozen kimbap production line, dedicated plant-based BBQ and deep-frying lines, and an exclusive oven line for plant-based products. This will allow for the production of both finished products and ingredients. The Sunlit Foods brand currently offers 11 ready-to-eat meals, including Plant-based Bulgogi, Vegetable Kimbap, Plant-based Bulgogi Japchae, and Plant-based Bibimbap. The …

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Better Foods launches You Are What You Eat brand

© Better Foods

Company News

Better Foods Debuts New Plant-Forward Brand “You Are What you Eat” at Expo West

Better Foods, a plant-based subsidiary of South Korea’s Shinsegae Foods that was first introduced in 2022 for the US market, spearheaded its US expansion with the launch of new brand “You Are What You Eat” at this week’s Expo West event. At the event, Better Foods unveiled the new brand which debuted with ten new alternative meat and plant-based meal replacement products for home consumers, which it says were “produced using newly developed technology”. Says the landing page for the new brand: “‘YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT‘ is Better Foods’ take on plant-forward. It’s all about bringing delicious, healthy food to the table while caring for our planet. Think of plant-forward as encompassing everything from the base materials to the final meal, a concept that’s …

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Koralo launches a new mycelium and microalgae fish fillet in South Korea

Image courtesy of Koralo

Fermentation

Koralo to Launch New F!sh in More Restaurants in Seoul Following 5,000L Production Milestone

Koralo, a German B2B alternative seafood startup operating a subsidiary in South Korea, announces a milestone in the production of its flagship product called ‘New F!sh’, a mycelium-based fish fillet that debuted in Seoul last December.  According to Koralo, it has successfully scaled its patented co-fermentation biomass process to 5,000 L on existing equipment manufacturers (OEM) with local partners in South Korea. The company’s fermentation process harnesses the nutritional properties of microalgae to feed mycelium, replicating the natural diet of fish. This innovative process enables the creation of fish-like tasting and nutrient-rich alternatives in a sustainable process, emitting less CO2 and using less water than plant proteins. Clean-label and nutritious fish  New F!sh is said to be rich in nutrients, including omega-3, complete protein, probiotics, and …

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Infinite Roots team

Cathy Hutz (co-founder), Philipp Tigges (CFO), Dr. Mazen Rizk (founder and CEO) and Dr. Thibault Godard (co-founder) © Infinite Roots

Company News

Mycelium Tech Infinite Roots Announces Strategic Partnership with Pulmuone

Mycelium tech company Infinite Roots, formerly Mushlabs, announces a strategic partnership with Pulmuone, a leading food manufacturer from South Korea. Together, the companies intend to develop innovative protein products specifically tailored to the needs and taste preferences of the South Korean market. Infinite Roots has developed a patented method to use mycelium in innovative ways for food production. Just last month, the German startup secured $58 million in an oversubscribed Series B round, said to be Europe’s largest-ever investment in mycelium. On the other hand, Pulmuone, known for its tofu products, owns the Nasoya brand, famous for its plant-based steak line Plantspired which is hugely popular domestically as well as in the US, and is catering to the increasing interest in plant-based products in the …

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a 2kg prototype of cultivated meat by TissenBioFarm .

© TissenBioFarm

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety Accepting Submissions for Cultivated Meat Approval

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (KFDA) has announced that it has opened an application process for the approval of cultivated meat after implementing cultivated food regulations and a framework to provide companies with guidelines. The news came after the KFDA revised and published the “Temporary Standards and Standards for Food Products,” stipulating the procedure for approving raw materials “made using technology,” such as cell and microbial cultures.  Cultivated food ingredients became eligible for certification as food ingredients through the revision of the Enforcement Rules of the Food Hygiene Act in May last year. Previously, they were only allowed for R&D purposes. However, under these temporary standards, cultivated food ingredients could be approved for sale for the first time. Sam Lawrence, GFI Vice President of Policy …

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Cultivated ingredients producer Simple Planet

© Simple Planet

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Simple Planet Raises $6M for Cultivated Ingredients in Oversubscribed Funding Round

South Korea-based Simple Planet, a producer of cultivated ingredients, has raised $6 million in an oversubscribed pre-series A round. Participants included POSCO CAPITAL, DCP Private Equity, EASY Holdings, Hyundai Venture Investment, and more. A previous $1.5 million investment led by Pulmuone takes Simple Planet’s total funding to $7.5 million, which is particularly impressive in light of the challenging investment climate. Some of the funding will be used to build a facility for the mass production of Simple Planet’s high-concentrate cultivated meat powder. The remainder will be used to optimize development processes, enter global markets, and gain regulatory approvals. Simple Planet’s technologies include a suspension cell-culture platform with 13 cell lines from cows, pigs, chickens, and fish. The company launched a convenience food brand, Balboa Kitchen, …

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Korea vegan food tour

© Green Earth Travel

Tourism & Travel

Korea Tourism Organization Launches Nine-Day Vegan Food Tour

The Korea Tourism Organization has organized the country’s first ever vegan food tour, after seeing a significant increase in the number of people adopting a vegan lifestyle. The tour is nine days long and includes stops in major cities such as Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island. Participants will be able to sample traditional plant-based Korean dishes at restaurants and cooking classes; they will also learn about the country’s history and culture through activities such as meditating at a temple, visiting an apple farm, and exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites. The tour will be operated by Green Earth Travel, which also offers vegan tours in areas such as Cambodia, Nepal, and Bali. It will take place for the first time in September 2024. “South Korea has …

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Ayana Bio and Wooree Green Science sign joint development agreement to make plant cell-derived ingredients for health and wellness products.

© Ayana Bio

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Ayana Bio and Wooree Green Science Partner to Produce Agriculture-Free Saffron

Boston-based Ayana Bio, a spinoff from Ginkgo Bioworks, and Wooree Green Science, a biotech from South Korea developing functional ingredients, announce a partnership to develop sustainable ingredients for health and wellness products for the South Korean market.  Under a joint development agreement, the companies will produce agriculture-free saffron using plant-cell technology to make it more affordable for plant-based weight loss supplements. Using this novel method, the companies aim to address supply chain challenges and expensive labor fees. As Ayana Bio explains, saffron is proven to support weight loss by reducing hunger and boosting metabolism. However, the detrimental impact of climate change on saffron crops is intensifying the challenges within the supply chain. Harvesting this labor-intensive plant requires up to 170,000 flowers to yield a kilo of saffron, …

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Vegan streetwear brand FUTUREFEAR

© FUTUREFEAR

Fashion, Design & Beauty

South Korea’s FUTUREFEAR Wins Best Vegan Jacket at PETA Vegan Fashion Awards

The FUTUREPUFFER SIGNATURE, a puffer jacket created by South Korean fashion brand FUTUREFEAR, has been named Best Vegan Jacket at PETA Germany’s Vegan Fashion Awards. The waist-length, super-puffy jacket is made with Mipan Regen recycled nylon. It has a vegan down filling made from 3M’s 100% Recycled Featherless Thinsulate, which is produced using post-consumer recycled plastic. The jacket is available in three colors — forest green, lunar grey, and anthracite. The PETA Vegan Fashion Award judges said they were impressed by the material, quality, and fit of the jacket, along with the “100% VEGAN” logo on its left sleeve. “With its FUTUREPUFFER SIGNATURE jacket, FUTUREFEAR shows in an exemplary way that sustainable and vegan fashion creations are possible at any time,” said PETA Germany co-founder …

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Pureture X Namyang products

© Pureture

Fermentation

Pureture Partners with South Korea’s Namyang Dairy to Launch Dairy-Free Range Made with Plant-Based Casein

Pureture,  a US biotech specializing in producing animal-free ingredients with functional properties, announces a partnership with Namyang Dairy Products, one of South Korea‘s largest dairy manufacturers. Namyang, a global company with a presence in 21 countries, produces milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, and butter. The dairy giant will use Pureture’s plant-based casein to develop and introduce a new plant-based dairy range to offer consumers sustainable options. Pureture claims that it has developed the world’s first non-GMO plant-based casein. The protein is yeast-derived, and according to Purture, it enables manufacturers to develop clean-label, dairy-free products without additives, emulsifiers, or binders. Furthermore, Pureture says it will reach a manufacturing capacity of 2,400 tons to meet the growing demand while offering a competitive price approximately 30 to 40 percent lower …

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Rudy Yoo of Armored Fresh

Rudy Yoo © Armored Fresh

Interviews

Armored Fresh: “Our Plant-Based Cheeses Are a Combination of Innovation and Culinary Art”

Armored Fresh is a South Korean food tech company focused on producing plant-based alternatives to cheese. The company has developed a range of innovative almond-based products that are said to replicate the taste and texture of dairy cheese, and are infused with nutrients to provide a comparable protein content. To cater to consumers with nut allergies, Armored Fresh launched a new range of cheese alternatives made from oat milk last year. Several varieties of both the oat and almond-based cheeses are available for retail and food service across the US, including via the company’s online store. In November, Armored Fresh significantly expanded its retail footprint in the country, gaining listings at Fresh Thyme Market, Town and Country Foods, Fred Meyer, and more. We spoke to …

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Shinsegae Food Better Meat

© Shinsegae Food

Investments & Finance

Better Foods Secures Funding from Former President & CEO of McDonald’s Don Thompson

Better Foods, a plant-based subsidiary of South Korea’s Shinsegae Food (KRX: 031440), an arm of retail giant Shinsegae, announces it has secured investment from Cleveland Avenue, a VC firm established and run by Don Thompson, former president & CEO of McDonald’s. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. South Korea’s plant-based market has been thriving over recent years and last October the country became the second national government after Denmark to enstate a national action plan for plant-based foods, thus emerging as the second country to actively participate in transforming the food system. On the flipside, in November, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) published labeling guidance for plant-based products, prohibiting the use of animal food names such as “beef,” “pork,” …

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The Planteat noodles in boxes

©The PlantEat

Protein

Korea’s The PlantEat Uses AI to Make Soybeans Better-Tasting & More Digestible

Korean food tech company The PlantEat has used artificial intelligence to develop a variety of soybeans that is said to address several challenges commonly faced by plant-based food manufacturers. The new variety — called Hayoung — is non-GMO and does not have the off-taste and indigestibility often associated with soybeans. As reported by The Chosun, it also improves yields, with 100 beans producing 32.3 grams after processing compared to 21 grams for conventional soybeans. Additionally, The PlantEat claims that the beans do not contain the proteins that typically cause soy allergies. Hayoung was developed by using AI to analyze over 4 million food data points, significantly speeding up the R&D process. The project was funded by the Korean Food, Agriculture, and Forestry R&D Information Service. …

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Coral's fish fillet on a plate

Microalgae / mycelium fish fillet © Koralo

Fermentation

Koralo Debuts With ‘New F!sh’, South Korea’s First Microalgae & Mycelium-Based Fish Fillet

Koralo, a German fermentation startup developing alt seafood in South Korea, has introduced its first product, New F!sh, in collaboration with partner restaurants Stylevegan and Monks Butcher in Seoul. The startup claims that New F!sh is the first of its kind fish fillet in the South Korean alternative seafood category. Koralo creates innovative clean-label seafood alternatives using microalgae and mycelium in a co-fermentation process. The company’s approach captures the oceanʼs nutrition by feeding microalgae to mycelium, mimicking the algae-based eating habits of fish. Working with local partners, the New F!sh product has been tailored to the region’s palate. According to Koralo, after many tests, the fillets have a juicy and flakey texture that doesn’t fall apart. Moreover, the product offers an authentic fish flavor while being low in …

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Coral's fish fillet on a plate

© Koralo

Fermentation

Koralo Debuts With ‘New F!sh’, South Korea’s First Microalgae & Mycelium-Based Fish Fillet

Koralo, a German fermentation startup developing alt seafood in South Korea, has introduced its first product, New F!sh, in collaboration with partner restaurants Stylevegan and Monks Butcher in Seoul. The startup claims that New F!sh is the first of its kind fish fillet in the South Korean alternative seafood category. Koralo creates innovative clean-label seafood alternatives using microalgae and mycelium in a co-fermentation process. The company’s approach captures the oceanʼs nutrition by feeding microalgae to mycelium, mimicking the algae-based eating habits of fish. Working with local partners, the New F!sh product has been tailored to the region’s palate. According to Koralo, after many tests, the fillets have a juicy and flakey texture that doesn’t fall apart. Moreover, the product offers an authentic fish flavor while being low in …

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Nasoya WaBa Grill Steak

©Nasoya

Politics & Law

South Korea Prohibits Terms Such as “Beef” or “Pork” on Plant-Based Product Labels

At the end of November, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) published labeling guidance for plant-based products, prohibiting the use of animal food names such as “beef,” “pork,” “milk,” or “egg” to avoid confusion with traditional animal products, reports The National Law Review. However, the new rules do permit the use of words that describe the nature of the product or the name of the substituted raw material. So, in this case, ‘plant-based bulgogi’ or ‘bulgogi made from soybeans’ are allowed. To clarify, our understanding is that the prohibition concerns the names of the meat themselves, beef, chicken, or tuna for example. However, descriptive terms like “plant-based chunks” are permitted as are the titles of dishes, with the name of the substituting …

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© FUTUREFEAR

Fashion, Design & Beauty

FUTUREFEAR, Founded by Ex-PUMA Designer, Debuts with the “Perfect” Vegan Puffer Jacket FUTUREPUFFER

Hyon Park, a former lead designer for PUMA Women’s, has launched a vegan streetwear brand called FUTUREFEAR in collaboration with his marketer husband, Mark Petrie. Having been initially based in Berlin, the brand has now relocated to the South Korean capital, Seoul, with the founders combining the fashion cultures of the two cities, stating the style is inspired by “the queer- and vegan-friendly Berlin and the quality-driven perfectionism of Seoul”. The FUTUREPUFFER will be available in two varieties — the waist-length SIGNATURE and the knee-length MAXI. Both feature extra-long sleeves, dropped shoulders, and a wide back panel. The jackets are created with sustainable materials, using 3M Thinsulate 100% Recycled Featherless (a down alternative made from post-consumer recycled plastic) for the filling. Recycled nylon from Korean …

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