SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 27 April 2020 -Growthwell, a leading manufacturer of plant-based alternatives for meat and seafood for the South East Asian market since 1989, today announced that it has raised US$8 million in a funding round led by Temasek, with other investors DSG Consumer Partners, Insignia Ventures, Genesis Ventures, Brandify and Mr Koh Boon Hwee participating. The proceeds from this funding round will accelerate Growthwell's growth into alternative proteins and future food solutions, taking its vision of sustainable plant-based choices to a global stage.
Growthwell Group: Powered by two generations of leadership From left to right: Mr Justin Chou, Executive Director (Son), Mr Chou Shih Hsin, Managing Director (Father) and Colin Chou, Commercial Director (Son)
Growthwell's growth plans include the setup of an end-to-end technology centre in Singapore focusing on R&D and manufacturing, an investment in Israeli food tech start-up ChickP, as well as the launch of chickpea protein-based seafood alternative series using ChickP's proteins.
Disrupting Existing Meat-Replacement Market
Today, global consumer interest and demand for plant-based meat alternatives are significantly increasing, with the global plant-based protein market expected to grow approximately 9% yearly between 2020 to 2025, achieving revenues of over US$7 billion by 2025; yet, the Asian market remains largely untapped.
Growthwell's vision is to be Asia's leading plant nutrition food tech company, with an aim to care for 100 million lives with sustainable and nutritious plant-based choices while reducing the world's overall meat consumption. In line with this vision, Growthwell will be setting up a state of the art, end-to-end technology centre in Singapore focusing on the R&D of novel plant proteins and manufacturing. Targeted for completion by first quarter of 2021, the facility will have the latest food technology applications, high moisture extrusion (HME) capabilities and a fully automatic manufacturing production line to scale production and cater to the strong demand for plant-based meat and seafood alternatives in the region. This strategic setup dovetails with Singapore's strengthening position as an IP hub and Southeast Asia's technology capital, and serves to contribute towards Singapore's food security imperatives.
Highly Adaptable Superfood as Seafood Alternatives
Growthwell has also committed to a significant stake in an Israeli food tech start-up, ChickP, to develop innovative plant proteins and to launch the world's first 90% chickpea protein isolate specially designed for plant-based dairy and meat alternatives through patent-pending technology. This plant protein was jointly developed by ChickP with the faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Compared to the current market option of 70% chickpea protein concentrate, ChickP's breakthrough offers the world its first neutral-taste, allergen-, gluten- and GMO-free 90% chickpea protein isolate that is high in nutrition and provides a strong, smooth texture and emulsion stability with no compromise to taste and flavour.
One innovative application of ChickP's protein is in seafood and meat alternative products, through Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) and HME. Chickpea-based TVP/HME has clean label qualities and the potential to be a highly adaptable superfood with its several nutritional characteristics -- high protein, high fibre, low carb, low sodium. Its neutral taste, which does not require further masking through sugar or flavour additives, allows it to be easily adapted into highly delectable products, providing an edge over other conventional Asian plant-based meat alternatives such as gluten-based mock meat.
With Chickpea-based TVP/HME, Growthwell is currently developing chickpea protein-based seafood alternative collection -- ChickP Squid, ChickP Crab Patty, and ChickP Shrimp -- which will be free of allergens, gluten, lactose, and hormones, making it one of the safest proteins available for consumption.
Bolstering its distribution networks
Growthwell is ready to tap into the plant protein market by leveraging its supply chain capabilities, manufacturing know-how, and extensive distribution network to scale its growth. Beyond its current focus on the mass production of ChickP protein isolate and developing new ChickP protein products, Growthwell aspires to expand distribution of ChickP protein products across key Asia-Pacific markets such as China and Australia and develop new plant-based product offerings, including dairy alternative products such as chickpea-based milk and ice cream, in 2021.
In line with its distribution plans, the company has appointed Country Foods, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SATS Food Services and one of Singapore's primary food importers, distributors and manufacturers, as its main distributor and partner. With several exciting collaborations in the pipeline, this partnership will allow Growthwell to tap on Country Foods' extensive list of clienteles in hospitality, food services, retail, wholesale, airlines, and governments.
With an innovative growth mindset, Growthwell seeks to develop and supply products beyond just meat-alternatives and is at the forefront of driving meat-free sustainable innovation in Asia.
"As a leading manufacturer, we aim to capitalise 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" says Justin Chou, second generation leader and Executive Director of Growthwell Group. "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."
 Market research by Arizton, https://www.arizton.com/market-reports/plant-based-protein-market
About Growthwell Group
Established in 1989, Growthwell Group has been the trusted one-stop meat-free solutions provider in Singapore for F&B businesses and organisations around the world. Armed in research and development, Growthwell Group is the leading plant-based food solutions company in Singapore that helps F&B organisations obtain high quality meat-free products while providing excellent logistics support and customer service for continual growth and success. With an intention of making the world a better place, Growthwell Group has evolved from a manufacturer of plant-based alternatives in Asia to that of an innovative plant-based food technology company. Equipped with food technology, manufacturing and distribution capabilities in Asia, the group provides end-to-end plant-based food solutions directly to their valued partners and consumers globally.