Asia-Pacific Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge Gives Plant-Based Food Start Ups the Opportunity to Bring Their Projects to Market Faster

Following two successful programs in North America and in Europe, Bühler, Cargill and Givaudan bring their combined innovation power to bear and help plant-based protein start-ups to scale up and  commercialize in Asia-Pacific with the Scale It Up! Challenge. Registration for this unique program is  now open. The top 15 start-ups selected in the first round will pitch their proposals to the partner  companies and, then, five start-ups will gain access to the partner companies’ testing and scale up  piloting facilities at the Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore, in an all-expense paid trip. The  deadline for applications is October 1, 2022. 

Singapore, SG, September 6, 2022 – Bühler, Cargill and Givaudan have joined forces to  help accelerate start-ups who are innovating in plant-based protein, to address the needs  of a growing global population. By the year 2050, the world’s population will reach 9.8 billion  people1. Asia is well positioned to drive global food demand, including proteins, as home of 

60% of the global population2 and a rising middle class3. Alternative protein sources will  need to complement the traditional protein sources to feed the needs of the population. 

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During the program, start-up companies who register and submit their project will gain  visibility to the larger, plant-based protein ecosystem and be able to network and collaborate  with others on a similar journey. One winner and one runner-up will be chosen and provided  ongoing support that will help them scale their product for market introduction. 

The Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge will provide resources, mentorship, and expertise to  start-ups with innovative solutions for plant-based meat or seafood alternatives. The three sponsoring companies are all active in the production of sustainable, plant-based protein  ingredients, each focusing on differing parts of the value chain and each bringing their  unique expertise to the challenge. The Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge will provide  resources, mentorship, and expertise to the challenge winners. 

“The rising protein gap is a challenge too big to solve alone,” says Dr. Aparna Venkatesh,  Regional Innovation Lead of Bühler. “The Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge is designed  to accelerate start-ups who are also working to close that gap. It allows regional start-ups to  access our expertise, ecosystem, capabilities and facilities to develop delicious plant-based 

meat products. The value we see here is lowering the entry barrier and innovating with them  to help them to help on their journey to commercialization and bringing their product to  market more quickly. We’re excited to kick-off the Asia-Pacific version of this unique  challenge with our likeminded partners and look forward to seeing what it will bring.” 

“Innovations in food technology are changing how we think about food and how it is  produced. Through Scale It Up!, we’re challenging start-ups to come up with new, disruptive  ideas in the plant-based protein space, to adopt a longer and broader view toward providing  diverse proteins to the world. With our deep knowledge of plant protein ingredients, our  expertise in R&D, product development and production, and in partnership with other  players in the industry, we hope to help innovators test their ideas and scale it to the market,”  said Kok Wei Beh, Regional Technical Leader, Cargill.

“The Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge provides a unique co-creation opportunity to develop  and scale plant-based food experiences. We aim to accelerate and support the journey for start-ups – providing them access to the expertise, networks and technology required to  create authentic plant-based products that consumers will love. At our Protein Innovation  Centre, start-ups will be able to benefit from an end-to-end approach, as we guide them  through every step of their product development and research journey. We invite all start ups in the region to join us in making plant-based foods more delicious and accessible to  all!” shared Michele van der Walt, Regional Head of Innovation, Givaudan Taste &  Wellbeing APAC. 

Asia-Pacific is experiencing a boom in alternative proteins innovation. In Asia-Pacific,  alternative protein investments grew from $162M in 2020 to $312M in 20214(a huge 92%  surge). Consumer food spending in general is slated to jump over the next decade in Asia Pacific. A study by PwC, Rabobank and Temasek5 predicts that consumer-driven growth in  food spending in Asia-Pacific will hit $1.1 trillion in 2030, an 83% jump compared to 2019, a  growth rate that would outpace China’s. 

The Scale It Up! Innovation Challenge is taking idea submissions until October 1, 2022.  Companies wishing to enter the challenge can register here. On October 12, the top 15  projects will be selected by a panel of experts from the three partner companies. These companies will have a week to prepare their pitches, and on Oct 19, the top 5 will be selected to advance. From December 1 to January 25, the top 5 will visit the facilities of the partner  companies. In February 2023, the final pitches will be made, and a winner and runner-up  chosen. The two selected companies will receive support to help develop and scale their  product for market introduction. 

Check out previous winners NowADays and MOAFoodtech