Foray into the Food Innovation Industry

It was an exciting day over at NUS Enterprise @ Singapore Science Park as we hosted both the Alternative Protein Marketplace Industry Day and NUS FoodTech Challenge on 17th July 2019. Distinguished guests began streaming in as early as an hour before the event started, eager to get the best seats at the venue. By the time the event began, the crowd had spilled to the outside of the seminar room — what an overwhelming response it was!

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More than 120 guests attended the Alternative Protein Marketplace Industry Day.

We kicked off our first event, the Alternative Protein Marketplace Industry Day, with an opening address by Dr Brian Koh, Director of NUS Enterprise. His address was followed by a sharing by Dr Allan Lim, Group Manager of Nestle R&D Centre, who shared his vision for the food industry. Afterwards, keynote speaker Christian Cadeo, Managing Partner of Big Idea Ventures, addressed the central theme of the event: alternative protein. In his speech, he talked about the changing trends in consumption of alternative meats, the different aspects driving the increasing popularity of plant-based foods, and the positive impact of plant-based proteins.

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Featuring our organisers, keynote speakers, and presenters (left to right): Eugene Wang (CEO, Sophie’s Kitchen), Dr Allan Lim (Nestle), Sebastian Ku (Regional R&D and Innovation Manager, APAC, Lesaffre), Dr Sherman Ho (CTO, Hoow Foods), Dr Brian Koh (NUS Enterprise), Lim Jie Ai (NUS Enterprise), Dr Nauremon Srisuma (Group Head of Research & Development, Thai Wah Public Company Ltd), Justin Chou (CEO, Growth Well), Christian Cadeo (Managing Partner, Big Ideas Ventures)

This was followed by presentation pitches of brilliant ideas by different companies, namely Lesaffre, Thai Wah Public Company, Growth Well, Hoow Foods, and Sophie’s Kitchen. The event concluded with a delightful networking lunch sponsored by gomama, a vegan food start-up who delivers their own plant-based spin on classic recipes, serving delicious plant-based alternatives to common dishes such as pasta, gyoza, and fried rice. Concurrently, booths were also set up by different foodtech companies to showcase their latest innovations, and guests were definitely treated to a fulfilling experience!

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A hearty, nutritious, plant-based spread of food by our friends at gomama.
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Ingredion’s booth featured a live demonstration of the use of their ingredients for culinary creations.

The afternoon was just as bustling with the Final Demo Day of the week-long NUS FoodTech Challenge 2019, where ten teams from tertiary institutions around Singapore came together to battle for the exciting top prizes! The teams pitched their ideas to our panel of judges, comprised of different industry experts from companies such as Nestlé, Ingredion, and JR Group, as well as representatives of NUS Enterprise. As teams worked hard to find solutions to sustainable protein, beyond soy, for Southeast Asian consumers, many brilliant ideas emerged and we got to witness the hard work of the bright minds of young Singaporeans.

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A prototype by one of the teams for their innovation, Noods-to-Go — a healthier and customizable version of instant noodles.

The outcome of the event was a success! We would also like to extend our congratulations to the top 5 teams:

· 1st Prize + Special Award Winner: Seedling, who created a flour blend that incorporates food processing by-products generated daily by consumers

· 2nd Prize + Special Award Winner: The Ideators, a team who wants to make the traditional kueh salat healthier by replacing the top kaya layer with a chickpea layer

· 3rd Prize + Special Award Winner: Soylent Green, a team who wishes to promote the consumption of edible insects as protein

· Special Award Winner: Cornivores, who formulated vegan pulled pork from jackfruit

· Special Award Winner: Alternative Amino, who aim to revolutionize instant noodles by incorporating duckweed to improve the noodles’ nutrition

All five teams will receive an express ticket to the Innovation Practicum Grant and three months of free incubation support to further develop their ideas in the food industry. Congratulations to the teams once again and we wish them all the best!

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A big congratulations to all our winners of NUS FoodTech Challenge 2019!

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NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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