Eat Just Inc., a California-based maker of plant-based chicken and egg substitutes, plans to locate its Asia-Pacific headquarters and global manufacturing hub in Singapore.
1880, a private member's club at Robertson Quay, on Dec. 19 became the first commercial establishment in Singapore to offer Eat Just cultured chicken nuggets. The nuggets, priced at S$23, were served to diners as a two-dish combo: chicken and waffles on one plate and chicken on a Chinese steamed bun on the other.
This made Singapore the first country to allow lab-grown meat to be sold.
"Singapore for us will be at a minimum the base for Asia," said Eat Just CEO and co-founder Josh Tetrick. "And we're considering Singapore as the hub for global manufacturing of what we call our brand's Good Meat, (with) a facility or two in Western Europe and a facility or two in North America. I am hopeful that the U.S. and Western Europe will follow the lead of Singapore in providing a regulatory environment," he added.
Tetrick said Eat Just, which is worth $1.2 billion, plans to boost its investments in Singapore starting 2021. He expects to hire process engineers, product developers, analytical chemists and food scientists.
"I don't know off the top of my head exactly the number of jobs as it relates to it. But just imagine a large manufacturing environment, running optimally for us 24/7 with company support...we think it's an important way to generate jobs."
On Dec. 2, Eat Just became the first cultured meat company to receive regulatory approval to produce and sell lab-grown chicken meat.
Over the past year, Eat Just has been forming strategic partnerships with established local manufacturers to produce cultured chicken cells and formulate the finished product. The company received approval from Singapore authorities to sell its lab-grown chicken product under the brand name, Good Meats, in November.
After it received regulatory approval in December, the company said this first-in-the-world regulatory approval paves the way for a forthcoming small-scale commercial launch in Singapore of its new Good Meat brand in 2021.
It said this breakthrough for the global food industry builds on Singapore's reputation as a world leader in business, technology and culinary innovation.
"Cultured meat's role in creating a safer, more secure global food supply has been well-documented, and the last decade has given rise to a steady increase in the application of animal cell culture technology toward the development of food products," said the company in a statement.
"At the same time, meat production has risen dramatically, and by 2050, consumption is projected to increase over 70%."
In October, Eat Just announced a partnership with private equity firm Proterra Investment Partners Asia to build a $120 million plant-protein factory in Singapore that will break ground in the first quarter of 2021.