Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - LF Growth Fund announced today the completion of investment into Kuala Lumpur plant-based meat brand Nanka, which produces a range of delicious and healthy meat alternatives based on jackfruit and plant protein. LF Growth Fund, the investment arm of United States-based Lever Foundation, is one of the most active investors in the alternative protein category in Asia, having backed 17 startups in the category over the past two years across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and now also Malaysia.
Founded by F&B veteran Ahmad Syafik Jaafar and food technologist Amirah Mohd Noh, Nanka entered the plant-based meat market in Malaysia with its signature jackfruit-based burger patties. The company has since developed a variety of additional meat alternatives including nuggets, balls, hotdogs, and minced meat. Jackfruit, which is native to Malaysia and grows all year round, is resistant to diseases and high temperatures and adds a fibrous meat-like texture to plant-based meat.
“Nanka's mission is to provide Malaysian customers with unique, delicious plant-based meat products at a reasonable price, benefiting both people's taste buds and the environment. Compared to traditional protein sources, our products have a minimal carbon footprint. We are thrilled that the Lever Foundation has decided to support our project to develop domestic plant-based meat delicacies in Malaysia,” said Ahmad Syafik Jaafar, co-founder of Nanka.
“Public interest in plant-based meat is growing quickly in Malaysia, with more consumers choosing plant-based products to improve their health or protect the environment and animal welfare,” said Vilosha Sivaraman, Sustainability Program Manager for Lever Foundation in Malaysia. “We were impressed by Nanka’s innovative and tasty products and their marketing strategy, and look forward to partnering with them to help increase production and bring their products to more stores and restaurants.”
A recent study by the Department of Agribusiness at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) found that 86% of Malaysian consumers aim to purchase more “green foods”—more sustainable, safe, healthy and humane food products. The market for plant-based meat is expected to grow rapidly across the APAC region, with UBS projecting a 19% compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
ABOUT LEVER FOUNDATION
Lever Foundation is a global NGO based in the United States and operating across southeast Asia. Lever Foundation works with leading food companies in Malaysia and across the region to help them upgrade their protein sourcing for a more humane, safe and sustainable supply chain, with a focus on cage-free eggs and alternative protein.