Meet the Innovators Challenging and Changing Asia’s Agri-Food System

October 19, 2021 - 9 min read

As Asia’s policymakers and agri-food leaders prepare for major urban population growth and the increasing impact of climate change, there is massive potential for global start-ups launching innovative solutions for sustainable food production in this region.

The Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit takes place on November 16-18, showcasing 30+ dynamic start-ups who will present breakthrough technologies to an international audience in-person in Singapore and globally on the virtual summit platform.

Areas covered by these agri-food pioneers range from novel proteins and ingredients for plant-based products, to digital tools for supply chain connectivity and efficiency, circular solutions for food waste and packaging, and smart tech for aquaculture and precision agriculture.

The summit features multiple touchpoints to meet dynamic innovators, from a live pitching afternoon in Singapore, to virtual showcases with judging panels and investor Q&As.

Singapore Live Pitch Afternoon

Hosted live from Singapore on November 16, and livestreamed to the global delegate audience, the Singapore Pitch Afternoon will celebrate the talent and innovation coming out of the region. Summit partner Enterprise Singapore has handpicked eight exciting agri-food start-ups who will take the stage to pitch their technology and business models:

Hoow Foods is a deep-tech food tech company specialising in R&D and commercialisation of consumer-packaged food products and functional ingredients using food science and AI technology.

Insectta is the first urban insect farm in Singapore, rearing the black soldier fly. The company takes food waste and returns it into the economy as valuable biomaterials such as Chitosan, melanin and probiotics.

LivFresh aims to reduce the farm-to-table distance to under 6 hours, to let customers enjoy 100% pesticide and additive-free produce at maximum freshness.

Mycovation is a mycelium protein company developing food ingredients that are vegan, nutritious, affordable and sustainable through mycoprotein technology.

Shandi Global is an alternative-meat company that develops plant-based chicken protein using a combination of high moisture meat analogous (HMMA) extrusion method and amino acids.

SinFooTech has perfected a patented fermentation technique for the bio-transformation of soy whey (waste by-product from tofu production) into a first-of-its-kind alcoholic beverage, named Sachi.

Straits Biopharma is eager to lead the revolution of plant-biologics and phyto-nutrient premium nutriceutical ingredient formulations targeted at chronic diseases from soil to lab to shelf.

TeOra has developed proprietary technology platforms for natural, sustainable solutions to prevent disease and promote growth in shrimp.

The Cargill and CPF Innovation Challenges - Finalists Announced

Global food companies CPF and Cargill have each created a start-up Innovation Challenge to uncover fresh talent and technologies that could benefit the APAC agri-food value chain.

Over 100 start-ups applied for the chance to work with these agri-food leaders and present in front of the global virtual summit audience. After a rigorous selection process, the finalists have been revealed for each challenge:

The Cargill Innovation Challenge: Digital Solutions to Connect and Enhance the Sustainable Food Production Chain in APAC

Centaur Analytics (USA) offers predictive route planning and risk analysis for perishable goods (eg soya, cocoa) for sustainable shipping and logistics. It is committed to reduce the estimated $1 trillion of annual post-harvest value loss from farm to shelf, by deploying its cognitive connected solutions globally and by empowering growers, ag and food companies with predictive quality analytics and prescriptive, automated interventions.

Connecting Food (France) harnesses blockchain technology to improve food security, reduce wastage and reinforce consumer trust in our food systems. Connecting Food leverages industry expertise to map food supply chains, improve end-to-end traceability and showcase value chain data via a QR code & WebApp, bringing trust through transparency to consumers.

PEEL Lab (Japan) technology upcycles fruits and vegetables to create low impact bio-based vegan leather. Its manufacturers then create custom-designed products that empower corporates to join the race towards "Net Zero" by 2050.  PEEL Lab is now in R&D on coconut husk and shell with mango peel to follow.

Commenting on the applications, Colin D’Silva, Vice President, Government Relations for Asia-Pacific at Cargill said “We are thoroughly impressed with the calibre of entries received for the Cargill Innovation Challenge. It’s inspiring to see so many innovative start-ups share Cargill’s vision of sustainable food production and supply chains, realized through innovative digital solutions. It was tough to make our selection of finalists. We are looking forward to learning more about their work, and to a successful partnership with the winner to advance our sustainability ambition and commitment.”

The CPF Innovation Challenge: Enhancing Texture, Juiciness and Aroma to Create Healthy Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Audra Labs (Singapore) uses patented fibre technology to capture real meat and fat textures in every bite, and its mild processing conditions preserve the nutritional qualities of ingredients. Committed to working towards a better future, utilising renewable resources, adopting sustainable technologies, and minimising waste to produce upcycled goods, Audra Labs believes that food should never be waste.

Lypid (USA) brings luscious texture, lip-smacking mouthfeel, and long-lasting flavour and juiciness to plant-based meat. Vegan oils have different textures, melting points, water content, and flavours than animal fats. Lypid is creating a line of fats made from vegan oils that can be tuned to precise textures and melting points.

Novameat (Spain) produces plant-based whole cuts from a wide variety of vegetable proteins, bringing to market the world’s most realistic centre-of-the-plate meat successors using its ground-breaking micro-extrusion technology.

Lalana Thiranusornkij, SVP - Head of Innovation and New Product Development at CPF Group said "There are so many amazing start-ups who want to be able to provide quality solutions and this platform has enabled us who are looking for solutions to find our match! The applications are very interesting, and we look forward to working with these talents to offer the best alternative proteins to our consumers in a sustainable way."

The winner of each challenge will be revealed live during the virtual summit on November 17. The selected start-ups will unlock valuable access to senior leadership coaching, product development and trials with their challenge partner. See full details at

Innovation in Action – Regional Spotlight

Highlighting talent from across APAC, summit partners GROW and The Yield Lab will introduce exciting agri-food start-ups from their cohorts, who will each share an exclusive glimpse at their technology in action.


Braintree Technologies (Malaysia) offers robotic farming-as-a-service that transforms unattended land into agricultural spaces, raising smallholder incomes and reducing emissions.

Buggy Bix (Australia) make healthy, delicious, all-natural pet food products using edible insects – an excellent source of protein that is better for the environment.

DataFarming (Australia) is Australia’s most popular precision ag software, delivering an easy-to-use, low-cost platform to help you grow smarter.

Green Rebel (Indonesia) is Indonesia's top selling plant-based protein brand, using local ingredients to create clean-label meat alternatives with distinct Asian flavours.

Mayani (Philippines) is an ag e-commerce platform helping smallholders access new customers and markets, while digitalizing the supply chain to reduce food loss.

Seadling (Singapore) produces functional ingredients for pet, aquaculture, and animal feed manufacturers from sustainably farmed seaweed.

S4S (India) combines solar-powered dehydration tech with micro-entrepreneurship to transform social and supply chain inefficiencies in developing countries.

Taka Gin (Australia) makes gin inspired by Indigenous fusion flavours using native ingredients and incorporating little-known botanicals.


Aptimmune Biologics (USA) creates valuable, safe, and effective vaccines to combat economically challenging swine diseases using its proprietary Barricade platform technology.

Bloomfield Robotics (USA) delivers an innovative, easy-to-use and cost-effective combination of ground-based image capture and deep learning-based processing to help growers precisely, efficiently, and affordably assess every plant.

DiMuto (Singapore) is an Agri-Food Trade Solution that unifies product, document and payment data in one single platform, creating end-to-end trade visibility across global food supply chains.

Fasal (India) provides farmers with crop-specific real-time actionable insights, integrating agronomy knowledge and microclimatic data obtained from hardware agnostic sensors.

Umami Meats (Singapore) is developing cell-cultured fish that is delicious, affordable, sustainable, and better for health, oceans, and the planet.

Wittaya Aqua (Canada) is a software and service company that helps aquaculture farms, feed and feed ingredient companies use data to make better decisions.

Commenting on the importance of start-ups in the summit’s programme, Ellen McLeay, Senior Conference Producer of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit said “Our global food production systems face unprecedented challenges as we witness the growing impacts of climate change and urban population growth. Established businesses are evolving to meet these challenges and collaborations with innovation partners will be key to their success. From its inception, our goal for the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit has been to provide a platform for start-ups to showcase their critical solutions, and to facilitate the important conversations that lead to collaboration. We’re excited to feature so many breakthrough start-ups throughout the event programme, showcasing the incredible innovation and talent that the APAC region has to offer, and highlighting the important role they play in the future of food production.”

The Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit on November 16-18 brings together over 700 global delegates for three days of virtual panel sessions, roundtable discussions, and 1-1 video meetings – plus in-person talks and workshops in Singapore.

Start-ups still have the opportunity to be a part of the programme. Innovators with fresh solutions for open field or urban agriculture, aquaculture, novel food ingredients or nutrition poised to change the face of Asia’s agri-food ecosystem are invited to get in touch.

The three-day Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit programme and speaker faculty are available now, with delegate registration (in-person and virtual) at

About the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit: ** **

Scaling Sustainable Food Production in Asia

Now in its fourth year, the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit on November 16-18, 2021, will bring together the world’s leading agribusinesses, growers, CPG and ingredient brands, entrepreneurs, investors, retailers and policymakers to share ideas and collaborate towards greater security and sustainability in Asia’s agri-food system.

From empowering smallholder farmers and building more connected, resilient supply chains to indoor farming models, holistic nutrition and health strategies, the summit will identify the most important opportunities and challenges as the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A hybrid event combining both in-person elements in Singapore and a full virtual experience tailored to an international audience, the summit will facilitate high-value connections and foster long-lasting business relationships across Asia and around the world.

Proudly part of Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW).

About Rethink Events:** **

UK-based Rethink Events organises international, world-renowned business technology summits, bringing together the brightest and best minds among entrepreneurs, businesses and global investors in sustainable food, agriculture, materials and water.

Event Partners