Transforming the Asian Food System to Face Our Food and Climate Crises, Invest News & Top Stories


If you want more of what you love to eat, now is the time to think and treat the planet better.

Experts add that those who can help more effectively, such as businesses and investors, can do more to advance sustainability and resilience along the supply chain.


In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its most severe warning yet: As adverse weather conditions take their toll from rising temperatures and emissions of carbon, the world’s already stretched natural resources will be further strained.

Indirect climatic stressors, including population and income growth, as well as demand for animal products, also continue to weigh on the environment.

“The observed climate change is already affecting food security due to rising temperatures, changing precipitation and the increased frequency of some extreme (weather) events… Food security will be increasingly affected by future changes. climate forecast, ”said the IPCC.

The climate crisis demands immediate attention, not only to secure the future of our planet, but also the resilience of food supply systems.

The Paris Agreement – a legally binding international treaty on climate change – states that the goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C, compared to pre-industrial levels. However, it is clear that this can only be achieved if concerted efforts are made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all industries.

About 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to food production. The IPCC has warned that without intervention, these are expected to increase by around 30-40% by 2050.

IPCC data also shows that Asia – especially countries like India, China and Indonesia – accounts for around 50% of global cropland emissions.

Despite this looming crisis, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year around the world. That’s about a third of the food produced for consumption.

The fix

It is essential that the agrifood sector transforms rapidly by strengthening climate resilience and sustainable food production, and in turn contributes to global efforts to achieve the goals of net zero by 2050. Net zero refers to the state in which the total amount of man-emissions produced equal the amount removed.

“Agriculture and the food system are central to global responses to climate change,” said the IPCC. He noted that a combination of actions on the supply side (such as efficient food production and transport) and and waste) will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the resilience of the food system.

There is hope. Major innovations are already taking place thanks to agro-tech companies like Apeel Sciences. The US-based start-up develops edible coating products that can extend the shelf life of fresh produce.

Using materials that exist in the peels, seeds and pulp of all fruits and vegetables, Apeel Sciences creates a natural protective layer that seals in moisture and keeps oxygen out. The result is products that stay fresh twice as long, meaning less food is wasted throughout the food supply chain.

Another innovator is Israel-based Rivulis, a company providing water-saving technology solutions to farmers around the world. Faced with the growing uncertainty of climate change and increasing pressure on scarce water resources, Rivulis helps farmers achieve higher yields, quality and profitability through smart micro-irrigation and irrigation solutions drip.

Temasek, which invests globally in trend-aligned opportunities, is an investor in both Apeel Sciences and Rivulis.

Over the past decade, it has invested more than US $ 8 billion (S $ 10 billion) in the global farm-to-fork value chain. Indeed, a portion of Temasek’s total investments has been invested in highly innovative and technology-driven startups and companies, especially those that drive resilience and greater efficiency in supply chains.

The future

In addition to food production and supply chains, there is also an urgent need to transform the agrifood sector to advance sustainability and resilience across the global food system.

According to the 2021 edition of the Asia Food Challenge report, jointly published by PwC, Rabobank and Temasek, Asian consumers have shifted their priorities when it comes to food.

Instead of spending their growing disposable income solely on tastier foods, their behaviors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with a tendency to seek value through more healthy, sustainable and convenient food options. Consumers are also increasingly aware of waste.

Changing preferences of Asian consumers will account for US $ 2.4 trillion (S $ 3.2 trillion) in additional food spending over the next decade, according to the Asia Food Challenge report. This opens up new opportunities for entrepreneurs, companies and investors in the agri-food sector.

Already, the report found that companies that focused on health products achieved average review premiums of 12% between 2015 and 2020, compared to non-adopters.

To ride the wave of changing consumer habits and demand in Asia, companies such as plant-based protein maker Impossible Foods and Eat Just, which develops plant-based and cellular alternatives to conventional animal protein, have established a presence in Singapore to stimulate Asia -Pacific growth plans.

Temasek, which aims to generate positive social and environmental impact as well as financial returns, invests in both companies.

Temasek and partners also launched the first Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW) last month, to inspire renewed interest in innovative solutions that can strengthen food security and supply chains.

The SIAW is a series of events that brings together global stakeholders in the food industry to share best practices, showcase the latest technologies and deliver innovative solutions for sustainable food production in Asia.

According to Mr. Yeoh Keat Chuan, Deputy Director of Temasek, Enterprise Development Group: “Climate change, environmental degradation and increasing urbanization all pose challenges for Asia’s food and agriculture industry.” .

He added that Asia will need around US $ 1.55 trillion (S $ 2.12 trillion) of investment over the next decade to meet growing consumer demands for healthier food options. and more durable.

“We need to evolve our current capacities to strengthen food security and strengthen supply chains. Beyond investing, the sector requires regulators, businesses and the entire industry to work closely together to develop innovative solutions, ”said Yeoh.

“Temasek’s involvement in SIAW is our way of playing a role in transformation and bringing together important stakeholders to share their perspectives. “

The investment firm helps address global challenges in the agribusiness space by being a provider of catalytic capital – different forms of capital that can provide innovative solutions to today’s problems.

It promotes the growth of the entire food ecosystem by providing:

  • Financial capital to stimulate innovation and growth;
  • Human capital to build capacity and improve potential within the global food system;
  • Natural capital to find sustainable agro-food solutions; and
  • Social capital to inspire and transform lives.

Through its use of catalytic capital, Temasek aims to produce positive social and environmental impact in addition to financial returns, thereby helping global efforts to achieve net zero goals by 2050.

All of these come together for a better planet, healthier people and more sustainable prosperity.

A platform for start-ups to develop

Temasek recently created the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform to help increase the production of alternative proteins and accelerate the commercialization of sustainable foods in Asia.

The platform will provide tailor-made solutions, as an enabler, operator and investor, to food technology companies throughout their lifecycle, from product development to commercialization.

Food tech start-ups moving to commercial scale manufacturing often face challenges because these facilities can be very capital intensive, Temasek explains. The platform is exploring two joint ventures with global experts in the plant and microbial protein industry to help address these challenges.

Its partnership with CREMER, a German food multinational, will increase the platform’s manufacturing capacities for products based on plant proteins. The partnership is anchored on High Humidity Extrusion (HME), a technology to produce textured proteins that look more like real meat.

The platform also has an agreement with the food company ADM for a joint venture. It will enable the development of contracts and manufacturing services for microbial proteins produced by precision fermentation.

This is the second in a four part series brought to you by Temasek.


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