New $110 Million Research Facility WIL@NUS to Create Sustainable Plant-Based Meat Satay in Singapore

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A new Singapore Corporate Laboratory WIL@NUS intends to create sustainable, healthier alternatives to popular foods, such as satay.

The new research facility, worth S$110 million, intends to drive innovation in food tech and sustainable biochemicals and address major public health issues. One of the first products to come out of the laboratory could be vegan satay,  traditionally made with chicken or pork, the Straits Times reports.

The new laboratory, which was set up by the largest producer of oleochemicals in the world, Wilmar International Limited, along with the National Research Foundation, and the National University of Singapore, launched on June 19. “From the elderly to the millennial, people are demanding healthier and more nutritious food,” said CEO of Wilmar International, Kuok Khoon Hongsai, in a statement. “To stay ahead of the curve, we embrace open innovation.” 

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Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat made a speech at the launch ceremony of the new facility in the university’s main hall. “This partnership between NUS and Wilmar is testimony to the increasing public-private R&D collaborations between universities and industry in our innovation ecosystem,” he stated. “Which allow our universities to work closely with industry to develop commercially-applicable solutions for problems faced by the industry.” 

He continued, “I am looking forward to food products from the Corporate Lab that could enhance the health and well-being of our people, as well as greener and more sustainable production of biochemical compounds for our industry.”

Around the world, scientists and researchers are working to combat issues in the global food system, such as animal agriculture. Supermeat, an Israeli clean meat company, is just one example of these.

Supermeat, which grows clean cruelty-free meat in a lab, is hoping to work with the conventional meat industry and enter the mass market as soon as possible. “The fact that traditional meat players are backing clean meat startups is amazing and goes to show that clean meat is not something going against the meat industry but going hand in hand with it,” said co-founder Shir Friedman to Food Navigator. “[We are] offering a different way to produce the exact same product.” It’s first cultured meat, mincemeat, is currently in development.

Image Credit: Wicked Healthy