It first launched the cell-based fish maw prototype in 2019 and the cell-based fish fillet in 2020, and now hopes to manufacture them in a soon-to-be-installed pilot plant in Singapore by the end of the year. end of 2022.
Once it receives approval from Singapore’s regulator, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Avant will produce for foodservice first and target the retail sector later in 2025.
Because pilot production volumes may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the rapidly changing retail industry, its decision to launch in restaurants first allows the company to raise awareness of its products and co-develop menus and recipes with its foodservice partners.
Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO of Avant, said the pilot plant would produce premium fish maw, a culturally relevant food product in Asia, as well as fish fillet, which would cater to Western cuisine. .
The plan in Singapore is to build a small-scale 5-litre bioreactor first, growing to 100-200 liters by the end of this year, and possibly 1,000-2,000 liters over the next two years.
Chan said FoodNavigator-AsiaThe plan is to move downstream processes to Singapore. Hong Kong will continue to host its cell lines, culture medium and scaffold, and will also conduct the early stages of product development.
Founded in 2018, Avant has developed an end-to-end technology platform including the development of cell lines, culture media, scaffolds and bioprocesses to produce fish proteins directly from fish cells.
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In Singapore, Avant is currently setting up an R&D laboratory and a pilot manufacturing plant with the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
Singapore was an ideal location for Avant, for its ecosystem, talent and regulatory landscape, Chan said.
She spoke of the growth of the food technology industry and government support for new concepts and research in this area, including cell-based meat.
Singapore has a national “30 by 30” food security policy which aims to produce 30% of the country’s nutritional requirements locally by 2030.
Singapore is also the first and only country in the world to allow the sale of cultured meat, specifically Eat Just’s cultured chicken last December.
“These are the main drivers of our decision to locate in Singapore, where there is a strong industry presence, infrastructure and talent pool with relevant bioprocess experiences.said Chan.
Chan said approval to sell in foodservice is a first step, but whether a different approval is required for retail products remains unknown.
“In general, retail products may require more requirements for manufacturing environment, processing environment, packaging and others. It will be fairly standardized as for other retail consumer products on the market. “
Avant hopes that securing Singapore’s approval will launch its sales mission to markets in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China.
Fish maw is a popular delicacy in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines, so places like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are also in Avant’s sights.
Singapore’s approval would most likely allow the company to sell in Singapore and Southeast Asia, although that may not be the case for Hong Kong and China, which have their own set of guidelines and of regulations.
Currently, Avant’s cell-based fish maw is made from the tissue of croaking fish.
Chan said the team is working to expand the product line to include different product types and fish species, including grouper and red snapper.
Asia-Pacific dominates global fish and seafood markets with US$60.5 billion in 2018 and Asia is expected to account for 71% of additional fish consumed by 2028.
In addition to producing protein for food, Avant explores skincare and functional applications.
It has also developed a multifunctional protein powder which it hopes to market for cosmetic purposes as early as 2022.
The branded ingredient Zellulin is intended for skincare and personal care applications in anti-aging and even wound healing. The powder is obtained from the same cell line as its food prototypes.
In December 2020, Avant announced a US$3.1 million seed funding round involving China Venture Capital, AngelHub, ParticleX, Lever VC, CPT Capital, Loyal VC, Artesian, 208 Seed Ventures, and PTG Food.