Cell-based meat is about to get another big shot in the arm.
Yesterday the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore announced the RIE2020 plan, which will allocate S$724 million ($535 million) to boost the city-state’s economy and to bolster R&D efforts in cell therapy manufacturing, digital technology (like AI and robotics), and sustainable urban food production.
Up to S$144 million (~$106 million) of the funds in RIE2020 will be allocated to the new Singapore Food Story R&D program, which will focus on urban agriculture, cultured meat, and microbial protein production. This isn’t super surprising, since we recently made the prediction that cell-based meat will debut in Asia first, thanks to more flexible government regulation and high consumer interest.
In fact, there’s already at least one cultured meat company (that we know of) operating out of Singapore. Shiok Meats is developing cell-based crustaceans and just became the first clean meat company to be accepted into the Y Combinator accelerator program. Hopefully this influx of funds from the government will help cell-based meat companies scale up and become more affordable more quickly.
Singapore recently announced a goal to produce 30 percent of its own food by 2030. Growing meat in labs is a good place to start. Scientists are apparently also working on breeding fast-growing, disease-resistant tilapia that can survive in Singapore’s brackish water, and figuring out ways to use microbes to grow protein.
There were far fewer details on what type of robotics and automation Singapore will be using its new funds to develop, but hopefully some of it will be related to the food industry. Maybe food delivery robots? Articulating arms to cook burgers or make lattes? Self-driving food running bots? There’s a lot of potential.
If you’re curious about the future of food robotics, join us for ArticulATE on April 16th! We’ll have executives from Google Brain, Sony, CafeX, Albertson’s, and lots more discussing how automation will shape the way we discover, cook, and consume food. It’ll be a really fun and engaging summit — tickets are on sale here.