Singapore-based Esco Aster is planning to open an 80,000 sq.ft cultivated meat plant in Changi, Singapore which will be ready to produce up to 500 tonnes of ‘meat’ annually in 2025, making it the nation’s largest plant of its kind for this niche segment.
In 2021, Esco Aster had the world’s first licensed commercial facility with both ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 certifications in Ayer Rajah Crescent to produce cell-cultured meat for Eat Just. It is now working hard to get the Changi plant certified by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Presently, the company produces small batches of cultivated chicken cells using its 500-litre bioreactors at its small 80 sq. metre facility in Ayer Rajah to serve Good Meat (Eat Just) as well as its numerous clients like Meatable and Mosa Meat.
The new Changi plant will have a 50,000 litre capacity and will have Aleph Farms as one of its first clients, to jointly produce its thin-cut cultivated steak for Singapore, starting with 10 tonnes to 20 tonnes of cultivated beef a year from 2025. Aleph Farms has arguably been known to almost perfected textured and whole meat cuts such as steak for commercial sale.
Aleph Farms’ CEO Didier Toubia said, “We believe that bringing cultivated beef steaks to the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia is a good opportunity for driving more acceptance for these types of products.”
Esco Aster is planning to have its Changi facility Halal-certified. Aleph Farms is also aiming towards Halal certification after gaining the Kosher certification earlier this year.
In a related development, Aleph Farms has also acquired a manufacturing facility in Modi’in, Israel, and certain related assets from biotechnology company VBL Therapeutics as part of its plan to expand production of cultivated meat, while it gets ready to commercialise its products starting with Israel and Singapore. The partnership with Esco Aster is also part of its plan to boost production.
The expansion of the cultivated meat business is also in line with Singapore’s ’30 by 30’ goal to produce 30% of its food for domestic consumption, while making the country Aleph Farm’s springboard for future expansion into Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific region.