Startups resolving complex problems with simple solutions in the agri-food technology industry
8 September 2022
As one of the few food technology startups in Singapore focusing on food waste valorisation, our Co-Founder Professor Huang DeJian (‘Prof Huang’), was invited to be a part of the panel discussion on “Food Sustainability: Transforming Waste to “Gold” to Feed More” at Food & Hotel Asia’s Food & Beverage Fair 2022. Alongside Prof Huang on the panel were entrepreneurs Kenny Eng from GardenAsia and Jonathan Ng of SinFooTech — both fellow startup founders in the agri-food sector.
During the panel session, the three traded critical industry insights and advice for businesses keen on expanding into the food valorisation space. It was also during this session that we discovered the interesting and diverse motivations driving each entrepreneur to achieve more through food valorisation in the agri-food technology industry — from supporting local farmers, to optimising food production, and expanding access to health from nature.
What is food valorisation?
Food valorisation essentially refers to the upcycling of spent food ingredients. It is a circular economy approach to handling food waste where used food ingredients are recycled and reprocessed into higher value food products.
Why valorise food?
Two words: Food Security.
As a country that lacks natural resources, food security has always been a persistent problem for Singapore. The bulk of our food is imported from other nations, which leaves us vulnerable to many external headwinds — just recall the impact that Malaysia’s chicken export ban had (or could have had) on us.
Food security is complex, but food is simple — Kenny Eng, GardenAsia
The issue of food security is a complex one but sometimes, complex issues call for simple solutions. As Kenny Eng from GardenAsia puts it, “Food security is complex, but food is simple.”
One simple solution to combat food insecurity in Singapore is to maximize the value of all food and food ingredients that enter our borders. And for those of us in the business of food valorisation, we, in the words of Jonathan from SinFooTech, create more food with the same amount of resources.
What forms do valorised food take?
Valorised food can take many different forms! Here are a few examples:
Why should I consume valorised food then?
Sometimes, there is the odd misconception that valorised food is not as good as food made from previously unprocessed ingredients. But that is highly inaccurate! If we take W0W® as an example, Spent Barley Grains actually contain higher protein, fibre, and amino acid content compared to regular barley grains.
So quite the opposite is true for certain valorised food products!
Furthermore, making a minor switch from regular food products to valorised food products allows us to support the Earth by reducing consumption of unspent grains and lowering food waste. After all, the more we get out of existing resources, the less we need to take from the Earth!
In the case of W0W®, on top of environmental benefits, there’s also health benefits as well. Consumers have seen sustained improvements to their weight, blood sugar, and overall health after consuming W0W® regularly over a period of time.