Business & Economy

Cricket and jackfruit dessert: Singapore jumps into sustainable food

By Paloma Almoguera

Singapore, May 5 (EFE).- Known both for its rich gastronomy and love for innovation, Singapore, an island with few resources other than humans, seeks to become the Asian center of food technology and promote their nutritional autonomy by giving their traditional cuisine a sustainable twist.

The supply problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the environmental crisis have been the definitive impetus for Singapore, which imports about 90 percent of its food, to set itself ambitious targets.

The island intends to produce 30 percent of their food by 2030, according to their “30 by 30” initiative.

To do this, it has taken several measures. Authorities announced in October that a food security program launched in 2019 will receive an additional $120 million, bringing the total to about $225 million.

Also, earlier this year the city-state appointed its first government official to oversee sustainability for the reduction of carbon emissions – with the goal of peaking by 2030 and reducing it to zero in 2050 – and food waste, among others.

From 2023, food technology professionals will be part of the list of 27 occupations highlighted by Singapore for a new employment permit. This seeks to outline the type of immigrant who works on the island, of about 5, 5 million inhabitants and the Asian headquarters of numerous multinationals.

The result is a sector on the rise with more and more participants at stake – it has close to 250 “start-ups” in this area – as was reflected Thursday and Friday at “Menu del Futuro,” an event that consultancy firm Synthesis started last year and has become a meeting point for the industry.

“We are reimagining flavors, iconic Asian products, giving consumers a great experience but in a healthy and sustainable format,” said Blair Crichton, one of the event’s participants and founder of Karana, a company focused on making jackfruit an essential ingredient for decades to come.

Among its products are crushed jackfruit in the form of a hamburger, meatball, “dim sum,” the famous snacks of Cantonese cuisine, and “jiazi,” a type of dumpling very typical in Chinese cuisine. The company, founded in Singapore in 2021, will launch this month in New York after multiplying its business on the island.

Jackfruit meat was one of the dishes featured in the three different menus of the future selected by Synthesis after an analysis of trends in the sector, which also included a dessert of cricket cupcakes, the idea of the island company Future Protein Solutions.

“Insects as food for humans tick many boxes. They are sustainable (their cultivation emits 80 percent less methane than livestock), rich in protein and have a lot of flavor. The times ahead are promising,” Founder Christopher Leow said at the event.

Singapore became the first country in the world to authorize the sale of cultured meat, three years later is faithful to its declaration of intent: at the beginning of the year its regulatory apparatus gave Eat Just the green light for human consumption of its Serum-free cultured chicken.

But while wealthy Singapore, despite its small size, one of the Asian countries with the most Michelin stars, pools funds and ideas to reconvert the gastronomic industry, the global trend is in the opposite direction: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Agriculture forecasts that meat consumption will grow by 70 percent by 2050. EFE


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