SINGAPORE – Followers of the alternative protein sector know that up until now, a wide range of terms has been used to describe food products grown directly from animal cells (e.g. cultured meat, lab-grown seafood, cell-based protein). But now, a regional consensus has finally been reached.
During a Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW) panel focused on “getting the consumer on board,” the Good Food Institute APAC and APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture joined more than 30 other key industry stakeholders to announce a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding (MOU), aligning the region on the term “cultivated” as the preferred English-language descriptor for food products grown directly from animal cells.
Signatories of this historic agreement include nearly every cultivated food startup in Asia Pacific –including those dedicated to meat, seafood, dairy, and even animal fat – as well as regional coalition groups such as China’s Cellular Agriculture Alliance, Cellular Agriculture Australia, the Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture, and Korean Society for Cellular Agriculture. Other big names include the Future Ready Food Safety Hub (FRESH) — an entity jointly launched by the Singapore Food Agency, A*STAR, and Nanyang Technological University – and major multinational companies Cargill and Thai Union.
“Nomenclature and regulatory harmonisation are vital for the long-term success of the cultivated foods industry and this MOU establishes a regional precedent that can be replicated in other markets around the globe.” APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture President Dr. Sandhya Sriram and Program Manager Peter Yu “The location of this historic announcement was no coincidence. In recent years, Singapore has invested the necessary resources to make the city-state a welcoming ecosystem for food innovation and multilateral collaboration. This MOU is the latest proof that the Lion City is trading its traditional reliance on food imports for a new role as the place where the alternative protein sector’s biggest decisions are forged, announced, and exported to the world.” Good Food Institute APAC Managing Director Mirte Gosker
As the world’s first cultivated meat consumer market, Singapore has also played key roles as a test bed for novel foods and a proactive player in accelerating the category on the global stage. The Republic has actively shared its novel food experiences as part of multinational initiatives driven by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and Codex Alimentarius Commission—a joint body of the FAO and World Health Organisation (WHO) dedicated to developing global food standards.