Young and creative minds to receive huge cash prizes in the ProVeg Asia contest
The winners of an Asia-wide competition to devise innovative, plant-based food products are set to take home more than $10,000 in prize money, with the top prize going to a team from China who proposed a plant-based pork floss.
Teams from China, Korea, India, Indonesia and Thailand beat off competition from students across Asia to be crowned the winners of the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge APAC 2022.
“This is the third year we have run the ProVeg Food Innovation Challenge and I am pleased to see that the competition is growing in scale and influence,” Shirley Lu, Managing Director of ProVeg Asia, said.
“I’m proud of the quality and creativity of students’ work. Young innovators from Asia are transforming the food systems across the region and we look forward to even more participation from the APAC region next year,” Lu added.
First place was secured by a team from China who came up with the idea of a “Plant-based Pork Floss” for infants over seven months old made from plant-based meat with the fortification of vitamin D and vitamin A from carrot powder for an extra nutritional punch. The students came from Shanghai Ocean University and Hainan University.
Second prize winners came from Thailand and Indonesia, with the Thai team developing a “DeCrab Jumbo Lump Crab Meat”, a plant-based crab meat with the taste and texture of the real crab. The product also improves gut function and helps to reduce overfishing. The Thai team came from Kasetsart University.
The Indonesian team developed “PepShot” for workaholics to boost their productivity. Pepshot provides a 60-ml healthy and nutritious shot made with all-natural plant-based ingredients and can be sold in 100% recycled packs. Students are from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Katolik and Indonesia Atmajaya.
Third-prize winners came from Korea, Thailand and India. The Korean team’s “Beyond Expectation” product idea is a brand-new range of K-bakery products for the biggest chain bakery in South Korea, with the taste and texture of the meat substitute, Beyond Pork, and a mixed variety of vegetables. The range includes three different variants, backed by a heartfelt campaign to protect nature. The Korean students are from Sung Kyun Kwan University and Yonsei University.
The “Hi Burger” from Thailand was created by a team from Panyapiwat Institute of Management and is a satay-flavoured plant-based burger, innovatively adding herbs to the tropical jackfruit, which is rich in proteins and fibres, making it a delicious and extravagant experience while also being good for you.
India is a big country for peanuts, and the locals have always loved to eat chicken. Based on the peanut-based chicken launched by HaoFood in India, the team from India came up with “Hao India” innovated in product categories, including an assortment of plant-based kebabs and Calcuttan chickenless cutlets. The students come from NIFTEM-Kundli, IIHM-Kolkata, St. Xaviers College-Kolkata and NMCCE Mumbai.
Accelerating plant-based market growth
A total of 179 innovative food ideas were submitted to the judges by students from 163 universities in the competition, designed to accelerate the growth of the plant-based food market. This year’s challenge was the first to expand across all Asia Pacific regions, focusing on South-East Asia in 2021 and Mainland China in 2020.
Major food companies PepsiCo, Unilever, Omnifoods, Beyond Meat, Oatly and CPF partnered with ProVeg for the challenge, which drew in more than 500 students. The students were challenged to come up with foods that had market potential, were unique and creative, economically feasible and had a go-to-market strategy.
A total of 20 finalists were awarded prizes, with the first prize winner receiving $3,000, the two 2nd prize winners receiving $1,500, three third prize winners receiving $1,000 each and 14 other teams receiving $200 each, coming to a grand total of $11,800.
David Yeung, co-founder and CEO of OmniFoods, said his company was delighted to have partnered in this year’s challenge. “Our team has been impressed by the creativity and passion of the younger generations who are committed to driving positive changes and accelerating sustainability through food innovation,” Yeung said.
Aims of the competition
The competition aims to raise awareness of the benefits of plant-based eating, accelerate the introduction of plant-based foods, and nurture young people’s innovation skills.
Research published in Nature Food journal finds that global gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has called for a shift to plant-based diets to tackle the climate crisis.
Throughout the challenge, students gain valuable insight into an exciting and fast-growing industry while channelling their creativity and skills towards solving some of the biggest problems facing the world today.
Five teams from among the early submitters were selected to present their ideas at COP27’s Food4Climate Pavilion in Sharm El Sheikh. A series of webinars on the impact of our choice of food and the potential and development of sustainable food innovation were conducted by ProVeg with senior executives from the leading food companies and research agencies. Participating companies also provided coaching to 20 teams that made the final to build complete business cases.
Teams from the following countries took part: China, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Netherlands and Russia.
About Food Innovation Challenge
ProVeg launched the very first Food Innovation Challenge in China in 2020 and expanded the 2021 Challenge to include South-East Asia. The 2021 Challenge won the ‘Best use of digital by a charity, NGO or NFP’ Award at the Digital Impact Awards. The 2022 edition of the competition has been expanded to the entire Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited with UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.