Winning teams in the ProVeg contest have been awarded a total of $13,400 in prize money
A team of students from Singapore who devised a plant-based shrimp product that seeks to address impending seafood shortages brought about by overfishing has won the top prize of $3,000 in a competition run by global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International.
The annual APAC Food Innovation Challenge 2023 engages students from across Asia to help grow the region’s market in climate-friendly food and nutrition.
The entry from students at the National University of Singapore for a plant-based shrimp product called “Keepin’ it Shrimple” impressed the judges to win the top prize because it offers an allergen free option that is still not offered on the existing $1.2 billion global plant-based shrimp market. The product, developed for The Vegetarian Butcher, also seeks to address the fact that most of the world’s fisheries are at, or beyond, their limits 1 and the prospect of a seafood shortage is looming.
Two second prizes, of $1,500 each, went to students from China’s Jinan University for their “Light Chewing Plant Based Meat” and students from South China University of Technology for a sustainable, plant-based caviar.
The team who developed the Light Chewing Plant Based Meat worked with Beyond Meat to produce an innovative food that responds to the changing demographics in several Asian countries where there is a growing need to provide the older generation with tasty but nutritious sustainable alternatives. The team demonstrated how their product could be adapted for infants as well.
Four student teams came in third place and won $1,000 each. They were:
- Universiti Teknologi Brunei for a Protein Packed Power Bowl, developed for CPF’s 7/11 stores in Thailand.
- A joint Swedish and Vietnamese team from Lund University and Hanoi University of Science and Technology for a Sushi Dog, developed for Thai Union.
- A team from Seoul National University in South Korea and Hanyang University, also in South Korea, for a dumpling made for Beyond Meat.
- A team from Shanghai Ocean University in China for a plant-based salad dressing, developed for Zuming.
A further 17 finalist teams took home $200 each in prize money.
The competition, which is in its fourth year, saw participation from a total of 384 teams made up of 1,093 students, from 23 countries and 260 colleges.
A total of 25 teams, from China, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, were picked to present their entries online at the UN climate summit, COP28, in Dubai in December. Five finalist teams presented their food innovation ideas at the ProVeg Food4Climate Pavilion at COP28 on 11 December. Awards were handed out on 3 January.
“We were really delighted with the winning entries, which we hope will inspire both students and companies alike to keep bringing innovative, climate-friendly products onto the market,” Shirley Lu, Managing Director of ProVeg Asia, said.
“It is so important to invigorate the plant-based market with new products because a plant-based diet offers a multi-problem solution to several key global problems, including climate change, food security, animal welfare, and health and pandemics,” Lu said.
Food giants Nestle and Unilever, along with Asian startups Green Rebel (Indonesia), Haofood (China) and Unlimeat (South Korea) all supported the contest, as well as China’s first soybean company listed on the stock market, Zuming Bean Products Company, and Shuangta, one of the world’s largest plant-based protein manufacturers.
The topics students worked on included plant-based meat, poultry, seafood, and egg from convenience food to snack food.
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 peoples’ innovation skills.
Research published in Nature Food journal finds that global gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods and the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for a shift to plant-based diets to tackle the climate crisis.
Throughout the challenge, students gained 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.
Notes for Editors
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About ProVeg International
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet.