2019 was a huge year for the alternative protein industry: Beyond Meat had a successful IPO, Impossible Foods raised $300 million in funding, and Burger King rolled out the Impossible Whopper across the U.S. These clear market signals had a ripple effect. By early 2020, Starbucks, KFC, and Papa John’s all launched plant-based meat products in China.

I’m not going to lie. As an organisation that has acceleration of the alternative protein sector as its laser focus target, of course we’re excited. A lot of us at GFI have been working for years, if not decades, to see this day coming to fruition. However, it’s too early to pop the champagne bottle as a lot of work remains to be done to ensure that alternative protein reaches its full potential of being one of the most promising solutions to more than one of the world’s most pressing problems. We can’t afford to have this excitement turn into a fad.

So our team looked into what we should prioritise, if our goal is to support the sustainable growth of the alternative protein sector in Asia. There are three gaps we identified:

  1. Lack of awareness in who’s who in the industry, especially the makers instead of the sellers.
  2. Lack of homegrown players in the industry.
  3. Lack of understanding in the Asia industry and where the white spaces are.

For alternative protein to truly become a protein solution for Asia, the industry needs to move beyond importing technologies and brands from Silicon Valley. We have seen local innovators and companies starting to emerge in the past year with huge potential to lead the future growth of this sector. That’s why we created the inaugural Asia Alt 100, listing Asia’s top 100 protein disruptors of the year, with plans to update this list annually.

Methodology (or, answering the FAQ)

Let us begin by saying, it’s more an art than a science.

At GFI APAC we’re in a unique position to have our finger to the pulse of the industry. Day in day out we’re consulted by startups (in many cases even before they formed their founding team), corporates, investors, scientists, and policymakers, free of charge. We’re fortunate to be privy to and trusted with invaluable information. The Asia Alt 100 are players that have demonstrated that they are seriously committed to, and invested into, growing the alternative protein industry.

In more details, this is how we’ve scoped this study:

RegionsIncluded: Major markets in Asia e.g. Singapore, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea.


Excluded: India

BusinessesIncluded: Raw materials and ingredients, food production, research and development, and corporate partners. In line with our goal to increase transparency and awareness of the makers in the supply chain.


Excluded: Retailers and food service providers.

Local PresenceIncluded: Companies incorporated in Asia, and companies incorporated outside of Asia but have built a local presence or otherwise invested significantly in Asia.


Excluded: Companies incorporated outside of Asia and without a local presence or significant investment in Asia, notwithstanding that their products may be available in Asia via distributors.

Within the 2020 Asia Alt 100, 57% are corporates, 29% are startups, and 14% are academic institutions.

Mapping the Industry

This year, we present the 2020 Asia Alt 100 alongside 35 investors on this Industry Map to showcase not only the who’s who of this sector but how they work together. On the Asia Alternative Protein Industry Map, we have deconstructed the industry value chain into 5 key building blocks – raw materials, production, end products, research and development, and investment.

In Asia, the alternative protein sector is still in its infancy but catching up rapidly. This is our projection on how Asia Alt 100 may look like in the next year:

We will feature these Asia protein disruptors in our blog in the upcoming months, stay tuned!

3Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
4Avant Meats
6Awano Food Group
7Axiom Foods
9Beijing Technology & Business University
10Betagro Group
11Beyond Meat
15Cellivate Technologies
16Charoen Pokphand Foods
18Danisco (China) Investment
20Duoning Biotech
22Fuji Oil
24Glico Nutrition
25Growthwell Group
26Hey Maet
27Hongchang Biotech (Suzhou)
28Impossible Foods
31Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
32Jiangnan University
34Jinzi Ham
36Kagoshima University
41Let’s Plant Meat
42Life 3 Biotech
43Loma Linda
44Marvelous Foods
45Mitsui Co
46Monde Nissin
47Nanjing Agricultural University
48Nanjing Zhouzi Future Food
49Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
50National University of Singapore (NUS)
52NH Foods
53Ningbo Sulian Food
54Nishimoto Co.
55Nissin Foods
56Omni Foods
57Otsuka Food
59PFI Foods
60Phuture Foods
61Phyto Corporation
66Shanxi Nutranovo
67Shinshu University
68Shiok Meats
69Shuangta Food
71Sophie’s BioNutrients
72South China University of Technology
73SPC Samlip
75Sumitomo Corporation
79The Chinese University of Hong Kong
80The PlantEat
81Tianjin Norland
82Tokyo Medical and Dental University
83Tokyo Women’s Medical University
84Toriyama Chikusan Shokuhin
85Triton Algae Innovation
87Turtletree Labs
89University of Tokyo
92Vegetari Healthy Bites
94Whole Perfect Food / Qishan
95Wilmar International
96Worth The Health Foods
98Zero Meat
99Zhen Meat