Creating pork from jackfruit: How this whole-plant start-up is taking on Asia’s multibillion-dollar meat industry

Shuffle for meals for replacement meat is rising across the globe.

As the nutritional and environmental impacts of meat consumption change into better known, producers and patrons must assorted sources to contend with the persisted inquire of for protein.

One among them is Dan Riegler, whose compile evolving relationship with meat inspired him to co-realized Karana.

“I became once very extraordinary a vegan skeptic, a meat-eater for heaps of my existence, and I’ve taken a chief flip,” Riegler suggested CNBC Fabricate It.

A meat replacement for Asia

Karana is the Singapore meals delivery-up positioning itself as Asia’s first entire-plant-based utterly meat tag. Its flagship product — a pulled pork exchange — is made entirely from jackfruit, oil and salt, without processed substances or preservatives.

Started in 2018 as inquire of for meat that that you can take into consideration alternate ideas became once rising, Riegler talked about he saw a gap in the marketplace for meat substitutes designed particularly for Asian cuisines.

We saw a huge must title merchandise that had more native functions for APAC.

Dan Riegler

co-founder, Karana

“We saw a huge must title merchandise that had more native functions for APAC,” talked about Riegler, now 35, who constructed a profession working in agricultural provide chains across Southeast Asia.

“Pork is the principle meat that is consumed in this space and that’s the reason where we didn’t glimpse a range of merchandise genuinely addressing a necessity.”

Asia is to blame for producing and inspiring half of the arena’s pork.


Indeed, half of the arena’s pork is produced and consumed in Asia, with most of that inquire of coming from China.

So Riegler and his co-founder Blair Crichton, formerly of Very no longer going Foods which also produces plant-based utterly meat that that you can take into consideration alternate ideas, residing to work finding an environmentally-good replacement.

Rising pork from jack all

It wasn’t long sooner than the pair identified Karana’s first product: a pork exchange made of jackfruit sourced from smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka.

Jackfruit has a long history in South and Southeast Asian cuisines, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Known for its densely packed, fibrous texture and meat-fancy qualities, the unripe younger jackfruit is in most cases ragged in savory foods, whereas the candy ripe jackfruit is eaten raw.  

Jackfruit is in most cases ragged in so a lot of South and Southeast Asian dishes.


“Jackfruit, as a slit, does no longer want irrigation, does no longer want pesticides, does no longer want herbicides. So or no longer it’s a extraordinarily hardy tree, and when it yields fruit, or no longer it’s very, very prolific,” talked about Carsten Carstens, Karana’s chief scientific officer and first hire.

If truth be told, jackfruit is so plentiful in the gap that heaps of it shuffle to crash each and each year. That’s due in fragment to the complexity of making ready and cooking it.

We knew that jackfruit became once no longer residing as a lot as its capacity.

Dan Riegler

co-founder, Karana

“The codecs that it became once on hand in … had been beautiful no longer thrilling to us. They had been very advanced to work with, they weren’t yielding interesting textures and discontinue outcomes, and we knew that jackfruit became once no longer residing as a lot as its capacity,” Riegler talked about.

So, the founders residing to work adapting the fruit for a mass-market — soon devising a chemical-free, mechanical direction of at their manufacturing hub in Singapore to rework the fruit into a shredded, meat-fancy product that is simple for cooks and patrons to employ.  

“Our scheme became once genuinely to own something that cooks can take and own unbelievable dishes with,” talked about Carstens. “For the contemporary kitchen in a up-to-the-minute (meals and beverage) operation, it’s miles gorgeous too labor-intense.”

Tapping a rising market

Karana’s invention comes as an bustle for meals for more ethical and sustainable meals grows across Asia and beyond.

Even sooner than the pandemic, the replacement meat market became once estimated to hit $140 billion — or 10% of the realm meat industry — inner a decade.

The replacement meat industry is estimated to be rate $140 billion by 2029.


Mirte Gosker, acting managing director at The Upright Food Institute Asia Pacific, talked about that inquire of for meat substitutes is rising in Asia as awareness of meals safety and nutrition grows. 

“Right here in Asia, we glimpse a real inquire of for wholesome merchandise with high nutritious put,” talked about Gosker. “And particularly in China, one of many causes for oldsters to steal plant-based utterly meat, if truth be told the ideally effective reason, is the capture to drop some weight.”

Animal agriculture is the discontinue two or three contributors to perhaps the most pressing environmental challenges on our planet upright now.

Mirte Gosker

acting managing director, The Upright Food Institute Asia Pacific

Furthermore, she talked about, the environmental outcomes of veteran animal agriculture are turning into unsustainable.

“Animal agriculture is the discontinue two or three contributors to perhaps the most pressing environmental challenges on our planet upright now. That involves air pollution, water pollution, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity,” talked about Gosker.

“If we would no longer employ those fields to develop feed for animals, we would possibly maybe very wisely employ those fields to reforest, to own greater biodiversity, or employ, as an illustration, for renewable energy,” she added.

Attracting investor bustle for meals

The investment community is seeing the advantages of replacement proteins too. In accordance with The Upright Food Institute Asia Pacific, world investments into replacement proteins rose 300% in 2020 alone.

In July 2020, Karana raised $1.7 million in seed funding from investors at the side of Immense Idea Ventures, a fund devoted to plant-based utterly foods backed by Singapore’s sigh investment firm Temasek, and U.S. meat firm Tyson Foods.

Karana’s flagship product is a pulled pork exchange made entirely from jackfruit, oil and salt.


The investment fueled the firm’s 2021 debut in Singapore, where its entire-plant pork is now on hand at 9 restaurants and counting — in dishes from dumplings to “ngoh hiang,” a local pork roll.

Subsequent up will seemingly be its rollout in Hong Kong, as wisely because the originate of a line of ready-to-cook retail merchandise. Period in-between, investment in a brand novel innovation lab will allow Karana to experiment extra with jackfruit and diverse entire-plant meat substitutes. 

The more moral merchandise which would possibly maybe very wisely be accessible, the more patrons will increasingly more swap to plant-based utterly.

Dan Riegler

co-founder, Karana