Singapore’s jackfruit-based meat startup in US


Karana has partnered with restaurants in San Francisco to offer products to Empress, a Cantonese restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon, and Wildseed, best known for its vegan pizza

 

Singapore-based plant-based food startup Karana is launching in the US market as it tries to spread its jackfruit-based menu offerings after kicking off in Asia last year.

As part of the first phase of its US launch, Karana has partnered with restaurants in San Francisco to offer products to Empress, a Cantonese restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon, and Wildseed, which is best known for its vegan pizza.

Karana makes minced plant-based meat and a range of dim-sum products that will first be launched for food service to chefs and restaurateurs in the Bay Area.

It intends to expand to restaurants in Greater Los Angeles area, with retail products available not long after. “We have been leading up to a US expansion for two years now,” co-founder Dan Riegler said.

Karana said jackfruit is an efficient crop with high yields and low water usage that grows across Asia and has been underutilised, with many parts of the plant going to waste.

“There were jackfruit products on the market, but we knew we could make them taste even better and bring out jackfruit’s potential for a strikingly meat-like texture,” co-founder Blair Crichton said.

The company works with smallholder farmers that ensure a transparent, fair and sustainable food supply chain as they continue to grow their global market share in the plant-based food arena.

Following the company’s closing of a pre-series A round, including follow-on investments from Big Idea Ventures and Henry Soesanto, amongst others, Karana has accelerated its research and development and hiring.

“While there are many plant-based products on the market today, few have achieved the use of biodiverse ingredients, high-quality flavour, and versatility, while also maintaining a shorter ingredient list as we’ve managed,” Riegler said.

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.