Inaugural event unites Southeast Asia’s innovative companies, startups, policy leaders, and investors to showcase cutting-edge solutions for healthy, sustainable food systems.

Key highlights:

  • Nestle, Tyson Foods, Starbucks and a diverse array of local and regional startups take part in a marketplace at Publika Kuala Lumpur showcasing their exciting, delicious, and innovative foods that are helping to build a more inclusive and sustainable food system in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia;
  • Expara Southeast Asia Ventures announces seed-stage venture capital fund targeting next-gen technology start-ups in Southeast Asia region and collaborates with the Thought For Food (TFF) Southeast Asia Regional Hub to mobilize local startups, entrepreneurs and experts to develop the breakthrough technologies and impactful business ventures that will make the Southeast Asia’s agri-food-tech industry a vibrant, digitalised, and profitable sector;
  • TFF signs Memorandum of Understanding with 11 leading Malaysian organizations and higher learning institutions as well as Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).

January 6, 2022 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The inaugural Future FoodTech Festival kicks off today, organized by the Thought For Food Foundation (TFF) Southeast Asia Regional Hub.

The six-day event takes place from 6 – 11 January 2022 and features a series of online sessions as well as an interactive in-person marketplace on 8-9 January at the Publika shopping center in the famous foodie city of Kuala Lumpur.

The highly-anticipated Future FoodTech Festival introduces innovative food products that are nutritious, delicious, and sustainable – helping to solve pressing climate and environmental challenges across the region. With a focus on next-gen solutions that incorporate regenerative and circular economy approaches, the event combines important conversations about changing industry trends with experiences to taste the latest alternative proteins/plant-based foods available in Malaysia.

Showcasing Future Food Innovation for a Healthier, Sustainable Planet

Leading food-tech and agri-tech players such as Nestle, Starbucks, and Tyson Foods, as well as a diverse array of local and regional startups are using the event unveil their latest products and solutions to an audience of enthusiastic consumers and stakeholders, opening the floodgates for local and regional food-tech partnerships to form and succeed.

Tun Dr Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia’s former Minister of Finance and Honorary Board Member to the Thought For Food Southeast Asia Regional Hub states,

“I am proud to see Malaysia organizing this event to support the growth of this vitally-important sector for our economy and future. While we often are painted a bleak picture of the future, the products here show that it is possible to have solutions that are a win for consumers, farmers, and the planet. It reminds us to stay excited about all that is to come.”

Professor and Thought For Food SE Asia’s Board Member Tan Sri Professor Dr. Syed Jalaludin Syed Salim states,

“This is a first-of-its kind event here in Malaysia – a celebration of our country’s renowned culture of delicious, diverse foods, and of our region’s rising leadership in disruptive technological innovation. We need to come together to nurture the soils for a new collaborative environment that is focused on increasing investments, creating policy incentives, building capacities, and developing smart partnerships that will develop and scale the solutions we need to meet our pressing local challenges and achieve global impact.”

New Southeast Asia-focused Venture Capital Fund Announced

Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of the global Thought For Food Foundation and Managing Partner of Expara Southeast Asia Ventures, is using the event as an occasion to announce a new seed-stage fund that is investing in next-gen technology start-ups across Southeast Asia. Expara Southeast Asia Ventures is the 6th fund of Singapore-based Expara, the region’s pioneer in early-stage venture capital and acceleration, and will focus on sustainability-focused frontier technologies like agri-food tech, web3 / blockchain, fintech, biotech, and med-tech.

“It is clear that Southeast Asia is fast-becoming a hub for agri-food-tech innovation, and that this region is leapfrogging ahead of more established markets. That is why the Thought For Food Foundation built our first official TFF Regional Hub here in Malaysia. Now, I am excited to build on TFF’s strong track record and presence here, and am working with Expara to invest in technology startups in Malaysia and across the Southeast Asia region,” states Christine.

MoU between TFF, MaGIC and Other Impactful Organizations and Institutions

The event is also where the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Thought For Food Foundation and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is taking place. MaGIC facilitates, navigates and enables the ecosystem with the mission of strengthening Malaysia’s position as an emerging innovation nation. In the MOU, the parties agree to explore potential avenues of collaboration between MaGIC’s and TFF’s entrepreneurial innovation programs and partners for the promotion of agriculture, water and agri-food-tech startups in Malaysia. Some of the aspects of the partnership include collaborating to identify and share market access and funding opportunities; serving as advisors to startups and opening each others networks to provide relevant subject matter experts; leveraging the TFF Digital Labs™ learning and collaboration platform to elevate digital mentorship offers; and advocating for policy change, especially in the areas of land use, youth unemployment and system transition towards sustainable food systems.

“This is the first of what we hope will be many Future FoodTech Festivals, and what’s on the menu is a rich feast of exciting ideas, solutions and startups who are serving up real change to our planet’s most important challenges. We didn’t want to have another event that is just focused on high level messages and no real action, so we have purposefully designed our program to focus on showing off the solutions that are being designed and deployed by innovative, visionary companies – large and small. We are here to create connections between people and ideas so that new opportunities can emerge,” states Thought For Food’s CEO of Southeast Asia, Melissa Ong.

Get to know more about Future FoodTech Festival