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South Korean food-tech company Simple Planet has been selected for a KRW 11 billion (approx. $8.16 million) grant from the country’s government.

The funding initiative is led by the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (IPET), Korea Agriculture Technology Promotion Agency (KOAT) and Korea Institute of Marine Science and Technology Promotion (KIMST).

The investment will be used in a project that aims to develop the food-tech sector in South Korea to bolster sustainable and stable food production in the future.

Simple Planet, which makes ingredients for cell-based meat such as powders and fats, will use the capital to further expand its R&D and commercialisation processes. This is the second investment this year for Simple Planet – which in February, raised $6 million in a pre-Series A funding round to speed up R&D of its cultured meat powder.

It is reported that Simple Planet is applying for regulatory approval from South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, aiming for approval in the first half of 2025.

The start-up hopes for consumers to taste prototypes from Q3 2025, with target markets stretching to North America and Southeast Asia, as well as South Korea.

The KOAT initiative will focus on creating cell-based foods to replace animal-derived ingredients, and will last three years. Under the IPET initiative, the company will work to establish pluripotent stem cell lines and differentiation and developing mass culture technology for the cell-based sector, this will also last three years. The KIMST-backed project is five years long and centres on R&D and production of high-value cultured seafood.

Simple Planet is working on producing protein powders and unsaturated fatty acid pastes for cell-based meat products. In the meat realm, it is focusing on beef, pork and chicken. In the seafood arena, it’s is working to create ingredients for cultured eel, halibut, rainbow trout, bluefin tuna, squid, pollock and lobster.

The start-up is also working on duck, flatfish, salmon, king crab and oyster cell lines, and said it plans to create a fish cake and seafood powder in the future, while also hoping to produce whole cuts.

Simple Planet receives $8m grant, eyes 2025 regulatory approval in South Korea

Phoebe Fraser

17 May 2024

Simple Planet receives $8m grant, eyes 2025 regulatory approval in South Korea

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