Singapore snacking startup making indulgent foods healthy grabs $3M in funding

12 Aug 2021

Singapore-based Hoow Foods, which develops better-for-you versions of indulgent snacks and ingredients using artificial intelligence (AI), announced it secured S$3 million in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Singapore-based venture firm Farquhar VC with participation from Trive Ventures and other private investors.

"Hoow Foods and its upcoming functional ingredients could be a game changer, as it would allow decadent foods to be enjoyed by more people without the guilt, thanks to their ability to reduce or replace the unnecessary calories, fat and salt within these food items," said Jason Su, chief investment officer at Farquhar VC in a statement.

Singapore snacking startup making indulgent foods healthy grabs $3M in funding

Functional foods are becoming big business. As consumers search for more from their food than just sustenance, the global functional food market, which was valued at $173.26 billion in 2019, is expected to rise to $309 billion by 2027, according to global market research firm Precedence Research. However, while functional foods are sought after, consumers are also interested in the taste of a product, which has chronically posed problems to manufacturers working to reformulate ingredients like fat, sugar and salt into better-for-you alternatives.

Hoow Foods is working to overcome this barrier using AI. The startup has an in-house food ingredient database called Re-Genesys, which contains information on food ingredients and their physicochemical properties, and the startup's AI sifts through the possible pairings of these plant-based ingredients to create combinations that are both healthy and sustainable while also catering to popular taste profiles.

“Whether you have a pre-existing health condition, are vegan, or just a health-conscious consumer, there should be alternative choices of foods for everyone without compromising on quality and taste,” said Hoow Foods co-founder and CEO Ow Yau Png in a statement.

Already the startup, which was founded in 2018, has created the popular low-calorie ice cream brand Callery's as well as a vegan-friendly premix for baked goods. But Hoow Foods is not only aiming to develop products independently. The company has a partnership with Singapore’s, Killiney Kopitiam Group through which the duo has commercialized 10 consumer packaged goods under the Killiney brand. Additionally, the startup says it has created but not commercialized over 20 prototypes using its AI database, including functional ingredients and ready-to-use products that are capable of replacing the fat and sodium in foods.

With this new funding, the Singapore-based enterprise said it will work toward expansion for both its product lines as well as its geographical footprint. In a statement, Png said Hoow Foods will spin off commercially viable products into individual subsidiaries and joint ventures. As part of its strategy, Hoow Foods intends to work with global food corporations and supermarket chains to collaborate on the development of healthier replacements for desserts, drinks, snacks and other pantry staples. Furthermore, the startup said it soon plans to enter additional markets within Asia.

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