BOI promotes plant-based foods, gears up local researchers and start-ups for the Big Idea Food Competition

The Board of Investments (BOI), the Philippines’ lead industry promotion agency, recently (06 July 2021) conducted an online information session on the upcoming Big Idea Food Competition (BIFC) 2022 Asia Edition to raise awareness on the potentials of plant-based foods.  

The said session is a tie-up with Big Idea Ventures (BIV), the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development – (DOST-PCIEERD), and the Department of Trade and Industry – Competitiveness and Innovation Group (DTI-CIG).

The BIFC was conceptualized by BIV, a venture capital fund with start-up accelerators in key locations around the globe, investing in and accelerating top performers in the new food space. According to BIV, it has been working with about 90 different companies and it continues to scale up as it has built an ecosystem with more than 200 mentors who will help each start-up in growing their business. To date, BIV has made 44 investments with various plant-based companies. 

Cognizant of the opportunities in plant-based meats, the BOI is working with local researchers, start-ups and other industry partners to consider the potential of this food segment that has been growing exponentially globally in recent years suggesting a major transformation in food production and consumption.  

In 2020, the plant-based meat alternative market was valued at approximately US$ 8 billion globally. According to Barclays, the global market is projected to increase up to US$140 billion by 2029 with other sources projecting a revenue of US$11 billion to US$50 billion in 2024 and 2025, respectively. For the Asia Pacific Region, plant-based market is expected to generate a revenue of US$30 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 18.9%.

“Plant-based meats consumption has already been rising even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but the recent increase in demand is too dramatic to be ignored by both the government and the business community. The market is attractive now more than ever as there has been a conscious ‘movement’ by the consumers to make more informed choices on the type of food they should be eating. In additional, the onslaught of African Swine Fever (ASF) and the perennial threat of avian flu necessitates that the world look at plant-based meats or meat alternatives towards achieving food security,” said BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa in her closing remarks during the BIFC information session. 

BIV General Managing Partner Mr. Andrew Ive stated “The BIFC opens the opportunity to discover amazing entrepreneurs, support them and help them to bring innovative products into the market. The competition will also bring leadership in food production, develop new ways of providing food for the population and create great companies that produce healthier and sustainable food.”  

Attended by nearly 60 participants representing different food companies along with representatives of relevant government agencies, the info session focused on major market risks, technological challenges, and uncertainties for alternative protein start-ups thus, stressing the need for an accelerator or incubator who could provide guidance to these start-ups.  

A local plant-based meat alternatives company, Worth The Health (WTH) Foods, also spoke during the session to talk about its experience as a recipient of BIV investments. WTH launched its first product in September 2019. In May 2020, WTH was accepted as part of the BIV Accelerator Program in Singapore. During the intensive 5-month program of BIV, WTH was given expert advice on product development, marketing, and financial management and was introduced to relevant industry partners. After the program, WTH continues to receive support from BIV through monthly consultations with their experts. WTH products are now available in more than 60 stores in the Philippines. Customers may also purchase their products through their website at and their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.  

The BIFC 2022 Asia Edition is looking for the best entrepreneurs engaged in plant-based food production. It is eyeing around 45 startups across Asia who will compete at the regional level. The winner will get the grand prize of US$200,000 and will work with BIV in bringing innovative products to the global market. 

Acceptance of applications for the BIFC will be opened in the 4th quarter of 2021 and the competition will be held in March 2022. The BIFC is open for sponsorships from interested establishments. 

To prepare potential applicants for the BIFC competition, there will be upcoming Focus Sessions for start-ups (August 5), potential sponsors (August 10), and R&D institutions and SUC partners (August 17). Participants may register using this link and the QR code below. END