Singapore-based start-up KARANA takes jackfruit global as it grows into larger markets

April 19, 2023

[Singapore, 14th April 2023] One of the world's most sustainable crops, jackfruit, will become astaple over the next two decades and Singapore-based start-up KARANA is leadingthe way by scaling up supply of this positive, regenerative food on the global stage.

[Singapore, 14th April 2023] One of the world's most sustainable crops, jackfruit, will become astaple over the next two decades and Singapore-based start-up KARANA is leadingthe way by scaling up supply of this positive, regenerative food on the global stage.

Made and developed in Singapore and using jackfruit currently sourcedfrom Sri Lanka, KARANA has seen 10x growth in the number of doors sincelaunching just 2 years ago. KARANA's ongoinggrowth story has seen them lead the shift away from industrialised animal and monoculture agriculture, and heavily processedplant based ingredients like wheat and soy derivatives, towards a new foodorder built around regenerative soil and biodiversity supporting crops. Thecompany believes making cleaner, more transparent, and nutritious ingredientsmore accessible will drive a generational change towards a more diversified andplant-forward diet.

At a time when food safety, security and supply chain are more importantthan ever, KARANA's co-founder Blair Crichton explains why the time is ripe forjackfruit's global expansion: "Our food system is in crisis - it is both adriver of, and greatly impacted by, climate change and our reliance on a smallnumber of ingredients that often require heavy processing is destroying ourhealth and our soil. From a sourcing, nutrition, sustainability and productperformance perspective, there is simply no better crop than jackfruit and theglobal platform we are building is allowing it to reach new markets andconsumers in new formats."

KARANA leverages the extreme versatility of jackfruit, bringing it tomarket as a blank canvas for chefs, or food manufacturers, to turn into anendless array of menu items or product formats. The new KARANA product range isbuilt around its updated minced jackfruit, which has been made into a range ofdishes and products including local flavours like otah and ngoh hiang. Thisproduct is also turned into dim sum, patties, sausages and meatballs. The newformulation has further improved taste and juiciness, and includes a higherprotein content, while its evolution also allows it to perform better inkitchen and food manufacturing settings.

KARANA has been a hit in its home market in Singapore, and can now befound in 40 locations across the island in dishes like a Pad Ka Prao at GrainTraders, Pastrami at Love Handle, and across the entire menu of all KebabsFaktory locations, where it replaced Impossible Meat as the plant based optionand is priced at the same level as chicken. KARANA will also be found in retailin Singapore starting in April, in collaboration with local CPG brand goodfoodpeopleby Salad Stop!, in the form of gyozas, beef wellington, and chorizo meatballs.

KARANA is also available in Hong Kong at 20 outlets including NutritionKitchen, SaladStop!, Elephant Grounds and more. 

The trajectory and vision of KARANA has always been globally-focused andexpansion into the US market has quickly been embedded through launches in SanFrancisco with outlets including Empress by Boon, Wild Seed and Mr Tipples.KARANA is now served in the campuses of major technology companies, smallchains like Aqui in silicon valley and has several restaurant partners in LosAngeles. KARANA will next be expanding into New York City, launching with Plantega,a 23 door plant-based bodega chain, starting in May 2023 where it will be replacingBeyond Meat in the two most popular menu items.


KARANA has also hired a team of experts in their field including AniaMadalinska, the Head of Sourcing & Sustainability, and Gisela SalazarGolding, the Global Head of Culinary Innovation who will help to sustainablyscale jackfruit with a chef-centric approach.


While continuing to develop and refine its expertise, technology, and IPin sourcing and manufacturing jackfruit in a way that is commercially viable,KARANA has always deeply respected the integrity of the crop and its ability toscale in way that supports small farmers and their communities, healthy soiland biodiversity as well as functioning as a community focused food securitycrop, the way it has been grown in Sri Lanka for generations. The company iscurrently focused on working with various local partners to expand output inSri Lanka, while expanding this approach to other geographies around the worldto incorporate jackfruit in a way that supports reforestation efforts and mixedcropping.


KARANA co-founder Dan Riegler explains: "What's key to thisexpansion is the fact that the crop will add value, income, and mitigateclimate risk for farmers and communities in markets that have not historicallyincorporated jackfruit in any kind of commercial model. Our next phase, withpilots and partnerships already underway, includes looking at ways thatjackfruit can become a staple crop in tropical geographies around the world,and we are actively testing and studying the most effective ways to introduceit without adding risk or requiring inputs and resources from farmers. We areharnessing and applying technology to localise and expand around the world inthe most impactful way possible that supports and celebrates traditional andindigenous approaches to farming, which have been destroyed and displaced bymodern industrial agriculture."

Jackfruit has traditionally been used as a meat substitute and in manyculinary applications, yet upwards of 60% of this anchor crop is currentlywasted in countries such as Sri Lanka. This considerable untapped resourceproved its remarkable value last year when the near collapse of the country'sfood system showed how jackfruit is a true community food and a security crop,providing the nutrition and sustenance that many Sri Lankans needed.

Ultimately KARANA's founders are confident that jackfruit will continueto grow as a truly sustainable food source, becoming a staple global ingredientover the next ten to twenty years: "Investments in real crops with provenscalability, market fit and versatile product formats that promote global foodsecurity and strengthen soil will drive real, systemic change in food and agriculture. A decentralised and diversified food system that is not extractive butregenerative, nourishing, accessible - and most importantly delicious - willhelp build direct connections between consumers and the world's mostsustainable crops. KARANA's jackfruit will be foremostamongst them."


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KARANA Foods is scaling jackfruit as a climate supercrop,valorising an underutilised perennial tree crop and building the value chainand technology to enable its wide scale use as a clean-label ingredient infoodservice, retail, and industrial applications. Its products are unbelievablymeaty, versatile, planet and farmer friendly, and healthier. Based inSingapore, the company was founded in 2018 by Dan Riegler and Blair Crichtonand since then, has launched products in three countries — a massive growthtrajectory. KARANA’s product line includes minced meat made from youngjackfruit as well as a range of value-added products made from this includinggyoza, patties, crumbles and meatballs. The company has raised capital fromSeeds Capital, Real Tech Holdings, Big Idea Ventures and food industryexecutives, amongst others, and is about to launch in New York City, its nextcity in the US following launches in San Francisco and Los Angeles.