August 14, 2022
“Should we race to see how quickly we can consume the last tuna, swordfish, and grouper? Or race to see what can be done to protect what remains? For now, there is still a choice.”
When we look closely at what is happening to oceans, and when we also consider their vital role in human survival, it’s hard to disagree with the words of the acclaimed oceanographer Sylvia Earle: the ocean is earth’s life support system. It regulates the climate, provides most of the planet’s oxygen, and is home to untold trillions of animals. Sadly the pollution of oceans is becoming ever more serious, fish populations have been decimated, and the proposed solution of fish farming generates major carbon emissions and extreme animal suffering in addition to public health risks.
Enter Kai Yi Carrie Chan.
Back in May 2018 Chan, an INSEAD Business School alumna overseeing luxury property development projects, was scrolling through her Facebook feed when she came across an ad from Lever Foundation looking for staffers and entrepreneurs. Intrigued by Lever’s mission and ready to embark on her next career challenge, Carrie got in touch with Lever. But instead of becoming an employee, at Lever’s encouragement and with Lever’s support she became the co-founder of Avant, the first cultivated meat company in China.
A shrewd businesswoman and ocean lover, Carrie had a powerful vision: sustainable and humane seafood being served in China and around the world. She believed that technology and innovation could become allies of the planet’s blue heart. With the help of co-founder Dr. Mario Chin, Carrie and Avant set out to develop cultivated fish, luxury seafood products and marine collagen without the need for live fish in the supply chain.
With Lever’s support the company has grown tremendously since, being featured in news outlets including Time Magazine, South China Morning Post and Reuters and holding China’s first public tasting of cultivated meat in 2019.
“We are very excited to have launched China’s first cell-based meat company, which would not have happened without Lever’s encouragement and guidance. They have been able to offer tremendous help to Avant Meats in our formation stage.”
-Kai Yi Carrie Chan, founder, Avant Meats
Avant is set to begin pilot commercial production and sales in 2024, meaning consumers in China and around will soon be able to enjoy traditional seafood products and delicacies that are truly humane and that have a significantly lower environmental impact. As farmed fish account for the vast majority of animals raised for food (with 60% being raised in China alone) replacing even a fraction of that with cultivated fish protein would significantly alleviate animal suffering and reduce the pressure on oceans and the climate while also benefiting consumers.
Every drop in the ocean counts, and thanks to Lever’s help Avant is preparing to make quite a splash.
This work happened because of the support of people like you. Please consider donating today to build a more humane and sustainable protein supply in Asia.