By David Stevenson on Friday 7 May 2021
Our monthly round-up of the best sector articles from the rest of the internet.
The world’s largest protein company JBS announces it has reached an agreement to acquire Dutch plant protein producer Vivera, which is currently Europe’s third-largest plant-based food producer, for an enterprise value of €341 million in a deal that includes three manufacturing facilities and a research centre in the Netherlands.
Soy leghemoglobin, or “heme,” is a red, genetically modified ingredient that Impossible has long touted as the key to the Impossible Burger’s flavour. But its use has brought regulatory problems in the U.S. and barred the products from major foreign markets, including China and the European Union. Beyond Meat Inc., Impossible’s main competitor, often points to its GMO-free ingredient list in its marketing.
The Climate Healers position paper, by Dr. Sailesh Rao, has been published by the Journal of Ecological Society. It argues that the influence of the meat and dairy industry has ‘underestimated’ the environmental impact of livestock farming.
Thanks to agro-food producer and meat distributor IFFCO Group, California-based food tech giant and plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat is now available to customers in India via select retailers to cater to the rising plant-based demand by Indian consumers. The news was announced by Urban Platter, an online healthy grocery store in a social media post, and one of the outlets where Indian consumers can purchase a selection of vegan-friendly products, including Beyond Burgers and Beyond Sausages.
This Spring, the company will nearly double the distribution of its flagship Beyond Burger in major UK retailer Sainsbury’s, following the debut of Beyond Sausage in January. Waitrose & Partners also recently launched the plant-based meat substitutes. Between these two supermarkets, Beyond Meat is entering around 450 new retail stores throughout the UK.
Beyond Meat has announced the opening of its new production facility in China, signaling its intentions for the country’s fast-growing – and potentially very lucrative – alt-protein market. Located in the eastern city of Jiaxing, near Shanghai, the factory is the US company’s first “end-to-end manufacturing facility” outside its home country.
The spots have not-so-subtle titles like “We Love Meat” and “Meat Places.” Famed ad agency Wieden+Kennedy produced the ads, which feature sumptuous imagery of Impossible’s plant-based burgers sizzling on a grill, melted cheese cascading around the edges, piled high on a golden bun.
Impossible Foods Inc is preparing for a public listing which could value the U.S. plant-based burger maker at around $10 billion or more, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Philippine Stock Exchange has approved the proposed IPO of local food manufacturer Monde Nissin. The offering is expected to begin late next month with a tentative listing date of June 7. The Santa Rosa, Laguna-based company – which filed for the IPO last month – owns popular Philippine brands including Lucky Me! instant noodles and Monde baked goods. It also owns globally recognized alt-protein brands Quorn and Cauldron Foods.
Food listings rarely come close to that $10 billion number, but the frenzy in the space resetting expectations. Food delivery service DoorDash, which went public at the end of 2020, rose to a market cap of more than $60 billion within hours of listing. Impossible Foods is also rumored to be testing the waters with a potential $10 billion valuation, while Instacart, another IPO suspect, would be more in line with DoorDash’s mega-listing in the tens of billions.
Oatly reported a $60 million net loss on $421 million revenue in 2020, compared with a loss of $36 million on revenue of $204 million the previous year, according to the filing. Oatly, founded in 1994, said it’s the “world’s original and largest oat milk company.” It also highlighted the sustainability of its products, as younger customer favor items with positive societal and environmental impact. “A liter of Oatly product consumed in place of cow’s milk results in around 80% less greenhouse gas emissions, 79% less land usage and 60% less energy consumption,” the company said in its filing. The company said 92% of generation Z and 90% of millennials -- customers less than 40 years old -- would act in support of a “purposeful brand.”
and Green Queens deep dive into Oatly IPO. “Oatly’s key financial metrics for 2020 are very similar to those of another popular plant-based food brand that went public, i.e. alt meat leader Beyond Meat. In 2020, Beyond reported net revenues of US$406.8 million, gross profit of US$122.3 million and net losses of US$52.8m. For information, when Beyond Meat went public on the Nasdaq two years ago, the 2018 sales data they published in their IPO prospectus was as follows: net revenues of US$88m with net losses of US$30m.”
Plant-based manufacturer Laird Superfood acquired Picky Bars, a provider of energy bars and nutritionally enhanced oatmeal and granola, for $12 million in cash and stock. Picky Bars, founded by professional athletes in 2010, specializes in clean-label products with a balanced protein, fat and carbohydrate content. Its offerings, which had previously been sold only direct to consumer, will be offered through Laird Superfood's omnichannel platform across the U.S.
The first publicly traded cultured meat company, MeaTech, which develops cell cultured meat production capabilities including its proprietary three-dimensional printing technology, biotechnology processes, and customizable manufacturing processes for slaughter-free real meat manufacturing, today announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Israeli cleantech company, Tipa, which develops compostable flexible packaging, is considering going public via a SPAC merger at a valuation of more than $500 million. Calcalist has learned that the company has received merger offers valuing the company at between $500-$600 million, significantly higher than its $120 million valuation in its most recent funding round this past February.
Globally Local Technologies Inc., parent company of fast-food chain Globally Local, which currently operates eight locations in Canada with plans for 20 outlets across North America in the next year including the US, is to debut tomorrow on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s Venture Exchange under the symbol GBLY.
Israeli food tech BioMilk went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) this month, becoming the world’s first publicly traded cell-based milk company. The startup produces real cow’s milk and human breast milk directly from cells, and plans to release its first samples over the next two years. BioMilk also revealed it could be eyeing a U.S. IPO on the Nasdaq stock exchange as its next step.
SuperMeat has been developing its lab-grown chicken since 2015, when the company began. Like other companies creating cell-based meat, SuperMeat takes cells from the animal — the chicken, in this case — and grows them in what it calls a “meat fermenter” (aka a bioreactor) to become the muscle, fat, and other tissues that make up meat. Once harvested, the meat can be prepared like the real thing. Hence the restaurant, which is located in Tel Aviv. The menu is chicken-centric, with its signature dish being a cultured chicken burger.
Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company Oishii is best known at this point for its high-end, vertically grown strawberries that cost a cool $50 for an eight-pack. That makes the New Jersey-based company’s wares pretty inaccessible for many consumers — until now. Oishii explained this week that it will be launching an “everyday berry” in the future.
After experimenting with faux chicken through trial runs with KFC, the company is ready to launch a chicken alternative this summer. The new and improved Beyond Burger will also hit supermarket shelves next week.
The new Beyond Burger includes:
cellular aquaculture specialist BlueNalu announces it has signed Memorandums of Understanding with global seafood producer Thai Union and Japan’s largest trading company Mitsubishi Corporation, to evaluate market development strategies for its cell-grown seafood in Asia.
Singapore-based sustainable urban food production technology company Sophie’s Bionutrients has just unveiled its first 100% plant-based burger patty created from single-cell microalgae, which claims to have more protein than beef or most fish that is commercially sold, with each patty offering 24 grams of protein per serve. Singapore-based Sophie’s Bionutrients works on developing alternative plant-based protein with a focus on microalgae, in an effort to reduce the potential for food allergies, as well as to provide high-protein substitutes for meat and seafood.
Since its launch in 2017, Danish plant-based food company Simple Feast has raised $45M from investors including Balderton, Sweet Capital, and 14W. Now, it is launching a range of vegan meal kits in the US. The range includes options such as Crispy Potato Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw and Kale-Walnut Pesto Pizza. Kits are delivered directly to customers’ homes and take a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare.
It was not so long ago that cell-cultured meat was seen as a far-off, fringe movement, but now customers can order cell-cultured chicken dishes directly to their homes, at least in the food tech innovation hub of Singapore. Eat Just has teamed up with foodpanda, Asia’s leading food and grocery delivery platform, to launch the world’s first home delivery of cell-cultured meat.
The UK’s biggest online vegan supermarket and subscription business, TheVeganKind (TVK) announces it has secured £3.5m in Series A funding from Literacy Capital Plc in the biggest funding round ever for a vegan retail company in the UK. TVK offers the widest range of vegan products in the UK and has the largest social media following than any other vegan-only retailer. The funds will be used to support additional retail and consumer experience to help the existing team take the business forward.
Agriculture offers a significant opportunity in this regard. Soil naturally stores and retains CO2; what’s more, soil CO2 content is critical to landscape health and biodiversity. Researchers like Ken Giller, professor of plant production systems at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, caution about over-estimating the role that farmland can play in correcting the global carbon footprint.
Harvest is one of the most hectic times on a farm. The idea of sending a fleet of robots to do the dull, dirty, and often dangerous work is promising for many operators. Numerous startups are working tirelessly to create robots that can harvest or perform other farm tasks efficiently without damaging high-dollar crops. But the sector still has a long way to go, according to Eric Adamson, co-founder of ag robotics startup Tortuga AgTech.
High-tech greenhouse startup AppHarvest has acquired Root AI, which uses AI to power robots that can help manage high-tech indoor farming operations. AppHarvest is acquiring Root AI for $60 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and the balance in AppHarvest common shares; AppHarvest is publicly listed on the Nasdaq exchange after merging with a SPAC earlier this year.
US grain trading platform Bushel has raised $47 million in a Series C round led by Continental Grain Company and Lewis & Clark AgriFood, with additional investment from Germin8 Ventures as well as agribusiness firms Cargill, Scoular, and Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. Cargill is also joining as a member of Bushel’s platform alongside Scoular, which has been a user since 2018.
Rotational grazing is fast emerging as a potential tool that will allow cattle farming to contribute towards climate change mitigation. Its main premise is to limit the cows’ access to a given area of pasture, shifting them to a new section before they over-graze it. Once the cattle have been moved on, the pasture is given time to rest and regrow, providing for deeper roots, healthier soils, and better water retention.
“EAVision’s technology [helps] bring targeted and precise farm management to vast, industrial-scale operations. We look forward to seeing the company advance its talent, technology and application roadmap and partnerships to achieve sustainable growth,” Shi Liang, chairman of the CITIC Agri Fund, said in a statement.
When it comes to cattle nutrition, fresh forage is ideal. But in some regions, water shortages for pasture irrigation and short growing seasons make this challenging. Vancouver-based CubicFarm Systems is hoping to change that by feeding cows with forage grown on-site in an indoor farming system. The company’s HydroGreen Grow System is able to sprout grains such as barley and wheat in a controlled environment with minimal land, labor, and water inputs. It claims that the HydroGreen can reduce water consumption by 92% and greenhouse gas emissions by 7.4% compared to field crop production.
Newly released SPINS data commissioned by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) shows that total plant-based retail sales reached $7 billion and grew 27 per cent over the past year—almost two times faster than total U.S. retail food sales. Dollar sales of plant-based foods grew 43 percent from 2018 to 2020, compared to just 17 percent growth for total U.S. retail food dollar sales over the same time period.
and…”The biggest winner in terms of sales gains was plant-based meat. While traditional meat also saw large sales growth in 2020, plant-based meat doubled that. It's becoming much more of a force in the meat section, with 18% of all households purchasing it — up from 14% in 2019, SPINS found. Plant-based meat has a high repeat rate, with 63% of consumers purchasing it multiple times.”
Chinese agri-food tech companies collectively bagged US$6 billion in 2020, representing a 66% increase from the year before, new statistics show. It comes as total private equity and wider venture capital funding across all industries in China dropped by more than half, signalling the bullish investment sentiment for the agri-food sector amid the growing pandemic-driven spotlight on food supply chain resilience.
The market for alt seafood is set to explode. A brand new market report released in the wake of Seaspiracy finds that the global plant-based fish market is projected to surge at an impressive CAGR of around 28% from 2021 to 2031, to top a valuation of US$ 1.3 billion by 2031. Interestingly, the report finds that plant-based shrimp is to emerge as the most consumed type over coming years.
Gen Z are the new kids on the block. As a cohort of 5 million people born between 1995-2015 encompassing 20 percent of the Australian population — they’re consumers to be reckoned with. New research by the University of Sydney and Curtin University published in Frontiers in Nutrition, found that, despite having a great concern for the environment and animal welfare, 72 percent of Generation Z were not ready to accept cultured meat – defined in the survey as a lab-grown meat alternative produced by in-vitro cell cultures of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals.
Global alt-protein venture capital fund Lever VC has announced a $46 million fourth funding close, counting an agri-food giant, as well as NFL and NBA athletes and British nobility among its new investors. News of the close comes with a 2.33x growth in the fund’s portfolio value in the first seven quarters.
A new report detailing the European food tech landscape has revealed that despite the pandemic, the industry raised a whopping €2.7 billion (US$3.2 billion) in 2020. Much of the investment was driven by the alternative protein sector, with funding recording triple-digit growth. Novel foodservice technologies and experiences also saw a major step up in capital inflows.
Alt-protein maker Clara Foods announced this week a partnership with ZX Ventures, the innovation arm of beer brewer AB InBev, to “brew” animal-free protein at a large scale via fermentation, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
Eleven Madison Park’s most iconic dishes — including the honey lavender duck, a torchon of foie gras served with maple syrup, and deconstructed milk-and-honey dessert course — will not be making a return when NYC’s top fine dining restaurant reopens for the first time since the pandemic crippled the city’s restaurant scene. After weeks of rumors swirling on social media and in food-obsessed circles, chef-owner Daniel Humm’s three Michelin-starred restaurant confirmed with National Public Radio this morning that it’s coming back on June 10 — with a 100 percent vegan menu.
Fake meat's real impacts . What do we know so far about how faux burgers and nuggets affect food choices, the environment, and health?
…meat consumption continues to rise slowly in the US while it explodes around the globe. But it’s also worth remembering that this new generation of the plant-based food industry is still in its infancy; it was only a couple of years ago when the sector’s biggest players even got their products on grocery store shelves.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that two billion people, more than a quarter of the world’s population, eat bugs as part of their standard diet. In Kenya, termites are drummed out of their mounds..
Funding alternative proteins doesn’t mean adopting a vegan diet, or believing that all animal consumption is wrong. One possible future is that alternative proteins take over the market for cheap meat, replacing the commodity meat that goes into so many burgers and chicken nuggets and fish sticks, and animal-based meat becomes a much smaller part of our diet. But we raise those animals more humanely and we run less risk to the planet and ourselves.
Could an empire of the kitchen quietly stop cooking with beef and leave no one the wiser? That appears to be the feat accomplished by Epicurious, the popular online recipe bank where home cooks have gone to hone their skills for a quarter of a century. The editors there revealed to readers this week that not only were they done with new recipes containing beef, but they had been phasing them out for over a year.
In a not too distant – but still imaginable – future, farmers and agricultural scientists will be accompanied by aids in the form of agronomic robots. These fieldbots, or agrobots, will not only understand the language of agricultural science, but also the language of complex environments in which they are trained to assist in cultivation.
The white gold rush is on. And Pandya feels, after plenty of triumphal false dawns for VC-funded cellular agriculture, that Perfect Day’s proprietary dairy protein – which it plans to sell to other businesses in isolated form – represents a significant market shift, set to start with (what else) an animal-free cream cheese partnership planned for 2021. “I think there's a step change that is happening now,” Pandya says. “Because we can actually achieve the same kind of melt-in-your-mouth profile and flavours that you actually get with dairy.”
and NYTs take on alternative cheese
You know, we’ve served almost 300 people, but 80 percent of the people said they feel good about eating it, about 70 percent of the people who paid for it say they’d be open to substituting [cultured meat] for not only conventional meat, but even plant based. So we’re going to be expanding to more restaurants and building a larger manufacturing facility in Singapore to make sure that we’re able to meet all the [demand].
Deliciou has raised seed funding to continue expanding global distribution of its line of shelf-stable plant-based meat alternatives to Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The round, which makes Deliciou the first Australia-based startup to join U.S. alternative protein venture capital Stray Dog Capital’s portfolio, will also allow Deliciou to ramp up R&D to grow its clean label nutritious vegan product range.
Global agri-food company Bunge Limited recently announced a new AU$45.7 million investment in Australian Plant Proteins (APP), which works in the extraction of protein from the faba bean, also known as the broad bean. This strategic investment is designed to support the growth of the plant-based market in Australia and enable APP to double its production of plant protein isolates by March 2022.
Gathered Foods, the parent company of plant-based tuna brand Good Catch Foods, has reeled in US$26.35 million in a bridge financing round. The fresh capital will go towards expanding Good Catch’s retail footprint globally and launching more plant-based seafood products on the market to meet rising consumer demand.
Atlast Food Co., which uses mycelium to produce plant-based meat alternatives, announced today in a press release that it has raised a Series A round of $40 million USD to create new whole cut meat alternatives. This latest funding round was led by Viking Global Investors and saw participation from 40 North, AiiM Partners, Senator Investment Group, Stray Dog Capital, Footprint Coalition, Applegate, Stonyfield, and Whole Foods.
US cell-cultured seafood company Cultured Decadence has raised $1.6 million in an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. The Wisconsin-based company has also received the first-ever state government funding of cellular agriculture to produce the first cell-cultured lobster meat in North America, as the market for alt seafood continues to grow.
Gathered Foods, maker of Good Catch plant-based seafood products, raised $26.35 million in a B-2 bridge funding round with investments from Louis Dreyfus Co., Unovis Asset Management and Big Idea Ventures. The company will use the funding to ramp up product innovation and increase the number of Good Catch products on the market. It also plans to expand its international retail footprint, beginning in Europe, with further expansion planned for later in 2021.
Food and nutrition company, Qualitas Health recently joined forces with Barcelona-based chemicals business Grupo Indukern and Stockholm-based food-tech investor Gullspång Re:food on the back of a successfully completed Series A funding round, both of which will help the company disrupt the algae protein market by developing new and innovative products.
Female-founded food tech Orbillion Bio recently raised US$5M in its seed round for the development of its cruelty-free lab-grown alternatives to ‘heritage meats’ like wagyu beef, elk, sheep, and American bison. Silicon Valley-based Orbillion Bio closed its oversubscribed round with support from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, biotech industry experts, and European deep tech investors like One Ventures who have also invested in Climax Foods, Finless Foods and Wild Earth; Metaplanet Holdings; European Nucleus Capital (invested in Hoxton Farms); and FoundersX Ventures (SpaceX investors).
Mission Barns, Founded in Berkeley, CA in 2018, announces it has raised $24 million in a Series A round to upscale its cell-cultured fat technology and build a pilot factory in the Bay Area. High profile investors in this round included Lever VC; Gullspang Re:Food (Oatly); Humboldt Fund (NotCo & Geltor); David Yeung’s Green Monday Ventures (Beyond Meat & Perfect Day); Enfini Ventures (Impossible Foods & Memphis Meats); and an undisclosed European meat company.
Hungry Planet recently announced that it closed its Series A financing round and secured US$25 million with the funds to help the company build capacity for its plant-based meats and accelerate its growth domestically and internationally.
India’s pioneer plant-based egg company Evo Foods recently closed its pre-seed round and secured INR 6.2 crores (US$845,000) that will help the startup gear up for its launch in the Indian market as well as scale its R&D and marketing team to prepare for an international launch in 2022.
Spotting a gap in the market, Chunk Foods decided to use solid-state fermentation to make beef alternatives containing only natural ingredients. It plans to use the new funding to improve its products and hire new staff.
Bordeaux, France-based indoor farming company Les Nouvelles Fermes announced today it has raised €2 million (~$2.4 million USD) to build what it’s calling the largest aquaponic farm in Europe. EU Startups was first to write about the news. The round included participation from IRDI, the Banque des Territoires, Crédit Agricole Aquitaine and the CIC. This is Les Nouvelles Fermes first round of funding.
Austria-based Revo Foods crafts 3D-printed salmon made from plant-based ingredients, and over the weekend the company announced that it has raised €1.5 million euros (~$1.78 million USD) in funding. This is the company’s first round of funding, and it included participation from Hazelpond Capital, Eva Summer (CPO of Peace of Meat), Friends2grow, Jens Schuman, MKO Holdings, and national support from the FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency and Vienna Business Agency.
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