Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 5

By David Stevenson on Tuesday 8 February 2022

Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 5
Image source: Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 5
CommentaryAlternative proteinVertical / Indoor FarmingFoodTech Investment

Future Food Finance cherry-picks the stories we think should be on the radar of investors.

Big story of the week: China’s state plan mentions cultivated meat

Our core view has been that when China decides to embrace cultivated meat, the debate will fundamentally change. New Ag Plan suggests that turning point might be close

The report describes how innovation could be boosted in “frontier and cross-disciplinary technologies,” a category that includes cultivated meat. According to GFI APAC, this signals that Chinese officials believe producing cultivated meat is in the national interest — and this makes it very likely that the government will provide more funding to the sector.

Public markets and IPOs 1: Agronomics Jim Mellon talks industry trends and government interest

NutritionInvestor talks to the founder of Agronomics – see our most recent interview with Jim HERE

Agronomics co-founder and serial investor says the UK government is very interested in the cultured meat space. One area of cous ? “We’re very interested in the pet food industry because it’s possibly earlier to market than human food and it’s also a very fast-growing market. “

Public markets and IPOs 2: Benson Hill moving into sustainable feedstock for fish

Shares in the US listed ag tech company have had a brutal few months but investing in next gen aquaculture alongside Riverence Holdings makes sense in our view

Idaho-based Riverence Holdings LLC, a land-based producer of steelhead and rainbow trout, is using Benson Hill’s plant-based soy ingredients to create fish feed that the two companies contend is cheaper and more energy efficient to make than alternatives. Financial terms of their partnership were not disclosed.

Public markets and IPOs 3: Vertical farmer Kalera looking to SPAC

Maybe the SPAC market isn’t dead afterall…Aerofarms abandoned its SPAC but Kalera is about to take the plunge

Florida-based Kalera announced plans to merge with Agrico Acquisition Corp. in a deal that values the agtech firm at $375 million. The move comes as plenty of excitement swirls around the category, though Kalera, which currently lists on the Euronext Growth Oslo exchange, has seen a notable stock price drop over the last year. The company’s falling value is notable, as it has seen its stock fall from a 52-week high of $5.99 per share to just $0.91 as of its most recent close, per Google Finance data. (The company intends to delist from its current exchange as part of the transaction, its release states.)

Worth reading: five key AgTech trends form the experts

Total global investment in agrifood tech was $22.3 billion, with five billion going to AgTech and $17.3 billion in food tech. Industry publication Forbes looks to five key trends : one to watch, AI

"AI will drastically improve sustainable farming on land by helping farmers to forecast weather conditions," said Gupta. "Farming is a risky business. Farmers worldwide have always wrangled with weather – drought, flooding, or something in between. Stabilizing food security is a global priority."

Worth reading 2: Stanford study looks at massive impact of Agriculture on climate change

“….Phasing out animal agriculture over the next 15 years would have the same effect as a 68 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the year 2100. This would provide 52 percent of the net emission reductions necessary to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, which scientists say is the minimum threshold required to avert disastrous climate change.”

Worth reading 3: Edison research focus on Veganuary and sustainable foods

Entire businesses can now be founded on cutting meat products from diets. One such example is Germany-based Veganz. The company offers a host of vegan meat alternatives, from schnitzel to teewurst. Crucially, it is also transparent on the environmental impact of its foods, and it tracks its entire production value chain based on its carbon footprint. Products’ water usage and CO2 emissions, for example, are displayed prominently on its website. Veganz believes in reducing the overall carbon footprint of its products and hence it is an early adopter of compostable packaging in the refrigerated segment that looks and feels like plastic.

This matters: Beyond Meat McDonalds collaboration seems to be paying off

BeyondMeat could do with some positive headlines, and it looks like the new McPlant is selling well. When will the shares start to respond?

U.S. sales of the McDonald’s McPlant burger have exceeded expectations by three-fold, the company said yesterday. The news comes as McDonald’s plans to expand the meatless burger to 600 locations across the U.S.

This matters 2: AgTech pioneer using microbes spray instead of fertiliser

There’s a huge opportunity set in replacing nitrogen based fertilisers with biologicals heading the charge

Kula Bio, a startup that spun out of research at Harvard, recently raised $50 million to help bring an alternative product to market—fertilizer that uses microbes, instead of fossil fuels, to give plants the nitrogen they need to grow quickly. “It’s bacteria that is naturally occurring, and it has the capability to grab nitrogen from the air,” says Bill Brady, founding CEO and director of Kula Bio.


This matters 3: New proteins on demand platform speeds up synbio

Synthetic biology company Tierra Biosciences has officially launched its “proteins-on-demand” e-commerce portal where synbio scientists and researchers get custom proteins synthesized, validated, and shipped to them via a single interface. The San Leandro, California-based company says its platform provides a more efficient and standardized way to source proteins versus traditional methods and takes weeks rather than years.

Coming to a High Street near you: Vegan Jerk coming from PepsiCo and Beyond Meat

One of the most interesting emerging niches consists of more sustainable, alternative snacks, PepsiCo’s core strength.

It’s named The PLANeT Partnership and will utilize Beyond Meat’s technology combined with PepsiCo’s marketing capabilities, the firms said in a statement…..Visible on the packet shown in the video, the jerky is slow-roasted and kettle-cooked, as well as being GMO and soy-free.

Coming to a High Street near you 2: Nut based vegan gelato brand

Using kenari nuts, which hail from one specific part of the Indonesian rainforest, the two have developed a gelato with their heritage in mind. Called ‘Nth Wonder’,  the new gelato brand launch follows previous fermentation success.

Deals UK: Plant based snack brand Nurture raising money on crowdfunding platform

The plant-based snacking and beverage business focused on nurturing healthier, more sustainable lifestyles is looking to raise £2.5 mn on Seedrs