By John Reynolds on Wednesday 27 April 2022
Future Food Finance cherry-picks the stories we think should be on the radar of investors.
Every year, 70 billion animals are slaughtered at an enormous cost to the planet. How close are we to a high-tech alternative?
Chicago’s nutrition giant, ADM, has announced plans to invest $300 million in itself in order to increase production capacity at its Illinois plant. Alongside, its new state-of-the-art ‘Protein Innovation Center’ will be opened, also in Decatur, Illinois. ADM reports that it has been steadily increasing its capabilities, in line with consumer demand for alternative proteins. Larger expansion and a specialist facility will allow the company to immerse itself in the trend of sustainable food, which it has identified as driving sales.
A Dutch survey suggests that meat and alt meat is nearing price parity. The survey looked at Dutch supermarkets with the lowest price gap calculated for 32 different product types. The survey suggests that plant-based version turned out to be cheaper than the cheapest animal version in 20% of cases.
Temasek was one of the first corporations to begin concentrating on food and agriculture, and it is nonetheless one of the lively funds within the area. Since 2013, Temasek has invested greater than $8 billion within the food and agriculture area worldwide. It presently has greater than 40 agrifood corporations in its portfolio, seven of which have grown to be unicorns with valuations of greater than $1 billion.
Alternative seafood companies raised $175 million in 2021, nearly double the amount raised in 2020. The $175 million was raised across 15 deals with disclosed deal sizes, bringing total investments to $313 million from 2013 to 2021.
Vertical farms are complex systems that require lighting, fertigation, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, mobility, software, and artificial intelligence. All of this has to be well-integrated to achieve the desired results. Combined, those factors can drive the capital expenditures of a vertical farm up to 4x (or more) of the cost of a high-tech greenhouse, according to Daniele Modesto, CEO of ZERO Farms in Italy. Modesto noted that while automated vertical farms require less labor than traditional or greenhouse farms, they require more highly-skilled (and highly-paid) workers: engineers, software developers, and agronomists, for example. Pricing of products from a vertical farm, he said, needs to be 2x that of organic products in Italy.
The Pasco facility was supposed to be the second in a network of high-tech complexes where Local Bounti planned to cultivate lettuce, herbs and other greens in its pursuit of a share of the $30 billion U.S. market. The first is at its Hamilton, Montana, headquarters. Local Bounti said it remained committed to building the facility, but was pausing to assess its needs after it entered a $123 million deal to acquire Hollandia Produce Group Inc., an established California indoor farming company that operates under the name Pete’s.
The Politics of Protein argues that the evidence for the positive impacts of alternative proteins is limited and even speculative, primarily funded by the companies themselves. The report also comprehensively addresses major claims from the alt-protein sector, who these promises benefit and who is left out of the discussions. The study’s lead author, Phil Howard, is a member of IPES, a professor at Michigan State University and a longtime scholar of food systems ownership and governance.
Selfridges launches 3D printed vegan steak - In Harry Gordon’s Bar & Kitchen and The Brass Rail Restaurant, Selfridges will serve the brand’s sausage and lamb New-Meat alternatives in a Spanish white bean stew and ciabatta roll, respectively.
Heura raises mammoth amount in crowd fund raise - Spanish alt-protein startup Heura has overtaken its latest crowdfunding target four times over, in a mere 12 hours, attracting €4 million and counting. Initially looking to secure a total of €1 million for expansion, the company has confirmed it met that goal in just 30 minutes, during its early access phase on Crowdcube. So far, more than 4,700 investors have clamoured to become ‘Good Rebels’. Half of the participants are estimated to be aged 35 and younger, with Millennial and Gen Z backers likely tempted by the €20 minimum pledge.
Upside Foods raises $400m; total funding $608m - The Berkeley-based company, making cultivated meat, poultry and seafood, took in $400 million in Series C funding, touting it as “the largest round in the industry to date.” Temasek and the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund co-led the round and were joined by Cargill, Givaudan and Tyson Foods and individual investors, including Bill Gates, John Doerr and Kimbal and Christiana Musk. Also investing in this round are Baillie Gifford, Cercano Management, CPT Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, SALT Fund, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, SOSV’s Indie Bio and Synthesis Capital.