Food on the Move: 17:33

By Frank Buhagiar on Monday 3 October 2022

Food on the Move: 17:33
Image source: Food on the Move: 17:33
CommentaryFoodTech Investment

FFF’s weekly roundup of listed FoodTech’s movers & shakers

Not the 17:33 Great Western Railway service that departs Mon-Fri from London Paddington’s platform two (or three), calling at all stations to Bristol Temple Meads.  No, 17:33 is the ratio of share price risers to fallers in the listed FoodTech space over the course of the week ended 30 September - still almost two times more fallers than risers, but nevertheless a vast improvement on the previous week’s three risers and 45 fallers.

Leading the way with a 30% gain was Blue Apron (APRN).  Not the first time the meal-kit co has topped the bill – see 12 September 2022’s edition of Food on the Move: return of the risers.  Back then there was talk of a share repurchase programme.  This time round, a different programme has been under the microscope - APRN’s ongoing turnaround plan. ‘The Next Course,’ which is targeting over US$700m annual revenues by 2024, was given the once over by The Motley Fool and Lake Street Capital Markets.  As The Motley Fool explains, Lake Street believes the shares, which closed the week at US$5.78, “could hit US$9 per share.” The Motley Fool is not so sure: “…$9 per share will be hard to justify even if Blue Apron hits its targets.” Mr. Market is with Lake Street, for now at least…

Next up, Local Bounti (LOCL) – shares closed up a quarter at US$2.84.  No new news out, at least none since 6 September when the agtech was awarded The Sustainability Leadership Award by the Business Intelligence Group (BIG): Local Bounti has “achieved several breakthroughs, including significantly reducing the crop cycle of its leafy greens, increasing crop yield by over 35%, and drastically reducing water and land use compared to conventional agriculture – while driving superior unit economics in the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry.”  Past honorees of the BIG award “include Dupont, Ford, FedEx, IBM, and PepsiCo” – BIG by name, BIG by nature.

Elsewhere, Just Eat (TKWY) closed the week up 12.5% at AUD16 after a positive response to the online food delivery company’s press release of 27 September. The key…ahem…takeaway from the announcement was that “Management expects Just Eat to generate positive Adjusted EBITDA in the second half of 2022, an improvement compared with an Adjusted EBITDA of minus €134 million in the first half of 2022.”

Among the worst performers was Fermentalg (FALG) - shares shed 14% to finish the week at €1.66.  The microalgae specialist has now lost around a quarter of its value since the publication of its H1 Results.  These were something of a mixed bag: “The accounts for the first half of the year reflect the company's growing industrial and commercial strength, but also the effects of the exceptional inflation in energy and raw material prices.” Mr. Market focusing on the ‘exceptional inflation’ rather than the ‘growing industrial and commercial strength’…

Finally, shares in The Very Good Food Company (VERY) lost 11% to close at CAD0.1227. The plant-based foodie recently announced: “seven of its best-selling Very Good Butchers products have become available for sale online in a Variety Pack with a major, membership-only wholesale chain.  The arrangement significantly increases the availability of VERY GOOD's natural, plant-based food products for Canadian consumers.” Investors didn’t interpret the news as being particularly ‘VERY GOOD’, it seems.