Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 8

By David Stevenson on Wednesday 2 March 2022

Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 8
Image source: Top stories on the FFF investment radar week 8
CommentaryFood DeliveryPlant-Based FoodTechVertical / Indoor Farming

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

The SynBio mega trend: Exponential View’s deep dive into Gingko Bioworks


Excellent podcast about the potential for synthetic biology which we think is only just starting to have an impact.
The company is constantly gathering experimental data and feeding it back into a codebase, laying the groundwork for faster cell design in the future. On the hardware side, it’s using automation and miniaturisation to get through experiments more quickly. Theoretically, as the Ginkgo codebase grows – and as its lab work becomes speedier – it should be able to race through the search process faster.

Public markets and IPOs: Beyond Meat takes another beating on wall Street

The poster child for plant-based meat alternatives misses more Wall Street estimates – shares fall again
Quarterly revenue fell 1.3 per cent to $100.7mn as the company blamed weak US retail sales due to soft demand, increased discounts and a loss of market share. For 2022, Beyond Meat forecast revenues below estimates, predicting total sales of $560mn-$620mn for 2022 compared with consensus estimates of $637mn.
and Wall Street Journal

Public markets and IPOs: AppHarvest CEO talks sustainable food

Well worth a listen to this Bloomberg podcast

Public markets and IPOs: Agronomics invests in Onego Bio funding round 


AIM listed VC fund invests in egg protein alternatives via €10 million Seed fundraising round
Bioalbumen is an animal-free egg protein, produced with a specific precision fermentation process that creates identical egg white protein without the need for animals.

Worth reading: How alt protein businesses are pivoting to providing ingredients

Alt protein brands are looking to incorporate their ingredients in a wider range of ready made foods including pizza
It’s time for plant-based meat makers to “diversify away from the kids’ menu,” says JP Frossard, a consumer-foods analyst at Rabobank. “There is a limit for the amount of burgers we eat.” The frozen section, offering broad food variety and convenience, is one of the “pandemic winners,” he says, making it a prime target for plant-based companies.

Worth reading 2: New York Times deep dive into cultured chicken

Only about 700 people in the world have ever purchased cellular meat — most of it ground, breaded and fried, and all of it in Singapore, which became the first nation to grant regulatory approval in 2020. And though the United States isn’t far behind (the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration could finish writing rules about how to produce and sell cultured meat by the end of the year) all of this is still a long way from the grocery store.

Worth watching: ingredients giant moves aggressively into alt protein space

Givaudan is a major player in ingredients. It has just launched the PrimeLock range to provide flavour and fat for alt proteins
Because only a small amount of oil is trapped, PrimeLock+ can reduce fat content in a final product by up to 75% and calories by 30%, according to Givaudan. It also improves the stability of plant-based meat since the technology separates flavours from proteins, the company said.

The changing face of modern: another crop revolution on its way

The Daily Telegraph investigates the changes impacting post-Brexit UK farmers

Funding and New Deals

1.    Wildtype raises $100m in series B for sushi-grade salmon alternative - Wildtype creates its sushi-grade salmon using cultivated Pacific salmon cells, grown in tanks that wouldn’t look out of place in a brewery. The cells are introduced to plant-based scaffold structures which help to generate a certain shape and fibrosity of protein. Despite a successful chef-led tasting in 2021, regular consumers’ mindsets are not yet predictable.
2.    Finnish firm Solar Foods nets €10 million for new production facility - a commercial production line for the company’s proprietary “thin air” Solein protein. Solar Foods’ Factory 01 will play host to the new manufacturing side of operations, when fully operational in 2023.
3.    British biotech firm CellulaREvolution nets £1.75m for cell cultivation tech - CellulaREvolution creates cell culture systems. Unlike most of its peers, it avoids the batch production methodology and has focussed on cost-effective continuous alternatives. With lower cost outlays, the Newcastle-based biotech’s developments hold promise for the cultivated meat sector.
4.    British vertical farms specialist nets £100m for new farm in Kent - Founded in 2013 by Tom Webster and Kate Hofman, GrowUp Farms had built a network of three farms cultivating salad leaves – its GrowUp Box and Unit 84 projects in London, and a crop development and R&D facility at the Agri-Epi Centre at Harper Adams University in Shropshire
5.    Square Mile farms launches UK Seedrs crowdfunding campaign for £315k - Established network of 60+ farm units across 27 sites in London
6.    Kraft Heinz and NotCo form joint venture of plant-based products - The Chilean-based startup has secured distribution deals with a number of premium natural and organic food retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and others since entering the US market in late 2020.
7.    Asian VC launches $15m early-stage fund - Better Bite has invested in 10 regional startups spanning the gamut of alt protein technology, from plant-based to cellular agriculture. So far, the fund has shown a keen eye for choosing early winners, with portfolio companies TiNDLE and Change Foods showing impressive scale and results in a relatively short period of time.