Weekly Roundup: WWF pushes for more robust farming systems, Anne Hathaway invests in alt-protein
03 Feb 2023 --- This week in industry news, Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway backed The Every Co. in the alternative protein arena. Tereos announced the takeover of its sugar activity in Romania, and KMC revealed it is building an innovation center in Denmark.
In brief: Animal-free moves
Anne Hathaway invested in food tech firm, The Every Co., aiming to accelerate the world’s transition to animal-free protein. The announcement comes as Every scales up following seven years of R&D, recently launching three products in 12 months and ushering in a new era for nutritious, protein-boosted foods with a lower environmental footprint. The news dovetails with the rise of proteins made by fermentation. Hathaway – who was drawn to impact investing after making lifestyle adjustments to reduce her consumption of meat and single-use plastics and to embrace a zero-waste approach – credits Every’s impact, technology and nutrition advantages as key drivers in her interest in the company.
Redefine Meat dished up a record Veganuary with over 70 new restaurants on boarded across the UK, Netherlands and Germany. These include everyday diners to steakhouses and fine-diningestablishments, all seeking to transform their menus with high-quality new-meat. New customers include The Breakfast Club chain and Meraki in the UK, Boterlap, Koks Gemert, Wildschut, Café Luxembourg and Shakshuk in the Netherlands, and Mundfein and The ASH in Germany. The company launched commercially in six new European markets (UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria and Finland) and signed a significant deal with Europe’s leading importer of high-end meat, Giraudi Meats, to expand in a plethora of new countries in 2023.
In brief: Business moves
Tereos announced the takeover of its sugar activity in Romania by Mihaela Neagu and Mihail-Daniel Matache, two independent Romanian investors, in the agri-food and consumer food sector. The company has also found a buyer for the Ludus industrial site, which the group had announced plans to close in 2021. Finalization of the transaction should take place during the following week.
KMC received planning permission to build a 5,000-square-meter innovation center in Brande, Denmark which will help international customers to develop plant-based foods and equip KMC to become a global heavyweight. An innovation center will position KMC as the world’s leading potato starch producer. The building will house a new office, laboratory facilities, and a development department.
In brief: Recognition & awards
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization, partnered with the Seeding The Future Foundation to offer prizes totaling US$15,000 at The Pitch during this year’s IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, which is being held July 16-19, 2023, at McCormick Place in Chicago. In the Startup Pavilion, food or food-related start-ups can participate in a multi-stage rapid-pitch competition spanning three days. Judges will include leaders from innovation, venture-capital investment groups, product development, academia and the start-up community. Space is limited as the competition is restricted to the first 100 start-ups to have a kiosk in the Pavilion.
EIT Food launched its 2023 Entrepreneurship Programmes, with applications now being taken across three programs catering to all stages of business growth. EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. The programs are designed to launch, accelerate and scale impactful agri-food tech start-ups to solve global food system challenges and deliver new food innovations and businesses worldwide.The programs are now open to new entries from entrepreneurs across Europe. Start-ups that are successful in their application could receive funding of up to €500,000 (US$549,000) from EIT Food and leverage external funding from EIT Food’s investor community.
Dr. Yiliang Ding, a group leader at the John Innes Centre, received the European Research Council consolidator grant worth nearly €2 million (US$2.2 million) over five years. In accepting the funding, Ding becomes one of 321 elite researchers to benefit from the €657 million (US$722 million) grant distribution made as part of the EU’s Horizon Europe program in 2023. The grant will fund a project named Venture which will investigate the role that Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) structure plays in messenger RNA (mRNA) export, that is the movement of information-carrying molecules from the cell nucleus to the cytoplasm, where proteins are made. Understanding this fundamental biological process may provide plant,animal and human health opportunities.
In brief: Appointments & retirements
Symrise expanded its Executive Board and hired Dr. Stephanie Cossmann to take over the newly created executive responsibilities for the Human Resources and Legal group. Dr. Jörn Andreas is taking over the Scent & Care segment, which until now was temporarily led by CEO Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram. Cossmann, who has a doctorate in law, was most recently a member of the Executive Board and Head of HR at Lanxess AG. She was responsible for Group Human Resources, Legal and Compliance, and the company’s Leather business unit. Until now, Jörn Andreas has led the Cosmetic Ingredients division at Symrise.
In brief: Food security in the spotlight
To stabilize farmers’ incomes while simultaneously protecting nature, the UK Government must establish a set of Core Environmental Standards in law, according to a new policy paper by WWF-UK and the Institute of Development Studies. The new paper, Trade Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Agriculture, highlights that food production accounts for a significant share of exports in many developing countries, and agricultural global value chains facilitate the exchange of products, ideas, and talent across countries. However, the food system’s vulnerability has been exposed recently by climate and geopolitical crises, resulting in rising food prices and food insecurity for millions. Introducing core environmental standards, would help drive the transition to better farming systems that have positive outcomes for nature while also allowing farmers to have more reliable incomes, says WWF.
The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Canada established a special fund to support Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in agriculture. The Agri-food SME Catalytic Financing Mechanism aims to catalyze and de-risk investment for agriculture SMEs, as well as strengthen agricultural value chains and improve food security across the continent.
By Elizabeth Green
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