AAK will invest in Big Idea Ventures’ (BIV) New Protein Fund to support start-ups developing alternative protein products.
AAK will provide ingredient expertise to emerging players within the plant- and cell-based meat, seafood, and dairy products arena to develop solutions to feed the world’s growing population.
The investment will also create collaboration opportunities with recognized players in the food industry, searching for more sustainable protein sources.
AAK’s investment as a corporate partner will allow the New Protein Fund to strengthen its reach in both Europe and Asia, explains Andrew Ive, founder and general managing partner of BIV.
The investment in the fund has no material impact on AAK’s earnings.
Advancing alternative categories
Partnering with BIV will give AAK an additional platform to support the fast-growing categories of meat and dairy alternatives.
Johan Westman, president and CEO at AAK Group adds: “AAK gets closer to prospering early-stage businesses who are active within one of our key growth segments.”
“We will also be able to collaborate with other fund partners and investors, including some of the most important industry front-runners in the world,” he highlights.
Furthering its investment in “future food” AAK joined the MISTA innovation platform in San Francisco, US, last year.
In addition, AAK recently announced the establishment of a Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence in the Netherlands, set to be operational later this year.
AAK’s investment in proteins comes days after announcing a global satellite monitoring program to support zero-deforestation.
The moves represent the company’s focus on sustainable actions, an important trend that has been growing for years, as highlighted in Innova Market Insights’ third Top Trend for 2020: Sustain Domain.
“Driven by an increased focus on health, well-being, sustainability and climate concerns among many consumers, the long-term outlook for meat and dairy alternatives is very strong”, says Niall Sands, president of plant-based foods at AAK.
“By investing in BIV’s New Protein Fund I, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to future food innovation.”
Food industry steps up
Big players are investing more heavily in plant-based and sustainable proteins, as illustrated in Beyond Meat and PepsiCo’s PLANeT Partnership.
Nestlé has also made significant strides in advancing plant-based products with the launch of Vuna, a plant-based tuna alternative, last August.
The Swiss food giant has also committed to zero emissions by 2050 with moves such as switching to 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025.