Swiss food processing giant Bühler and sustainable protein venture capital fund Big Idea Ventures (BIV) has just announced a new partnership to accelerate plant-based startups’ journeys to deliver animal-free protein alternatives. Bühler will join as a global strategic investor in BIV’s New Protein Fund, and the collaboration will see startups in BIV’s portfolio benefit from Bühler’s manufacturing capabilities and facilities, particularly its upcoming plant-based innovation centre in Singapore.
Announced on Thursday (June 11), Singapore and New York-headquartered fund Big Idea Ventures is partnering with 160-year-old food processing giant Bühler to help speed up the alternative protein revolution. Alongside other global strategic investors including Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek and U.S. meat giant Tyson Foods’ investment arm Tyson Ventures, Bühler will help boost the growing food tech ecosystem in the U.S. and Asia.
“Providing safe, nutritious, pleasurable and affordable food to a population of 10 billion people by 2050 and doing that within the planetary boundaries is a formidable challenge,” said Ian Roberts, CTO at Bühler Group. “There is an urgent need for wide-scale collaboration if we are to make an impact on the climate and nutrition challenges within the next decade.”
The New Protein Fund is a global US$50 million fund that invests in companies working on plant-based and cell-based food innovations. BIV also runs four accelerator programmes in New York and Singapore, combining capital, partnerships and mentorship to drive alternative protein growth globally.
Bühler will help emerging food entrepreneurs with its century-long expertise in the food manufacturing and processing industry. Its value chain covers primary processing of traditional grains, pulses, peas, lentils, soy, oats and quinoa, as well as the shaping, forming, texturing and cooling of meat analogues.
“Together, we can support the growth of the new generation of leading plant-based companies in North America, Asia and ultimately, the planet,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and managing general partner of BIV.
BIV’s portfolio of food tech startups will benefit from Bühler’s Food Application Centre in Minneapolis, which is slated to open next week, as well as the group’s upcoming plant-based innovation facility in Singapore. The facility, created jointly with major flavour manufacturer Givaudan, is set to open by year end and is specifically designed for developing food solutions for inevitable climate and nutrition challenges to come.
Choosing Singapore as the destination for the innovation centre signals that Asia is set to lead the new protein economy, especially in the development of animal-free products that can cater to Asian tastes, texture expectations and cooking techniques. The recent wave of news of plant-based startup investments and breakthrough partnerships between food techs and major FMCG giants in Asia indicate that the tide is turning, with consumer demand for alternative protein at an all-time high.
The partnership between BIV and Bühler is likely to further attract talent to the region as well as encourage more investment – both of which are urgently needed in order to drive tasty and accessible options that reach mainstream consumers, ultimately transforming our current food system into one that is healthier and sustainable.
Lead image courtesy of Impossible Foods.