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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.

The New Protein Fund will support emerging ventures developing both plant- and cell-based proteins.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.

Sustain domain
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.

KARLSHAMN, SWEDEN – Ingredient supplier AAK Group is investing in Big Idea Ventures’ New Protein Fund I, a fund dedicated to early-stage businesses in plant- and cell-based meat, seafood, dairy products and ingredient applications. AAK did not disclose how much it is investing.

“By combining capital and partnership, New Protein Fund I is targeting to build and accelerate future global companies in the plant-based, cell-based, and alternative protein ecosystem,” said Johan Westman, president and chief executive officer of AAK Group. “With this investment, AAK gets closer to prospering early-stage businesses that 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.”

Big Idea Ventures invests in entrepreneurs seeking to address such significant problems as hunger, climate change and pollution. With offices in New York and Singapore, the company currently has two investment funds and two accelerator programs. Big Idea’s New Protein Fund totals $50 million and its Generation Food Fund is raising $250 million and will target technologies and companies that will transform the global food system by reducing plastics, water, waste and carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.

“We’re pleased AAK has joined our world-class corporate partners as an investor in the New Protein Fund as it will allow us to strengthen our reach in both Europe and Asia,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of Big Idea Ventures. “AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.”

KARLSHAMN, SWEDEN – Ingredient supplier AAK Group is investing in Big Idea Ventures’ New Protein Fund I, a fund dedicated to early-stage businesses in plant- and cell-based meat, seafood, dairy products and ingredient applications. AAK did not disclose how much it is investing.

“By combining capital and partnership, New Protein Fund I is targeting to build and accelerate future global companies in the plant-based, cell-based, and alternative protein ecosystem,” said Johan Westman, president and chief executive officer of AAK Group. “With this investment, AAK gets closer to prospering early-stage businesses that 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.”

Big Idea Ventures invests in entrepreneurs seeking to address such significant problems as hunger, climate change and pollution. With offices in New York and Singapore, the company currently has two investment funds and two accelerator programs. Big Idea’s New Protein Fund totals $50 million and its Generation Food Fund is raising $250 million and will target technologies and companies that will transform the global food system by reducing plastics, water, waste and carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.

“We’re pleased AAK has joined our world-class corporate partners as an investor in the New Protein Fund as it will allow us to strengthen our reach in both Europe and Asia,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of Big Idea Ventures. “AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.”

KARLSHAMN, SwedenMarch 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — To support new and emerging start-up companies developing alternative meat and dairy products and to create further collaboration opportunities with some of the most recognized players in the food industry, AAK AB (publ.) will invest in Big Idea Ventures’ (BIV) New Protein Fund I.

This niche fund is focusing on early-stage ventures within plant- and cell-based meat, seafood, and dairy products, as well as ingredients and technologies that facilitate the growth of these categories.

“By combining capital and partnership, New Protein Fund I is targeting to build and accelerate future global companies in the plant-based, cell-based, and alternative protein ecosystem”, said Johan Westman, President and CEO, AAK Group. “With this investment, 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.”

“We’re pleased AAK has joined our world-class corporate partners as an investor in the New Protein Fund as it will allow us to strengthen our reach in both Europe and Asia“, said Andrew D. Ive, Founder and General Managing Partner of Big Idea Ventures. “AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.”

Partnering with BIV will give AAK an additional platform to support the fast-growing categories of meat and dairy alternatives. At the end of last year, AAK joined the MISTA innovation platform in San FranciscoUSA. In addition, AAK recently announced its establishment of a Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence in the Netherlands, set to be operational later this year.

“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”, said Niall Sands, President Plant-based Foods at AAK. “By investing in BIV’s New Protein Fund I, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to future food innovation.”

The investment in the fund has no material impact on AAK’s earnings.

BIV has a global footprint with offices and accelerator programs in New York and Singapore, soon also in Paris. Please visit https://bigideaventures.com/new-protein-fund/ for more information on BIV’s New Protein Fund I.

For more information, please contact: 

                                   

                                   

Niall Sands 

                                   

                                   

Worth Sparkman

                                               

                                   

President Plant-based Foods

                                   

Big Idea Ventures, communications                                          

                                   

Mobile: +44 7814 225 115 

                                   

Mobile: +1 479 236 0674                                             

                                   

E-mail: niall.sands@aak.com

                                   

E-mail: worth@bigideaventures.com                               

To support new and emerging start-up companies developing alternative meat and dairy products and to create further collaboration opportunities with some of the most recognized players in the food industry, AAK AB (publ.) will invest in Big Idea Ventures’ (BIV) New Protein Fund I.

This niche fund is focusing on early-stage ventures within plant- and cell-based meat, seafood, and dairy products, as well as ingredients and technologies that facilitate the growth of these categories.

“By combining capital and partnership, New Protein Fund I is targeting to build and accelerate future global companies in the plant-based, cell-based, and alternative protein ecosystem”, said Johan Westman, President and CEO, AAK Group. “With this investment, 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.”

“We’re pleased AAK has joined our world-class corporate partners as an investor in the New Protein Fund as it will allow us to strengthen our reach in both Europe and Asia”, said Andrew D. Ive, Founder and General Managing Partner of Big Idea Ventures. “AAK’s partnership will provide expertise for ingredients that are vitally important to the production of plant- and cell-based foods being developed by the world’s most promising entrepreneurs.”

Partnering with BIV will give AAK an additional platform to support the fast-growing categories of meat and dairy alternatives. At the end of last year, AAK joined the MISTA innovation platform in San Francisco, USA. In addition, AAK recently announced its establishment of a Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence in the Netherlands, set to be operational later this year.

“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”, said Niall Sands, President Plant-based Foods at AAK. “By investing in BIV’s New Protein Fund I, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to future food innovation.”

The investment in the fund has no material impact on AAK’s earnings.

BIV has a global footprint with offices and accelerator programs in New York and Singapore, soon also in Paris. Please visit https://bigideaventures.com/new-protein-fund/ for more information on BIV’s New Protein Fund I.

For more information, please contact:

Niall Sands Worth Sparkman
President Plant-based Foods Big Idea Ventures, communications
Mobile: +44 7814 225 115 Mobile: +1 479 236 0674
E-mail: niall.sands@aak.com E-mail: worth@bigideaventures.com
Co-hosted by Evolve.ag and Big Idea Ventures, this event will offer insights from experts on how to propel cell ag into the future.

About this Event

In this free, one-hour long roundtable, you’ll hear from Singapore’s pioneers in the cellular agriculture sector:

Fengru Lin – TurtleTree

Vin Srinivas – Gaia Foods

Dr. Sandhya Sriram – Shiok Meats

Dr. Matthew Zhao – Big Idea Ventures

We’ll examine how Singapore became the first country in the world to commercially approve cellular agriculture, also known as cultured meat or lab-grown protein, for human consumption. We’ll also discuss the regulatory environment of cellular agriculture, food safety, and consumer perception.

OPENING CONVERSATION: WHAT’S NEXT FOR FOOD’S MOST VIBRANT GROWTH MARKET?

Impossible Foods raised $200 million in 2020 at a valuation of over $4 Billion.  Is this insanity or a massive trend you can’t miss?   Come hear three panelists at the forefront of plant-based foods talk about the innovation imperatives for the industry and where they see the next wave of growth. 

The Joseph Priestley Society welcomes a panel of industry leaders for a virtual discussion about the development and commercialization of nonanimal foods.

Print ad for Dow depicting woman buying groceries, 1952Dow Chemical Company print advertisement: “Food…fit for an American,” May 24, 1952.

Science History Institute

 

In recent years the number of people pursuing flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles has risen. In response several start-up and established companies are developing and commercializing nonanimal foods to provide alternatives to animal-based meat. The technology follows one of two paths—either formulating plant-based products or using cell cultures to “grow” meat.

This program will bring together representatives from companies active in the field, discussing this sector’s growth and the challenges to consumer adoption of alternative meats. Technical challenges aside, these companies must also address regulatory, economic, and consumer-perception hurdles.

Attendees will come away with a better understanding of the most significant transformation of the food industry in decades and how it will affect peoples’ dietary choices in the future.

“Neither Fish nor Fowl” is this year’s Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture, created by the Science History Institute to showcase periodic addresses on the role of research in the development of technology and industry by eminent practitioners in the chemical and molecular sciences.

This event is coproduced by the American Chemical Society as part of its ACS Webinars series.

Panelists

Early stage food tech investor and accelerator Big Idea Ventures has announced developments that will strengthen its presence in both the EU and in the U.S.

The EU

In 2019 Big Idea launched its New Protein Fund – a fund with a goal to raise $50 million to make seed and early stage investments in plant-based and cell-based food, ingredient, and technology companies.

Today, the fund announced it has secured structured support from key European investors including the Bel Group and the Buhler Group, with a target set to open an accelerator in Paris this year that will join its existing accelerators in New York and Singapore.

Special support is being received from Bel Group as part of a partnership being built to “strengthen the expertise and capacity for accelerating projects detected and integrated into the fund”.

Big Idea Ventures noted that creating a balance between plant and animal food proteins is a key factor in creating a food system that has the ability to continue to feed a growing population while also preserving the planet.

This investment from the Bel Group is demonstrative of its desire to support innovative startups developing solutions that meet these shifting nutritional needs and challenges of sustainable food production.

“This investment by Bel — based in Paris and a major global player in single serving healthy snacking — will provide The New Protein Fund with more than additional capital,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner, Big Idea Ventures.

“It is a strategic partnership to continue investing in and supporting the world’s most promising entrepreneurs who are actively creating the future of alternative proteins in Europe and beyond.”

Demand for alternative proteins, particularly plant-based proteins, continues to grow. Between 2017 – 2019, U.S. consumer spending on plant-based foods increased by more than 28 percent, from $3.9 billion – $5 billion, according to data from The Good Food Institute. Of all categories, plant-based milks are the most developed, however, plant-based cheeses grew by 51 percent over this same time period, while Europe is seeing growth in its number of flexitarian eaters.

“By identifying and supporting as early as possible the start-ups and projects involved in inventing tomorrow’s food, Bel is demonstrating its desire to make these solutions a reality and make them accessible to all,” said Caroline Sorlin, general manager, Bel’s Plant-Based Acceleration Unit.

“This partnership embodies our model: constantly innovating, co-constructing with all those who share our values and vision. Plant-based products now complement our milk-based offer: consumers are more and more looking for a plant-based offer and we aim to provide them with a quality proposition.”

The U.S.

Across the pond in the U.S., Big Idea announced the appointment of former Deputy Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development Bette Brand, and former Under Secretary for USDA Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey as senior advisors to its $125 million General Food Rural Partners (GFRP) Fund.

Launched in January of this year the GFRP fund is working with multiple universities to commercialize innovative IP born in academia that has the transformative power to disrupt global food supply chains, and then to financially back the companies developed around those innovations.

The fund will take a longer-term view, investing in ag innovation, foods, and protein, according to Tom Mastrobuoni, chief investment officer with Big Idea Ventures, who told Food Navigator-USA, “We understand that these companies will take longer to build, and we’re targeting a 15-year fund life, and a longer investment period, but we saw that the model would work, that we could take companies from university research, add capital, add talent, and help them get to a phase of commercialization.”

In their new roles, Brand and Northey will leverage their deep experience in the space to advise the GFRP fund managers on how to identify the rural communities best suited to locate new businesses and to assist the Big Idea team to expand its networks in the ag and food innovation industries.

Brand is the president and CEO of Strategic Consulting in Roanoke, Virginia. She served three years with USDA Rural Development, later as Deputy Secretary where she led a team of 4,500 across 377 field offices. Agencies under her direction included Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service, and Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Prior to serving with the USDA, Brand was with Farm Credit of Virginia for 16 years, and other farm credit organizations since 1982.

“I’m very glad to be a part of this advisory team,” said Brand. “My entire career has been focused on helping farmers build economically viable businesses so they can raise food to feed the world. This fund continues that path in a new and unique way.”

Hailing from a fourth-generation corn and soybean farm in northwest Iowa, Northey was confirmed as an Under Secretary for the USDA in 2018, after which he led the Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area where he oversaw the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Risk Management Agency, and the Farm Service Agency. Prior to his time with the USDA, Northey served as the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture from 2007-2018.

“Big Idea Ventures is glad to bring onboard thought leaders and advisors like Bette and Bill to the GFRP fund,” said Ive. “They know the intricacies of agriculture and rural development and will help make this effort a success for the communities, the universities and the investors in the fund.”

In 2008, when faux fish was served during a religious gathering of strict vegetarians, people got angry at the sight of fish on their plates, and in no time, chaos ensued. The customers failed to understand how fish could be plant-based, said Harish Jadhvani, co-founder and CEO of Ahimsa Food.

“We had to explain to the clients that the product was completely plant-based, but there was a lot of anger among the gatherers,” Jadhvani told KrASIA.

Over the years as people got aware of what mock meats are and their benefits, the 12-year-old Delhi-headquartered company managed to earn its customers’ trust and respect.

Ahimsa Foods is one of the few brands that offer plant-based meat dishes to users who are trying to eat healthy by avoiding non-vegetarian food. The wave of people turning vegans has also been catching on in India, fuelling the migration away from animal meat.

This trend has resulted in a major innovation in the food and restaurant industry that is now trying to appease such clientele with plant-based dishes that taste like chicken, fish, or mutton.

Similar to Ahimsa Food, Rajasthan-based Gooddot sells ready-to-cook vegan meat dishes, while its quick-service restaurant subsidiary Gooddo sells plant-based dishes that look like meat. The company said its raw plant-based meat has been perfected to match the texture of real meat, while the end taste is derived from the cooking style. For instance, to make Thai Green Curry, the startup has partnered with chefs and culinary experts from Thailand to ensure it has its authentic taste.

These companies use a combination of protein rich ingredients like chickpeas, soybean, and other similar legumes.

“Most people are drawn to meat for its texture,” said Abhinav Sinha, vice-president of Strategy, Gooddot.

“There’s a big difference in the overall philosophy of food between the West and the East,” said Sinha. In the West, the meat itself is considered to be the most important ingredient and the recipes involve preserving the integrity and freshness of the meat, he said. But in India, meat is simply a textural component that carries different flavors, which are the most important aspects of an Indian dish, he added.

Although India was slow to adopt an alternative animal protein diet, things have changed over the decade. And with bird flu quickly emerging as the new pandemic threat, people are looking for alternate options to animal meat for their protein intake. Europe and Asia are battling their worst outbreak of bird flu and as of February 12, 14 Indian states have confirmed avian flu outbreaks with Maharashtra being the worst affected.

Even last year, while the COVID-19 pandemic was raging on, the faux meat market in India gained prominence amid fears of disease transmission. During the pandemic, Sinha said, “We saw an almost 50% jump in our overall sales, queries, as well as website hits.”

Ahimsa Food, however, experienced a decline in sales due to logistics disruption and restaurant shutdowns amid the nationwide lockdowns, although its online sales increased. The startup is yet to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and now followed by the bird flu outbreak, awareness of alternative protein products was seeing steady growth, albeit slowly. “The Western culture has been significantly moving away from animal meat over the past five years, and there is a similar follow-on effect in India,” said Sinha. There has been an increase in awareness, acceptance, and purchase intent for plant-based meats in India, he added.

A 2018 report said the plant protein market of India captures around 10% of the Asia-Pacific plant protein market. It said the major drivers of this market are the rising purchasing power of middle income and lower-income families, growing youngsters, and the middle-aged population interested in lactose and gluten-free products. By 2023, it said, the plant protein market will be worth USD 565.1 million, registering at a CAGR of 8.6%.

Increasing popularity

India is misconstrued to be mainly a vegetarian country as nearly 70% of the country’s population consumes animal protein. But the demand for plant-based protein is coming from both sides of the food habit spectrum. “I think about two-thirds of our customers are non-vegetarians and about one-third are vegetarians,” said Sinha.

Even strict vegetarians are now looking at plant-based protein for health reasons.

While talking to KrASIA, Mumbai-based plant-based alternative protein startup Evo Food’s co-founder and CEO Kartik Dixit reminisced about one of the conversations with a prospective customer.

“A 65-year-old man from Haridwar who is a purely spiritual man and has never consumed any kind of animal-based product in his life, reached out to us saying that he wanted to try plant-based eggs for his dad because of his protein requirements.” Haridwar is a small Hindu pilgrimage city where the sale of meat and eggs is prohibited by law.

Keeping the health-conscious customer base in mind, Evo markets its product as a plant-based alternative to egg, with the same taste, color, and texture, but with nutrition as its prime focus. Evo has ensured that its product has zero cholesterol and is infused with amino acids and Vitamin D.

The startup has been testing its liquid egg in the market over the last six months and is preparing to launch it commercially by next week. Dixit believes focusing on an egg alternative gives Evo a better chance at gaining a foothold in the fast-crowding mock meat market.

“Companies are really not playing in this area of plant-based eggs so we want to be dedicated to that,” said Dixit. Besides, “egg is a sort of protein source for most people, that they are not really that much passionate about. People really love chicken and mutton recipes, but an egg is sort of functional protein-based food and people with different kinds of religious beliefs eat it,” even a subset of vegetarians, he added.

Egg scramble made of plant proteins by Evo. Photo courtesy of Evo.

Evo has signed agreements with 20 brands to introduce Evo egg as a part of their menu in restaurants. However, once the product becomes well accepted, the startup plans to also sell through online channels as a raw ingredient that can be cooked as per choice, said Dixit.

Alternative animal proteins have gained traction in metropolitans as well as semi-urban areas. And the customers come from both upper and lower-middle-income groups.

Gooddot sells its products through restaurants, direct sellers, and its online website. Its subsidiary Gooddo sells its faux meat-based dishes through QSR outlets across Mumbai, Udaipur, and Jaipur.

The startup partners with culinary experts to ensure the authentic end taste of its dishes. Ultimately, Gooddot’s main focus is to create an impact by lowering animal cruelty and slaughter, said Sinha.

According to him, Gooddot’s partnership with RCM, an FMCG direct selling company with an extensive network of stores across India, along with Gooddot’s relatively low-price points has helped the startup generate significant sales volume from the low and middle-income segments.

Market outlook

The total plant protein market, which includes dairy and egg substitutes apart from meat, was estimated to be worth USD 374.1 million in 2018 and is expected to grow at 8.6% CAGR to USD 565.1 million by 2023.

Both Ahimsa Food and Gooddot have grown steadily over the years. Ahimsa Food has witnessed a 25% to 30% year-on-year growth since its inception. Gooddot has been growing 100% year-on-year and currently sells over 15,000 packets of ready-to-cook mock meat dishes every day.

Investors are also bullish on the plant-based protein market in India.

“There is great potential for the faux meat market in India because of the country’s long-established history with plant-based foods and vegetarianism,” said Andrew D. Ive, General Managing Partner of Big Idea Ventures (BIV), a US-based venture capital firm that focuses on food-tech companies. “We think that faux meat strikes a chord with Indian millennials who are particularly keen on eating healthy and ethically-produced food.”

Last year, BIV invested in Evo, which went through its accelerator program. In October last year, BIV also announced its plans to launch an ‘Alternative Protein Fund’ and an accelerator exclusively for Indian entrepreneurs. The Mumbai-based accelerator is set to accept applications this year, while it has started raising capital for its USD 25 million fund.

According to Ive, “The alternative protein sector is in a phase of rapid global growth, and India is one of the most promising markets for an ecosystem of world-class startups to emerge. The conditions in India are ripe for innovation in the alternative protein space,” he said. That’s because India has the largest vegetarian population in the world, and Indian consumers have indicated a strong willingness to try more plant-based products for health and environmental reasons.

With the growing demand for meat and the need for sustainability in the face of climate change, plant-based and other faux meat and animal protein substitutes are not just a choice, but also a necessity. However, adopting a strictly vegan diet may be difficult, and hard to sustain.

Therefore, “We are not telling people to become 100% vegan. The first step is to become a flexitarian. If you’re flexible, you eliminate one day of eating meat, and you substitute it, and slowly get used to the diet,” said Jadhvani.

Lorem ipsum | Vietnam | cesiscompany.vn

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