The Encounter Weekly: 20-26 November, 2021

Stay up to date with the most recent news, investments and partnerships regarding the agrifood tech industry and sustainability.


IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Impossible Foods has secured $500 million in a new funding round led by existing investor Mirae Asset Global Investments. Other existing investors, unnamed at this time, also participated.

Bespoke packaging marketplace, Packhelp, has just raised €40 million in Series B funding. The Warsaw-based company, launched in 2016, has become one of Europe’s leading custom packaging marketplaces.


Infant nutrition company Helaina raised $20 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Spark Capital and Siam Capital.


New Culture, the San Francisco startup developing animal-free cheese, has closed its Series A round with $25 million. The funds will go towards scaling up production and growing its team ahead of the launch of its precision fermentation mozzarella cheese in pizzerias by 2022.


Amara is the latest startup in this space to raise funding, announcing last week that it brought in $12 million Series A funding to expand its product line of nutrient-dense foods created for children up to seven years old.

Fasal, an agritech start-up focused on precision agriculture, raised $4 million (around Rs 29.6 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by 3one4 Capital, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Slovenian startup Juicy Marbles, is announcing a $4.5 million seed raise to get its first hunk of prime plant protein to market — starting with the (vegan) filet mignon, which is slated for a Q1 2022 launch.


US asset manager Optimum Agriculture has announced a strategic investment in agrifoodtech VC and accelerator The Yield Lab LatAm (YLL). The fund, which has a $50 million target size and plans to invest in roughly 30 companies over the next five years.

Almost exactly one year after launching, Canada’s $100 million Telus Pollinator Fund for Good is expanding the number of “responsible agriculture” ventures in its portfolio with investments in Montreal-based beekeeping tech startup Nectar and Los Angeles alt-dairy company Goodmylk.

Announced on the 23th November, the Carbon Innovation Fund will run for three years, offering £1m in grant funding annually to community environmental causes, social enterprises, charities, start-ups and collaborative projects working on solutions for a more sustainable food system.


John Lewis Partnership has established a £1 million fund in the hope of supporting projects that could speed the shift to a circular economy.

Big Idea Ventures announced the list of startups that are part of their bi-annual accelerator program. These 17 companies focused on food and climate challenges were selected to receive pre-seed investment through the firm’s offices in New York, Singapore, and Paris.


Tiamat Sciences a biotech startup developing a more cost-effective biomolecule aimed at replacing more costly bioreactors, announced a $3 million seed financing, led by True Ventures, with participation from Social Impact Capital and Cantos.


Berlin foodtech startup Perfeggt has just closed €2.5 million for its chickenless egg product. Backers include EVIG Group, Stray Dog Capital, E²JDJ, Tet Ventures, Good Seed Ventures, Sustainable Food Ventures and Shio Capital


Sundial Foods, has announced the closing of a $4 million seed funding round, which saw participation from Swiss food giant Nestlé among others.


Investment company Agronomics, which has a focus on cellular agriculture, has led the pre-seed funding round for cultivated meat company Ohayo Valley.


Swedish plant-based brand Peas of Heaven is heading for European expansion, fueled by a €2.7 million late seed round capital raise. The alt meat brand will use the funding to further fulfill its mission of making it easier for more people to eat less meat.

Macai, a Milan-based grocery delivery startup launched earlier this year, has just picked up a €2.6 million pre-seed round. This is the largest ever in the Italian market, and an important milestone for the local and European ecosystem, representing a change in our shopping habits.

Danish biotech startup Kaffe Bueno announced this month that it has secured new $2.8 million grant from the European Innovation Council, which it will use to construct its first—and the world’s first—coffee biorefinery.


Breakthrough U.S. indoor agriculture company Local Bounti Corporation announced the successful closing of its approximately $1.1 billion business combination with Leo Holdings III Corp.

Odd Burger, the first vegan fast-food chain to go public, announces it has entered the Frankfurt Stock Exchange to begin trade in the European market, and that it has received eligibility from the Depository Trust Company (DTC), enabling its stock to be more easily purchased by US investors.

Mondelēz International will invest $122.5 million over three years to boost capacity at its Richmond, Virginia, location, the commonwealth's governor said in a statement.

J.M. Smucker will invest $1.1 billion to build a new manufacturing facility and distribution center in McCalla, Alabama, to produce its Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches, the company said in a statement. The plant will create up to 750 jobs.

Ambienta has revealed that its platform company Nactarome, a key European player in the European markets for food colors, flavors and ingredients, continues its growth with the acquisition of Fabbrica Italiana Aromi Speciali (FIAS).

Zikooin Company secures 28 billion Won — around $23 million — including 6 billion Won for the construction of a new production plant set to be one of the largest plant-based meat factories in Asia.

Agfunder’s Data Snapshot: Agrifoodtech’s epicenter shifted farther east in H1 – but US still rules the roost


 

News & Trends:


Company X is now an Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure customer – ie, they’re using the tech giants’ processing power for their digital platforms. Not exactly news, which usually means a pass for AFN.

Fish populations are in a far worse state than previously estimated, according to Minderoo Foundation’s Global Fishing Index (GFI), the most extensive independent assessment of global fish stocks to date.

Givaudan is catering to the market analysis needs of customers in the Nordic region with the opening of the Givaudan Nordic Experience Centre in Malmö, Sweden.

How can industry achieve a circular bio-economy in food packaging? The solution lies in valorising waste into packaging products that can later be biodegraded back into soil, according to Professor Jose Lagaron from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research.

Abu Dhabi agricultural technology company Silal is upgrading 80 farms with new smart monitoring and irrigation technology and training farmers on how to use it amid a broader push for food security in the UAE.

UK start-up company Tarwi Foods has released its new range of lupin bean-based snacks that are healthy and nutritious.

International coffee chain Starbucks and dairy supplier Arla are partnering to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy. In addition, Dairy supplier Arla claims ‘revolutionary’ new technology to separate milk into its different protein components opens the door to ‘infinite innovation possibilities’.

Foodland Ventures recently announced the APAC AgriFood Tech Ecosystem Map 2021 ahead of the virtual APAC Food & Beverage Innovation Summit 2021. The map is set to demonstrate that major leaps in development are emerging in the APAC region, with Singapore leading the way.

Most meat alternatives don’t contain the type of fat found in conventional meat, meaning they may struggle to achieve the right taste and texture. But Swedish company Mycorena says it has found a solution.

Shiok has officially opened the doors to its mini-plant on Monday, marking the first-ever cell-based seafood advanced R&D facility to land in Singapore.

Enzymes are core ingredients in processing and formulating many food varieties. They can be utilized to enhance a number of aspects of plant-based and clean label recipes, from flavor and texture – to anti-curdling, foaming and frothing properties.

The avoidance of alcohol is fast becoming the norm for a growing minority of global consumers. While this trend is evidenced across all age groups, it is most apparent in Generation Z consumers, with as many as a third of consumers aged 18-25 now saying that they never consume alcohol, according to a new report from Innova Market Insights.

Last week, Snapchat became the latest company to add an AI-powered food scanning and recognition feature to their product. Called Food Scan, the new feature enables Snapchat users to scan food items and get recipe suggestions and other information about the food.

After a leaf falls to earth, it becomes part of the soil, which then sustains new life. This cyclical process has become an inspiration for farmers and food producers, particularly in aquaponics and permaculture.