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The Encounter Weekly - 4-10 September, 2021

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

IPOs, M&As & Investments:

Agrifoodtech startups globally raised $24 billion in the first half of 2021 – getting very close to the total for all of 2020, which broke records with around $30 billion in funding for the category. While mega-deals involving seven Chinese e-Grocery startups accounted for $3.8 billion of H1’s figure, funding to other countries is still on track to outpace 2020 levels, according to the latest data from AgFunder

Australian food challenger All G Foods has raised AU$16 million in seed funding for the development of its alt protein and food-positive brands. Headed by serial entrepreneur Jan Pacas, the All G Foods seed funding round scores as one of Australia’s largest ever.

​​Food ingredient startup Proeon has raised $2.4 million as Seed capital. The funding round, led by entrepreneur Shaival Desai, also saw participation from Flowstate Ventures, Peak Sustainability Venture Fund I, Waoo Partners, and other angel investors. Existing investor SanjayaMariwala, managing director, OmniActive Health Technologies Limited.

OLIO, a U.K. startup with an app that lets users post a photo of unwanted food and share it with the local neighborhood, has raised a $43 million Series B round.

Blendid, the maker of smoothie-making robots, announced it had raised $2 million via crowdfunding platform StartEngine. According to the announcement sent to The Spoon, the raise brings the company’s total funding to $20 million raised through venture capital, strategic funding, and crowdfunding.

Cajoo, a 15 minutes or less fast grocery delivery specialist from France, has raised $40 million in fresh funding. The lead investor on the deal for the startup with the sneezy-sounding name is grocery giant Carrefour. As part of the deal, Carrefour will allow Cajoo to leverage its purchasing organization.

An autonomous laser-powered weeder is attracting big green from investors. Carbon Robotics recently announced it secured $27 million in Series B financing to help in its quest to eliminate weeds without herbicides.

Honey Mama´s, a Portland-based foodtech startup, has secured a $10.3 million Series A financing round to continue offering its nutrient-rich products. The funds will be used to fuel the startup’s continued exponential growth rate by accelerating brand awareness, emerging channel development, and product innovations efforts.

Bengaluru-based foodtech startup GoodMylk has raised $1 million in a seed round extension from a clutch of domestic and international angel investors. Till date, the plant-based food startup has raised $1.8 million, according to a release from the company.

Legit Group, a Jakarta-based cloud kitchen company, has raised US$3 million in a seed round led by East Ventures. AC Ventures also participated in the fundraise.

Kellogg plans to invest about $45 million in restructuring its North American supply chain over the next three years as it seeks to meet demand for its ready-to-eat cereals. The company expects the plan to "help offset cost inflation and reinvest in our brands," according to a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Online real estate platform EasyKnock is hoping to offer farmers a way to improve their cash flow with its recent acquisition of ag-focused counterpart FarmlandFinder.

Azelis, a service provider for the specialty chemicals and food ingredients industries, has announced its initial public offering (IPO) and intention to list shares on the regulated Euronext Brussels market. The company targets €880 million (US$1.04 billion) in gross proceeds from the new shares. It hopes these net proceeds, together with borrowings under Azelis’ new credit facilities will strengthen its financial position significantly.


News & Trends:

A new report by AI-powered food intelligence solution Tastewise, examining alt-meat trends in the US, finds that alt-meat is now mentioned 1320% more frequently on restaurant menus than before the pandemic and that plant-based meat is now valued at $1.4 billion. Furthermore, an article published Monday in La Vanguaria reported that, according to recent data from the consultancy Nielsen, plant-based companies in Spain had a turnover of 86.5 million euros in 2020, an increase of 31% compared to 2019.

Erel Margalit, founder and chairperson of venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) has launched Margalit Startup City Galil, an international foodtech center in Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel.

The food and beverage industry is filled with tough and ruthless competition. Many managers and owners, from small boutique cafes to large hotel food chains, have been looking for new ways to reinvent, market, and spice up their food and drinks menus, while delivering a better dining experience for guests. Here are the 8 most food tech startups which swerve up the latest culinary innovations: Hyper Food Robotics, the First Autonomous Fast Food Store, which creates robotic and Interactive Cocktail Maker, Ripples to print on Beverages, Talking Bread which turns your bread into media, Tabit which gives a 360° MobileFirst Restaurant Solution, Tastewise which uses data to know what’s trending, Weissbeerger to understand what your clients are drinking and EatEat, a company which reinvents the menu experience.

Equinom will produce custom pea protein for use in Meatless Farm's products as part of a new supply agreement between the food tech company and Meatless ingredients subsidiary Lovingly Made Ingredients. The new pea protein from Equinom will deliver about 50% more protein and reduce Meatless Farm's overall carbon footprint, according to their statement.

Cargill has inaugurated a US$150 million pectin production facility, located in Bebedouro – the heart of Brazil’s citrus-growing region. Its proximity to citrus fields ensures an abundant supply of fresh fruit peels, the raw material required for premium pectin production. The facility will produce a full range of Cargill’s HM pectins, significantly increasing the company’s supply of the label-friendly texturizing ingredient and expanding production presence to two continents – South America and Europe.

Diageo launches £185m Edinburgh whisky emporium on former site of Binns department store.

The aquaculture sector is growing quickly – but concern is mounting that innovation in sustainable practices is failing to keep pace. The Millennial Salon Project brings together partners from across the value chain to answer this challenge in farmed salmon.

To make procurement easier for business owners in Zambia, Mutambo began tackling Africa’s logistics challenges head-on – first through his own company Musanga Logistics, which facilitated FMCG distribution across Zambia; then with LORI, a larger logistics firm that specifically catered to restaurants. His newest endeavor is Kibanda TopUp, a Nairobi-based tech venture he launched last February with his business partner, Emilie Blauwhoff, to help restaurants manage their inventory.

Startups are popping up across Africa with no shortage of novel alt-protein innovations. In the vegan protein scene, VeggieVictory pioneered the concept in Nigeria, becoming the country’s first-ever plant-based meat brand. Based in Lagos, the company’s range includes plant-based meals tailored to Nigerian cuisine, as well as international fare like meatless soy-based burger patties, shawarmas and hot dogs. Catching the eye of international investors for its pre-seed, the company is now gearing up to launch vegan beef jerky.

Mondelēz International has successfully placed its first green bond, the largest ever green bond in the Packaged Foods and Consumer Goods Industry.

Kemin Industries is driving further growth in clean label food preservation on the back of its growth in rosemary innovation. The company’s proprietary rosemary is formulated into effective clean label solutions to help keep food fresher, safer and more flavorful.

Increased investment in biodiversity is needed to eradicate hunger and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Nomad, the largest frozen food producer in Europe, decarbonises value chain with new interim targets. Infact, it has set new emissions targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which will see the company achieve a 25% reduction in absolute terms by 2025.

Who said meat imitations can’t be healthy? New research rejects the notion fake meats should be perceived as low-quality, ultra-processed foods.

Global grasslands are a source of biodiversity and provide a host of benefits to humans, including food production, water supply, and carbon storage. But their future looks bleak without action to halt their degradation and promote their restoration, according to the authors of a new paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.

A biotech company by the name of Ginkgo Bioworks is applying to synthetic biology the same principles of computer programming that companies like Microsoft and Apple pioneered that transformed our daily lives.

The “nexus” between biodiversity, healthy diets and the climate crisis has been underscored by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) director-general QU Dongyu during his address to the World Conservation Congress, currently underway in Marseille, France. Once again, the discourse is centered on the vital relationship that global food systems and production have with the rapid onset of climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and many other environmental aspects like soil degradation and loss of conservation.


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