The Encounter Weekly : 1-6 August, 2021

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




IPOs, M&As & Investments:


Gopuff, the U.S delivery startup, has completed a fundraising round and put $1 billion into its coffers, propelling the company to a $15 billion valuation.

Miyoko’s Creamery, which makes plant-based cheese and butter, announced Wednesday that it has raised $52 million in Series C funding. PowerPlant Partners led the round, putting in $40 million, with participation from Cult Capital, Obvious Ventures, Stray Dog and CPT Capital.


Australian plant-based food tech v2food will now accelerate its global expansion, after closing AU$72 million (US$54 million) in a Series B Plus round. Led by European impact VC Astanor Ventures, the round also included prominent Asian investors including China’s Huaxing Growth Capital Fund and ABC World Asia based in Singapore, elevating the food tech’s valuation to over AU$500 million.

Swiss alternative protein company Planted has raised its second round of the year, a CHF 19 million (about $21 million at present) “pre-B” fundraise that will help it continue its growth and debut new products. A U.S. launch is in the cards eventually, but for now Planted’s exclusively European customers will be able to give its new veggie schnitzel a shot.

Estonian micro-mobility scaleup Bolt has announced closing €600 million funding round, increasing Bolt’s valuation to more than €4 billion. The funds will be used to boost their new grocery delivery service, Bolt Market, and accelerate their expansion of existing mobility and delivery products.

The Millennium Food-Tech Partnership is leading a $3.5 million investment round in Yofix Probiotics, an Israeli startup that develops and manufactures plant-based dairy alternatives. The Partnership will invest $2 million alongside other investors including Big Idea Ventures, which is considered one of the world's leading foodtech venture capital funds, the Strauss Group's The Kitchen FoodTech Hub incubator, which is supported by the Israeli Innovation Authority, Muller Ventures, the French food giant Le Groupe Bel, and others.

Ubees, a precision beekeeping and pollination services provider, announced Tuesday that it has secured $8 million in growth capital. This funding was led by WindSail Capital Group, a Boston-based investment firm focused on energy innovation and sustainability.

One of the first global companies to break all the critical barriers of taste, price, and shelf-stability at room temperature, GoodDot is perfectly poised for explosive growth with the help of this investment and support from Sixth Sense Venture, India’s leading consumer venture fund.

Plant-based cereal startup OffLimits pours $2.3M into new products with a round of funding backed by Science Inc., Crosslink, Canaan, DBC Creative CEO Dana Cowin, Surface Magazine CEO Marc Lotenberg, TikTok executive Nick Tran and NTWRK president Moksha Fitzgibbons.

Dutch ag biotech startup Hudson River Biotechnology (HRB) has raised €5 million ($5.94 million) in Series A funding. Half of the round — which was led by UK-based investment firm Bridford Group — consists of non-dilutive funding, according to the startup.

Looking to reach more than 500 million mostly underserved farms worldwide, agtech startup AgroScout has raised $7.5 million in a Series A funding round. The company provides farmers with a comprehensive crop management solution, as well as a sustainability and carbon accountability tool. Including this round, the firm has raised just shy of $11 million.


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John Deere has acquired Bear Flag Robotics, a Californian startup offering autonomous solutions to farmers, for $250 million. This is Deere’s second major automation acquisition in the past four years. It purchased Blue River Technology, a more mature robotics startup, for $305 million in 2017.

Rockshield Capital Corp. has narrowed the focus of its investment strategy on the key areas of sustainable food-tech, plant-based ingredients and agriculture. Working with its affiliate entity Innovative Prairie Snack Foods, Rockshield has acquired pulses processor Belle Pulses and The Healthy Table Superfoods (Sapientia), which together generated US$60 million in revenue, US$15 million in gross profit and US$9 million in EBITDA this year.

Online ordering platform Lunchbox announced Tuesday it has acquired Spread, an online marketplace that aims to offer both restaurants and customers an alternative to Grubhub, DoorDash, and other major third-party delivery services.


News & Trends:


Danone will overhaul its board of directors, its board announced Thursday. The changes were a joint proposal of all current members, a release from the company says, and all members, except for the two representing Danone employees and Chairman Gilles Schnepp, will leave when their terms expire — all by 2023. Moreover, As the company continues to expand its high-growth plant-based beverage business, the company intends to broaden the fixture’s appeal to the majority of consumers ‘not in the category’ through the development of new technologies that deliver ‘dairy-like’ drinks as well as an expansion of its one-year-old partnership with Brightseed, creator of the Forager artificial intelligence, which maps and predicts the health impact of plant-based compounds.

Ferrero has reached its goal to source 100 percent of its refined cane sugar sustainably. As global sugarcane production increases, it brings a range of socio-economic challenges, such as poor working conditions, low wages and poor health and safety.


PepsiCo is selling its juice brands in North America and Europe — including Tropicana and Naked — to private-equity firm PAI Partners for $3.3 billion in pre-tax proceeds. In the deal, PepsiCo will retain a 39% non controlling stake in the brands, as well as exclusive distribution rights for chilled direct store delivery to small format and foodservice channels.

At the heels of the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit, Upfield has published data revealing that consumers and chefs – using their plant-based butters, margarines and spreads instead of dairy butter – have avoided emitting an estimated six million metric tons of CO2-equivalent within 12 months.

Blume aims to invigorate alternative milk space with new adaptogenic concentrate. Blumes’s Adaptogenic Milk Blend has a similar texture to smooth nut butter, and it comes packaged in a glass jar. The base ingredients include almonds, cashews, coconut, and oats. The concentrate is considered adaptogenic because it contains Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Chaga mushrooms, which are supposed to help the body modulate its stress response and increase focus.

​​The Lab Holding, a new DIFC-based hospitality group, has announced the launch of two new food-tech startups through its startup studio. The Lab Holding intends to offer an ecosystem of hospitality and food technology solutions, with the goal of addressing the issues that enterprises in the food and beverage and technology industries confront.


The snacking market is being pulled in a multitude of directions – indulgence versus health, novelty versus comfort, and plant-based versus animal-based. Experts from Symrise, Almond Board of California and Lallemand Bio-Ingredients also speak to FoodIngredientsFirst about the mixed impact of COVID-19 and the rise of snackification.

Kraft Heinz has called on emerging talent in the food industry to help it “unlock the power of Beanz”. Via the latest future food-tech innovation challenge, the company is scouting for start ups that are developing solutions that bring beans or pulses as an application or ingredient on the menu for its consumers

Japan’s Next Meats Co recently revealed plans to start the construction of an eco-friendly production facility called the NEXT Factory, in Niigata, Japan. According to the company, this kind of large-scale facility specifically dedicated to alt proteins is likely to be the first of its kind in Japan and will include solar panels and other sustainable technologies. Completion is scheduled for next summer.

The “Fermented Plant-Based Alternatives Market – A Global and Regional Analysis: Focus on Applications, Products, Patent Analysis, and Country Analysis – Analysis and Forecast, 2019-2026” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. The global fermented plant-based alternatives market is expected to reach $422.26 million by 2026, with a CAGR of 5.0% from 2021 to 2026.

“Farm Tech” investing soared to $7.9 billion in 2020, topping 2019 investments by $2.3 trillion, or 41%, according to AgFunder’s 2021 Farm Tech Investment Report, in collaboration with Upstream Ag Insights.

Governments and businesses hoping to plant trees and restore forests in order to reach net-zero emissions must sharply limit such efforts to avoid driving up food prices in the developing world, the charity Oxfam has warned.

A new CBD made from orange peel could signal a breakthrough for the industry and offer access that was once unimaginable.

A survey of over 2,000 consumers in the UK has revealed that while they tend to have a very low awareness and knowledge of GE food, the more informed they are, the more accepting of GE food they become.

As the global race to develop sustainable solutions heats up to advance a circular economy, Singapore finds itself with an enviable opportunity to take a leadership role. The team conducting research has sourced more than 300 investment opportunities and invested more than $40m in solutions to combat plastic waste and advance the circular economy, hence believing Singapore has the ideal conditions to catalyze a reconfiguration of global supply chains and become a resilience hub for advanced manufacturing.

Ecotone Renewables, a startup by students and graduates of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, wants to change the way the world thinks about food waste — and it wants to use a seahorse to do so. Its system, dubbed the “Seahorse,” uses recycled rain water (hence the sea) and works in the same way a horse’s stomach would when digesting all that hay (hence the horse.) Using a technical process called anaerobic digestion, it takes the “digested'' food waste and turns it into something more useful, specifically fertilizer and energy that can then be reused to create more food.

The generous biotech funds that have transformed other sectors are now backing food and agriculture, with the potential to ‘disrupt’ the food value chain, says a venture capital fund insider.

While the climate crisis has the attention of many businesses around the world, there’s less awareness about the private sector’s relationship to nature. A recent study found that over half the global gross domestic product, worth $44 trillion, is at risk due to the loss of nature.

Kitchen United (KU) will expand its ghost kitchen network to include Kroger locations thanks to a just-announced partnership between KU and the grocery retailer. KU kitchens will be located at various Kroger locations, the first of these being at a Ralphs in Los Angeles slated to open this fall.

Beyond Meat today announced the expansion of its partnership with A&W Canada with the introduction of Beyond Meat Nuggets. A&W is a fast food franchise chain with over 900 locations across Canada with some in Asia, which has been serving the Beyond Meat Burger since 2018.


The growing world population has raised the global demand and production of food including livestock products. However, animal product consumption has become a source of harmful impacts on the environment, and, some argue, health. To tackle the harmful effects of livestock systems and reduce the population’s reliance on livestock, the Israeli FoodTech incubator The Kitchen Hub has sought to leverage its resources to cultivate sustainable innovations in the food industry.

Benson Hill, a food tech company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants with its cutting-edge food innovation engine, announced Wednesday the launch of the Benson Hill Food System Innovators Program (the "FSI Program"). Through the FSI Program, the Company is collaborating with leading farmers to evaluate its technologies in commercial production environments. Insights from the FSI Program will further expand the capabilities of the Company's proprietary CropOS® technology platform and optimize field-specific product outcomes and quality traits. One near-term focus of the FSI Program is to continue maximizing the protein content of the Company's innovative soybean varieties intended for the human food ingredients market.

Motif FoodWorks has inked two new partnerships with UK universities – King’s College London and Imperial College London – to understand better how the mechanics of eating impacts sensory attributes such as astringency in plant-based protein formulations.

Demetria, the first AI-powered taste and quality intelligence SaaS startup for the coffee supply chain, today unveils a working application that identifies the successful reproduction of high value coffee seedlings. Demetria has entered into a commercial agreement with Nespresso to deploy this solution having conducted a pilot, enabling the coffee brand to enhance operational capacity and efficiency by providing high quality coffee plants to farmers.

A San Francisco climate science startup has joined forces with a Toowoomba seed company and a Goondiwindi agtech business to launch an on-farm decision making tool for Australian growers. ClimateAI, Pacific Seeds and Goanna Ag have designed a platform called Skip, which combines climate analytics with a regional weather network to help growers identify and manage on-farm climate risks. Pacific Seeds marketing manager Andrew Short said the platform would allow growers to look at farm specific short term and season ahead weather forecasts, and in an industry first, could also add customised crop alerts to assist with their on-farm decisions.

Wednesday, Too Good to Go — the tech-for-good company behind the world's #1 app for fighting food waste — released its first-ever impact report and announced its commitment to being “carbon neutral+” — essentially, extracting more carbon from the atmosphere than it produces from 2020 onwards. The report highlights the startup’s key environmental and social impact efforts, activities and progress over the past year globally.