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The Encounter Weekly Wishes You A Happy New Year!

Weekly Roundup: Stay up to date with the most recent Agrifood Tech news, investments and partnerships

IPOs, M&As & Investments:

Alt-protein precision fermentation platform Liberation Labs has closed a $20 million seed round of funding. Funds will be used for, among other things, the purchase and development of a site on which to build its first commercial-scale Launch Facility.

India’s first egg-focused consumer brand, Eggoz Nutrition, has raised $8.8 million in a Series B funding round led by Mumbai-based IvyCap Ventures. The round also saw participation from the existing investors.

AI agtech startup Cromai announces the completion of an aprox $2.9M Series A funding round. The financing saw the participation of Baraúna Venture Capital and individual investors Henrique and Luiza Del Papa, from Agropecuária Sucuri, rural producers in the region of Morro Agudo (SP).

Espoo-based sustainable food platform Nordic Umami Company has raised €€2.6M in a seed funding round.Now the company aims to scale the technology into an industrial-sized pilot plant and further develop its products and portfolio for the food industry.

Food quality startup BlakBear just closed a £2.3m seed round, led by Ada Ventures, with Green Circle Food Tech Ventures, Ponderosa Ventures, Tom Sturgess and REMUS Capital.

Singapore based startup Alterpacks has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding led by Plug and Play APAC and Seed Capital. The new funding will be used for commercialization, including production and supply, in markets like Asia, Australia and Europe.

AppHarvest has entered an agreement with Mastronardi Berea for the sale-leaseback of its Berea greenhouse for leafy greens for approximately $127 million with an initial lease rate of 7.5% over 10 years, with four renewal terms of five years each.

Relationshop, a firm that offers online shopper engagement tools to retailers, announced that it has acquired Israel-based, which provides regional grocers with e-commerce fulfillment services.

Food tech company Moolec Science began trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday after its merger with LightJump Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, completed at the end of 2022.

Benson Hill has entered into an agreement to divest its Fresh business in a two-part transaction for an aggregate purchase price of $21 million.The divestiture will enable the food tech company to focus on global opportunities across its ingredients segment and to meet growing demand for its soybean product portfolio.

Funds, Grants & Partnerships

Oatly Group AB, the world’s original and largest oat drink company, and Ya YA Foods Corp., a leading contract manufacturer of a range of aseptic food and beverage products, announce a long-term strategic hybrid partnership in North America.

Deep-tech cultivated meat food company Steakholder Foods has received its first $1m grant to develop 3D-printed structured eel and grouper products with Singaporean cultivated fish and seafood company Umami Meats.

Energous Corporation and ams OSRAM announced a collaboration on a wirelessly powered multi-spectral light sensor for Controlled-Environment Agriculture (CEA) and vertical farming.

Automation solutions provider Addverb announces a new partnership with leading technology solutions provider Velociti Alliance to bring innovative futuristic warehouse automation and robotics to the c-store and grocery supply chain.

News & Trends:

According to IFIC, because or despite the instability of issues like inflation, supply chain disruptions, technological advancements, and changing consumer desires, these food trends are emerging for 2023

As current innovations are not fulfilling their potential in the food value chain, urgent systems-based solutions, such as digital platforms, are needed to tackle global food problems and build sustainable, resilient, and productive food systems.

According to ReFED, grocery stores, foodservice operators, and consumers often are the focus of waste mitigation efforts, but upstream stakeholders have a part to play, too. Nearly 30 million tons of food is wasted in a year before it gets to retailers and restaurants.

From fragrance-driven LTOs to shopping in the metaverse, consumers will be seeking multi-sensory experiences in 2023. After compiling more than 25 pieces on fragrance, flavor, and lifestyle trends in 2022, the Trendincite LLC team has released a report on underlying themes to consider in the year ahead.

The global vegan food industry is expected to reach $91.9 billion by 2027, according to a new report by market research firm Research and Markets. This means the plant-based food market is forecasted to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1 percent over the next four years.

Combining cellular agriculture technology with diverse, locally available crops allows food producers the chance to provide ‘authentic, next-generation meat alternatives on an industrial scale’, claims the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The food delivery industry is booming and cloud kitchens are driving that growth, especially after change in consumer habits, post pandemic. For this emerging industry, the year 2023 will be crucial, and some trends are already apparent.

The European Commission has granted Novel Food status to FermentIQ MLL and PTP, two of mycelia protein producer MycoTechnology’s main ingredient products. They are produced using a patented mycelial fermentation platform that improves the sensory, functional, and nutritional attributes of plant protein.

Israel is seeking to build an R&D hub for cutting-edge fermentation technology of microorganisms, such as yeast or fungi, to eventually produce alternative proteins on a larger scale and uphold the country’s edge in the field.

After two years of rigorous research and development, Climax is introducing its first "zero-compromise" plant-based products to select audiences in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, while simultaneously building out production facilities for an early 2023 launch date with select distribution partners who will be announced soon.

Investor interest has led molecular farming startups to raise oversubscribed rounds over the past 18 months, but the technology is still facing a number of challenges including scaling up and navigating regulations.

After more than a year of research and development, Heura enters the seafood category, moving from land to sea for the first time with the introduction of Mediterranean-inspired vegan NPDs F’sh Fillet and F’sh Fingers.



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