Green Queen Alt Protein Weekly | May 27 2021 Edition | View online
EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE & INSIGHTS BY GREEN QUEEN
✅ We had the opportunity to speak to Next Gen’s co-founder and COO Andre Menezes about the brand’s rapid expansion, the secret sauce behind its branding success, and what’s coming next for the food tech.
Why it’s important: Next Gen is the startup behind TiNDLE, the plant-based chicken brand that has taken Asia by storm. After debuting in restaurants in Singapore, the company is now taking the brand global, announcing last week that TiNDLE is launching in three Asian cities simultaneously on June 24th: Hong Kong, Macau and Kuala Lumpur, which Next Gen sees as global hubs with what is best in this space globally, hosting leading brands from the USA, Europe and across Asia.
✅ Swiss food giant Nestlé has posted a new opening for a specialist in mammary gland development and lactation biology, signalling that it could be preparing its entry into the cell-cultured infant milk sector.
Why it’s important: the move is seen by industry watchers as a stepping stone for the company to enter cell-based milk and infant nutrition, a sector that is poised to disrupt the lucrative infant milk formula industry that is set to grow to more than US$103 billion by 2026 and has long been at the helm of dairy giants; in fact, Nestlé and Danone are the two biggest players.
FUNDING & INVESTMENT
✅ Swedish oat milk pioneer Oatly’s stock began trading on the Nasdaq last week under the ticker symbol OTLY, opening at US$22.10 per share, a 30% pop from its initial public offering price of US$17 per share, giving the company a valuation of over US$ 13.1 billion.
Why it’s important: oat milk is one of the fastest-growing categories in the dairy-free space, with sales jumping an astounding 294% in enhanced retail channels and 345% in mainstream retailers over the past year, according to SPINS data. Oatly, which largely dominates the oat milk category, reported that its own sales have risen triple-digits for three consecutive years, seeing US$421 million in revenue in 2020.
✅ Sustainable food and agriculture firm Terviva has raised US$45 million in financing to commercialise its novel culinary oil and plant protein ingredients derived from the pongamia tree. It has also forged a partnership with food giant Danone to incorporate its pongamia oil and plant protein into new plant-based food products.
Why it’s important: Terviva says it also expects to close an additional US$24 million in equity and debt capital later this quarter to bring the total funds to US$78 million to further “drive its expansion”. Compared to commonly used oilseed crops, such as palm and soy, the golden cooking oil and soluble plant protein from the beans of the pongamia tree are considered far more planet-friendly because this species of tree promotes the restoration of idle agricultural land suffering from poor soil and water stress. According to Terviva, growing an orchard of pongamia trees helps capture 115 metric tonnes of carbon per acre over the span of three decades.
✅ Alternative dairy food tech startup Vly, which creates milk from pea protein, has raised EUR€6.1M (approx. US$7.4M) in a Series A round led by Five Seasons Ventures. The capital raised will help the company scale its R&D and drive growth across the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and into new European markets, including the United Kingdom.
Why it’s important: the startup went through 400 iterations before creating its alternative dairy milk from yellow split pea protein that is neutral in taste, high in protein and low in sugar. Vly claims the milk is very similar to the nutrients, taste, and functionality of cow’s milk albeit with a much more favourite environmental footprint. Pea dairy is slowly but steadily gaining momentum: in January 2020, Vly launched in 25 stores. A mere 12 months later, its milk is stocked in over 10,000 stores including major German supermarkets like Rewe and Edeka and is serving customers in Austria, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
✅ Seaweed processing and food & material innovation firm Oceanium announced it has raised GBP£2M (approx US$$2.7M) in a second seed round led by the Green Angel Syndicate and global conservation NGO the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The startup plans to use this capital to scale up its production of seaweed for applications in nutritional food products and sustainable packaging materials.
Why it’s important: according to the Safe Seaweed Coalition, seaweed has the potential to contribute to 10% of the world’s food supply by using just 0.03% of the ocean’s surface. Sustainable seaweed farming is a regenerative form of aquaculture that helps capture CO2 and nitrogen, allowing biodiversity to flourish, and can generate employment opportunities for those living along the coastal areas. The company’s biorefinery process is built on decades of experience and provides the technology that is required to extract the maximum value from seaweed.
✅ Biotech firm Because, Animals has announced the closing of its seed-stage financing round led by Orkla ASA that puts the startup’s total financing to date at US$6.7 million. The company aims to use these funds to help ramp up the production of its cell-cultured meat for dogs and cats.
Why it’s important: CEO of Orkla Alternative Proteins, Elin Tveito Lidman, commented: “Because, Animals’ products and technology are truly differentiated, and stand out as a sustainable, healthy, humane way to feed pets. Their progress in developing cell lines, growth media, and driving down cost is impressive – all vital steps in bringing cultured meat technology to market.” A 2017 study found that the carbon pawprint of pet food is at 64 million tons of carbon-dioxide per year in the U.S. alone, and about 25% of the proteins raised in the United States goes to feed pets. This technology could change the face of the industry.
✅ Mylkcubator has launched as the world’s first incubator program dedicated to dairy alternatives produced using cellular agriculture technologies. The six-month program, open annually from 2021, is created by Pascual Innoventures, the innovation arm of Spanish dairy giant Calidad Pascual.
Why it’s important: traditional dairy has been on the decline for years, but the consumer shift to dairy-free alternatives has picked up speed, with plant-based alternatives becoming one of the fastest-growing categories in the alternative protein industry, while cell-based alternatives have yet to debut on the market. This program is a key indicator of the shifting sentiment amongst traditional industry giants, which are having to adapt their skill set to a new market. Selected startups will be able to test their products using Pascual Innoventures’ R&D technologies and facilities, as well as gain access to the Calidad Pascual group’s global network of mentors, food experts and partners, so it’s a huge opportunity.
Image by Joy Della Vita
PRODUCT INNOVATION & LAUNCHES
✅ Fast-food giant Burger King is set to open the world’s first meatless Burger King outlet in Cologne, Germany, which will offer plant-based meats from Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher.
Why it’s important: Burger King is responding to growing consumer demand: according to recent data, over 2020, Germany decreased its animal meat production by 4% whereas the value and manufacturing of the plant-based segment soared to double-digits.
Another study showed that for the first time a majority of people in Germany are reducing their meat consumption with only 45% of German respondents identifying as full meat-eaters, and 31% actively experimenting with flexitarian or meat-reducing diets.
✅ Tokyo-based food tech Next Meats is collaborating with home furnishing giant IKEA Japan to debut a brand new plant-based dish to customers. The dish, made from IKEA’s plant-based curry and Next Meat’s flagship soy-based beef alternative, will be available in select IKEA stores in the country as part of a Sustainable Food Fair.
Why it’s important: the new dish features IKEA’s plant-based curry sauce and Next Meats’ vegan gyudon – a version of the Japanese staple beef bowl made from soy protein and without any additives. Given IKEA’s reach globally, and its commitment to placing plant-based products at the centre of its sustainability strategy, this exposure should be very important for Next Meats.
✅ Dutch cheesemaker Westland Cheese, known for its cheese brands like Maaslander, Old Amsterdam and Trenta, has joined forces with alternative dairy startup Those Vegan Cowboys to launch a plant-based dairy line, WildWestLand, with the first products set to be available in Dutch supermarkets this summer.
Why it’s important: with this new joint venture, Westland becomes the first large traditional Dutch cheese maker to enter the market with a plant-based cheese that is vegan and made from a microbial variety developed from grass. Vegan Cowboy Jaap Korteweg commented: “I hope that our collaboration with Westland Cheese will lead to them reaching their goal of being climate neutral in 2036 by going 100% plant-based, and that it will come with a 1000% growth in turnover. It would be great news for cows, their calves, people and the planet alike.”
✅ Meat alternative brand Akua focuses on making plant-based foods from regenerative aquaculture. The young company has just unveiled what it claims is the world’s first burger made from kelp, a type of highly renewable algae that not only helps absorb carbon but also prevents ocean acidification.
Why it’s important: with the increasing consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives, kelp is a sustainable solution as it is a zero-input crop that doesn’t require freshwater, nor fertilizers, feeds, or arable land to grow.
“Ocean-farmed kelp is one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, and our goal at Akua is to introduce more people to its deliciousness, as well as its environmental and health benefits.”
Courtney Boyd Myers, co-founder and CEO of Akua
✅ Back of the Yards Algae Sciences, a Chicago-based startup, has developed a “unique seafood flavouring” using its algal heme technology. The flavouring product is designed for plant-based fish, shrimp and other seafood alternatives, enabling “true seafood” taste and umami flavour to elevate the consumer experience.
Why it’s important: BYAS says the product has no off-notes, no overpowering “fishy odor” and can close the flavour gap between plant and animal-based seafood and ultimately convince more consumers to choose the cruelty-free, sustainable option. Unlike Impossible’s soy-based heme, which recently won a legal battle against questions over its safety due to it containing GMOs, BYAS makes its algae heme using a natural extraction process that doesn’t require fermentation or genetic engineering.
✅ Sprout Organic, which develops and produces plant-based nutritional products for children, is now taking pre-sale orders and is set to launch its plant-based organic infant formula at two trade shows, the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and the Naturally Good Expo, in an effort to enter the formula sales channels in the Pacific country.
Why it’s important: it is the first company to create infant formula from 100% plant-based and organic ingredients that are certified by ACO, as well as vegan-certified by Vegan Australia. The plant-based milk formula is suitable for infants as well as toddlers and is developed out of rice starch instead of soy, a common allergen that the company says is not suitable for young children. The infant milk formula industry is valued at US$45 billion, so this could be a game-changer.
✅ Delaware startup Superbrewed Food is gearing up to launch a line of animal-free dairy products made with its proprietary microbe-based protein, which was inspired by the gut microbiome of impressively strong herbivores like gorillas and elephants. Having just come out of stealth mode months ago, Superbrewed is planning to debut its nutritious dairy-free milk, cheese and protein powder in the second half of 2021.
Why it’s important: the firm claims that its 85% complete microbe-based protein fermented from corn and separated solvent-free is the highest concentration of protein within a single microbe ever found. Compared to whey protein, Superbrewed’s protein has an even greater concentration of branched chain amino acids. Superbrewed and its technology is part of the rising sector of fermentation within the alternative protein industry, often described as the “third pillar” next to plant-based and cell-based alternatives.
✅ British plant-based egg brand Crackd, which was first introduced to stores in November last year, is now rapidly expanding its distribution within the U.K. and gearing up for its international launch plans. The Hertfordshire-based company will bring its “Crackd The No-Egg Egg” product, originally created for baking but which can be used in any liquid egg application, into major multiples this month, including in Morrisons, before its plan to enter global markets in Summer 2021.
Why it’s important: the brand makes its vegan liquid egg using European Food Safety Authority-approved cold pressed pea protein, nutritional yeast and black salt. Increasing the brand’s exposure is core to its strategy to carve out a new category within the U.K.’s plant-based industry, which is growing faster than ever before ever since the pandemic.
CONSUMER TRENDS & NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
✅ European lawmakers have dropped the big dairy lobby-backed proposals under Amendment 171 that campaigners say amounted to censorship over plant-based dairy products. Under the proposed law, plant-based dairy makers in the E.U. would have been prevented from being sold in cartons, explaining the climate impact of foods and presenting images of their own products.
Why it’s important: the rejection comes after mounting pressure from the months-long campaign led by 21 nonprofits, environmentalists and animal welfare groups. The petition, which argues that the amendment would “totally counteract the consumer shift to more sustainable eating habits that’s urgently needed to fight climate change,” drew more than 456,000 signatures. Power to the people!
✅ A new research collaboration has formed between Chinese agri-food tech firm Pinduoduo and the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI), part of the government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The joint study will focus specifically on the impact of novel plant-based meat on human health with quantifiable data comparing the nutritional differences after replacing traditional animal-based proteins.
Why it’s important: Pinduoduo, one of the leading e-commerce startups in China driving the US$3.6 billion investment boom in online grocery channels within the country in 2020, says that the new nutrition study is part of its “broader objective to safeguard the quality and safety of the food” that is being sold on its platform. For Singapore researchers, the study will provide further insights into how different demographics within its multicultural population will respond to novel plant-based proteins, especially as the city-state continues to bolster its already strong reputation for being a regional food innovation hub.
✅ Vegan dairy brand Miyoko’s Creamery recently unveiled giant billboards all over Times Square featuring the slogan ‘Milk Plants, Hug Cows’. The alt cheese & butter category leader is aiming to raise awareness amongst New Yorkers about cruelty-free dairy and to encourage city dwellers to try plant-based dairy alternatives in order to protect the planet.
Why it’s important: this is Miyoko’s Creamery’s largest advertisement to date and the company predicts that it will reach 50,000 people every day. The billboards, which were installed on May 3, will remain in Times Square until June 27, and their simple but effective message will hopefully encourage the public to view animals differently.
✅ Germany decreased its animal meat production over 2020, but vegan meat manufacturing grew, according to new data released by Destatis, the country’s Federal Statistics Office. Through the year, the total value of meat production in the country fell by 4%, while its plant-based counterparts saw its value grow double-digits, fuelled by mass consumer demand for sustainable and healthier alternatives.
Why it’s important: this marks the first two-year data comparison of the growth of plant-based meat alternatives in Germany, given that Destatis only began collecting statistics on the category in 2019. Consumers in Germany are choosing plant-based alternatives more than ever before, with retail sales within the vegan meat segment growing by an impressive 226% over the past two years to top €181 million (approx. US$218 million) in market value. In response to soaring demand, retailers in Germany are now ramping up their share of vegan offerings. Brands and product developers: take note.
✅ In the race to develop new sustainable protein, one startup has honed in on quite an unusual source: wood. Based between the U.S. and France, agricultural biotech firm Arbiom is using fermentation to convert timber into protein dubbed SylPro. Having recently demonstrated the alternative protein ingredient, Arbiom is now scaling its solution with the hopes of commercialising its technology with food and feed industry partners.
Why it’s important: What makes this wood-based protein different from other alternative protein solutions, such as existing plant-based sources and cell-cultured meats under development, is that it can make a whole lot more protein, using the planet’s readily available carbon resources, to address the huge requirements that come with a planet of 10 billion people.
✅ The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Good Food Institute (GFI) have teamed up to host a workshop on alternative protein regulations and food safety for the first time. Led by the WHO’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) and GFI’s global network, the two-day event discussed crucial alternative protein challenges and opportunities, from the safety hurdles for cultivated meat to reach the market to consumer insights on existing plant-based products.
Why it’s important: speaking about the event, GFI India managing director Varun Deshpande said: “Alternative protein has the potential to transform global food systems for the radically better, and governments must keep pace with and throw their weight behind this transformative food innovation.”
Taste and price are the two biggest drivers behind consumer food choices. Join KindEarth.Tech at The Science of Taste in
on 30th June 2021 at 7pm CET, to learn about the specifics of tastes, textures, and methods in alternative protein development. Register here.
SCENE & HEARD
Get involved at the Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins Summit on June 22-23 as we map out the future of protein. There’s a brilliant lineup, including Green Queen‘s founder and editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras who will be moderating the discussion ‘Chiefs of Marketing: Increasing Adoption Through Storytelling and Unified Communication’. Book now to join the summit online.
- Join Vevolution’s Startup Sessions: Alternative Protein Fundraising Strategies to hear from a panel of Vevolution Investor Members and leading alternative protein startups from multiple categories to discuss fundraising strategies to scale your business. Register here.
- Catch the video of leading experts from Sweden and Hong Kong, including Green Queen‘s founder and editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras and Daniel S. Ruben of Stockeld Dreamery, as they discussed the alternatives to our current eating habits, their challenges, and how far we can go to make the new solutions a reality at The Future of Food webinar hosted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong earlier this month.
- Spain’s first international foodtech event, the virtual summit Food4Future, is happening 15-17 June. Sign up here to discover new solutions in the food industry value chain, including innovations in AgriTech, packaging, Industry 4.0, food safety, and logistics.
The world’s food systems are undergoing a revolution- we’ve got close to 8 billion people to feed and alternative protein may just be the answer. From cellular agriculture to plant-based food tech to precision fermentation, we need to reform our global food production. Our Alt Protein newsletter is here to inspire and inform with a weekly roundup of the top foodtech headlines you need to know across Asia and beyond including new startups, funding news, industry trends, product launches, event highlights, inspiring interviews and more. We know you’ll love it.
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