Alt-Meat Innovators Secure Millions; AgTech’s Global Investment Surge

The alternative meat sector received significant financial boosts this week, with UK-based THIS, US-based Tender, and Israeli cultivated meat company Ever After Foods successfully securing substantial investments. London-based THIS, a leader in plant-based meat alternatives, clinched €23.6 million, reinforcing its position at the forefront of the UK’s alt-meat revolution. Meanwhile, Tender closed an $11 million Series A funding round and announced a partnership with Clover, setting the stage for further expansion and innovation in the plant-based meat market. Ever After Foods, a subsidiary of Pluri, secured a $10 million strategic investment aimed at overcoming the scalability challenges inherent in cultivated meat production.

In the farmtech sector, Australia’s Farmbot raised $4.6 million to support its expansion into the US market, while Beta Bugs, an insect-breeding platform, secured £1.7 million to enhance its breeding program. These investments underscore the growing interest in technologies that can drive efficiency and sustainability in agriculture.

Several new funds were also announced, reflecting a broader trend of increased financial support for agri-tech and food-tech innovations. Proterra raised $34 million for its Rural Growth Fund, emphasizing the importance of supporting rural economies. A joint fund between Canada and the Asian Development Bank, totaling C$360 million, was launched to address climate and nature-related challenges in Asia. Additionally, serial French entrepreneurs introduced a €130 million climate fund, further highlighting the global commitment to sustainable development.

Mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships also made headlines. Nutrien Ag Solutions acquired Biocontrol Technology, signaling a strategic move to enhance its portfolio with biocontrol solutions. GroundForce Capital announced the acquisition of OWYN by The Simply Good Foods Company, marking a significant consolidation in the health and wellness sector. In a notable international collaboration, North Dakota’s Grand Farm and Japan’s Fukaya City formed a partnership to advance agtech innovation, showcasing the global nature of agricultural technology advancements.

In the realm of AI and biotech, Syngenta and InstaDeep announced a collaboration to accelerate crop seeds trait research using AI Large Language Models. Meanwhile, Danone revealed plans to open a precision fermentation center in France, aiming to create a biotech open platform with strategic partners. CP Kelco also announced its intent to combine with Tate & Lyle through a sale by J.M. Huber Corporation, indicating a strategic alignment in the food ingredients sector.

The week also saw significant developments in funds, grants, and accelerators. Protein Industries Canada launched a $24.5 million project to foster plant-based food development. AgMission and PepsiCo awarded three grants to promote climate-resilient farms and value chains, further emphasizing the focus on sustainability in agriculture.

On the personnel front, AgriFORCE appointed Jolie Kahn as its new CEO, while McDonald’s elevated its regenerative agriculture leader to head its supply chain, reflecting the fast-food giant’s commitment to sustainable practices. Biolevel also announced new appointments to its executive team, signaling strategic leadership changes.

Other notable news included Atomo Coffee’s breakthrough discovery aimed at reducing coffee-related deforestation and the announcement of a new insect processing facility by Agriloop in Hungary, set to be commissioned in Q4 2024. The agri-tech landscape continues to evolve rapidly, with innovations and investments driving the sector towards a more sustainable and efficient future.

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