Henning Hartnacke, Moderator: If we talk about investment criteria, what is the next big thing after the burger craze?
Dominique Harris: For us, when we think of food innovation investment, it has to fill an empty niche, be Series A or beyond, has both solid technology and a great team. These days, we are looking at alternative protein space, cell-based meat and all the innovations that can help us feed the growing world.
Matt Walker: There are 13 brands in our portfolio at the moment. For us to invest, there has to be something about the product, sourcing, supply chain or production that gives us a lasting advantage. Seafood is interesting, as well as fiber products. When it comes to ingredients, we look for platforms rather than single hero ingredients, for technologies that can provide many products down the line and give us an advantage as the market evolves.
Cultured meat is going to be transformational in the food stack: animal meat has strong positions on the market, alternative meat is on the rise and a lot of institutional capital is going into the industry. In the future, there will be a mosaic of options, large meat players will offer animal-based, hybrid, plant-based and cultured meat options. Companies will compete to produce the most superior — with fat, fiber, full amino acid profile and authentic taste — yet healthy product.
Large producers can take advantage of their distribution network and expertise, they are very well positioned to be market leaders. There is and will be some push back from those who think that meat should only exist in its traditional form, but we will work through that.
Didier Toubia: In the long term, the share of conventional meat will decrease to the benefit of plant-based and cultured options. There is also more focus on quality: in the 90s, technology was used to produce more and do it faster. Now we aim to improve living conditions and create a great product.
Henning Hartnacke, Moderator: The taste, texture and eating experience are important for plant-based products as they go mainstream. We still have work to do when it comes to the ingredients, nutritional aspects and process optimization. The fact that plant-based products are heavily processed and frequently have longer ingredient lists that a meat product would have, raises questions marks.
Michela Petronio: As more and more plant-based products join the niche, there is not as much innovation in terms of ingredients and formulas anymore. In the debate about the concept of processed food, there is a lack of understanding of what processed, unprocessed and ultra-processed exactly mean.
Barak Melamud: We produce our products from the ingredients that can be found anywhere in the world, be it Israel, Brazil, China or the US. From just 5-6 ingredients we create a meatlike product with a great texture, so when a toddler or a kid look at it they don’t see any broccoli.
We use a Mediterranean approach to nutrition and try to turn grain, legumes, vegetables and fruits into something craveable. Eating quinoa and lentils daily is hard, that is why we source fresh products to create a perfect and tasty product in terms of nutritional values.