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AgTech FoodTech Protein

Government of Canada announced $100 million financing for Merit Functional Foods plant

The Government of Canada announced the financing of close to $100 million for the new Merit Functional Foods plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Merit Functional Foods will construct a commercial-scale protein extraction facility that will produce plant proteins superior in solubility, flavour and purity. This plant, scheduled to be fully operational in December 2020 will create 80 new jobs and will help to establish the region as a world-leading agriculture and processing hub.

“The made-in-Canada agricultural technologies and innovations from Merit Functional Foods not only give us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, they are creating jobs and adding value to our farmers` commodities. This is a very exciting project that demonstrates our Government`s commitment to positioning Canada as a leader in production of plant proteins.”

The Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Merit Functional Foods will be the first facility in the world with the capability to produce food-grade canola protein ready and safe for human consumption. It will source 100 percent of its inputs from Canadian producers, with a projected forecast to utilize 10,000 metric tonnes of yellow peas and 17,000 tonnes of canola seed in its first year.

The federal financing for Merit Functional Foods includes:

  1. $10 million in a repayable contribution from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate Program;
  2. $25 million in debt financing from Farm Credit Canada;
  3. $55 million in debt financing from Export Development Canada; and
  4. $9.2 million from the Protein Industries Canada supercluster announced earlier to support a project for the commercialization of a new highly soluble, highly functional pea and canola protein isolates.

Consumer demand for plant-based proteins is growing in both Canada and markets around the world. This innovative technology provides alternatives to animal and dairy derived proteins, adding value to the grain commodities and plant-based proteins.

Read more at Government of Canada

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FoodTech Investments

FoodTech startup, SilverConnect raised funds to fast-track the rollout of food options for people with swallowing difficulties

The question, “What happens if one day a person cannot eat?” was lingering in the minds of Directors, Yiru Shen and Jeannie Ong, when they started a specialised FoodTech startup, SilverConnect. The company was founded in 2017 with the intent to enhance nourishment for the elderly and relieve their caregivers from the daily burden of preparing such modified meals. SilverConnect closed a seed funding round on Monday led by Heritas Capital Management and SEEDS Capital.

Fresh funds from the seed round will be used to “fast-track the commercialisation and rollout of GentleFoods to both consumers and elderly care institutions.

SilverConnect Pte Ltd

The issue stems from Singapore and Asia’s ageing population and the increase in people with swallowing difficulties. There are limited food options available hence many of them are resigned to porridge. Malnutrition is most common in people with swallowing difficulties as there is a loss of appetite. The problems are also psychological, with an increase in feeling dependent, depressed and isolated. The joy of eating food together with friends and family is also compromised.

GentleFoods is a Trademark of SilverConnect Pte Ltd

The company believes the food that one enjoyed must always remain the food that one continues to enjoy. SilverConnect creates puréed moulded food that is familiar, safe and nutritious that helps in stimulating the appetite with the way it looks, tastes and smells, bringing the joy of food back into the lives of people with swallowing difficulties.

“We hope that elderly and other patients with swallowing difficulties will now be able to enjoy a wide variety of safe and tasty meals with their loved ones, while reducing the amount of time their caregivers currently spend on preparing such meals.”

Dr. Shen Yiru, Co-founder and CEO, SilverConnect

The texture of the meals from SilverConnect are in line with the framework set out by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI), which helps to ensure that meals are safely prepared to the right consistency, and suitable for those who have difficulty swallowing.

Over the last two years, Enterprise Singapore provided grant support to SilverConnect for the co-development of three popular local snacks with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital under the Food for Elders initiative, as well as a corporate branding project to help them develop a global brand strategy and establish presence in key overseas markets.

Read more at The Business Times

Categories
Food Security Regenerative Agriculture

Soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal has been selected as this year’s World Food Prize Laureate

Eminent Indian-American soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal has been selected as this year’s World Food Prize Laureate and will receive a $250,000 award for his work in promoting soils for sustainable development. Dr Lal, 75, is named as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.

He is helping millions of small farmers around the world with his work on increasing food production and recycling of nutrients.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

Dr. Lal spent 18 years at CGIAR Research Center in Africa, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), where he spearheaded research demonstrating that soil organic matter and carbon are crucial to sustaining and enhancing the quantity and quality of food production. He transformed and innovated techniques such as no-tillage, cover cropping, mulching and agroforestry, which contributed to protecting soil from the elements, conserving water, and returning nutrients, carbon and organic matter to the soil.

Soils of the world must be part of any agenda to address climate change, as well as food and water security. I think there is now a general awareness of soil carbon, an awareness that soil isn’t just a medium for plant growth.

Dr. Rattan Lal, 2020 World Food Prize Laureate 

A faculty member at Ohio State for 33 years, Lal was recognized for his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. In 2019, Lal became the first soil scientist and the first person at Ohio State to receive the Japan Prize. A year before, he received the 2018 World Agriculture Prize and the 2018 Glinka World Soil Prize.

“Every year we are astounded by the quality of nominations for the Prize, but Dr. Lal’s stellar work on management and conservation of agriculture’s most cherished natural resource, the soil, set him apart.”

Gebisa Ejeta, chair of the World Food Prize Selection Committee

Beginning in the 1970s with his research in West Africa, Lal has discovered ways to reduce deforestation, control soil erosion, and enrich soil by managing a critical element in the soil: organic carbon. His research has provided the scientific foundation to show that soil can not only solve the global challenge of food insecurity but also global warming.

Lal’s models indicate that restoring soil health can lead to multiple benefits by the year 2100, including more than doubling the global annual grain yield to feed the growing world population, while decreasing the land area under grain cultivation by 30 percent and decreasing total fertilizer use by half. Making this a reality will enormously benefit farmers, food consumers and the environment.

Read more at The World Food Prize Foundation

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AgTech Investments

Plantible raises $4.6 million seed round for an egg white replacement

Plantible uses duckweed, a tiny aquatic leaf, to extract a plant-based protein ingredient that will eventually allow food companies to make animal-based products into plant-based products. The offering would be attractive to companies that make baked goods or protein powder, and thus use lots of egg whites as part of their creation process.

Plantible claims to offer an egg-white replacement with no compromises on texture or nutrition.

The company just raised a $4.6 million seed round, led by Vectr Ventures and Lerer Hippeau with other investors eighteen94 Capital (Kellogg Company’s venture capital fund) and FTW Ventures. Plantible’s closest competitors in egg-white replacements category are Clara Foods and FUMI Ingredients.

Read more at TechCrunch

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Investments

Growthwell Group raises US$8 m for scale-up of plant-based alternatives

Growthwell, a leading manufacturer of plant-based alternatives for meat and seafood for the South East Asian market, announced that it has raised US$8 million in a funding round led by Temasek, with other investors DSG Consumer Partners, Insignia Ventures, Genesis Ventures, Brandify and Mr Koh Boon Hwee participating. The proceeds from this funding round will accelerate Growthwell’s growth into alternative proteins and future food solutions, taking its vision of sustainable plant-based choices to a global stage.

Growthwell’s growth plans include the setup of an end-to-end technology centre in Singapore focusing on R&D and manufacturing. Growthwell’s vision is to be Asia’s leading plant nutrition food tech company, with an aim to care for 100 million lives with sustainable and nutritious plant-based choices while reducing the world’s overall meat consumption.

Read more at MediaOutReach