Simili-steak made from vegetable protein or cellular meat, diced bacon, synthetic foie gras, insect flour, desserts and fermented drinks, seaweed-based ingredients… The list of new food products intended to be featured in our plate keeps getting longer. And for good reason: the young shoots of “Food tech” are in the kitchen and arouse the appetite of investors.
If the movement is global, in France also companies are benefiting from this craze. Recent examples include Agronutris, which raised € 100 million at the end of September to industrialize its production of insect-based proteins.
All investment funds have salivated since the epic Beyond Meat. The American start-up specializing in vegan burger and other sausages without animal protein made a sensational IPO in May 2019. At the time of its introduction, its valuation reached 3.8 billion dollars (approximately 3.3 billion dollars). ‘euros, at the current rate). Not bad for a company that was posting losses and sales of less than $ 100 million at the time. And a real jackpot for the personalities who had entered in turn, like the co-creator of Microsoft Bill Gates, the co-founder of Twitter Evan Williams or the former boss of McDonald’s, Don Thompson.
The Swedish company Oatly also hit the headlines when it was listed on Wall Street in May 2021. The company, which produces substitutes for milk, yogurt or oat-based ice cream, collected 1, $ 4 billion. Among the lucky winners this time were star American TV presenter Oprah Winfrey, actress Natalie Portman and rapper Jay-Z.
In France, the most important fundraising has benefited insect breeding projects. Ynsect, InnovaFeed and now Agronutris are the darling of the market. “In 2020, French Food Tech raised 606 million euros, including 360 million euros for Ynsect and InnovaFeed alone”, emphasizes Matthieu Vincent, of the DigitalFoodLab research firm. It is true that the industrial realization of these initiatives is greedy in financial fuel.
“Social and environmental impact”
Agronutris wants to deploy in Rethel, in the Ardennes, a first production unit of black soldier flies, say Hermetia illiens by the end of 2022. Its competitor, InnovaFeed, is betting on the same insect in its factory in Nesle (Somme), which started up a year ago. It raised 200 million euros in funding.
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These French start-ups that make up the plate of tomorrow