Ep 04: The Business of Food

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Feeding a billion plus Indians is big business - the Indian food and grocery market is the sixth largest in the world. Food processing in the country is worth over $250 billion and contributes 14% of India's GDP through manufacturing. So what does this prophesize for the growth of alternatives to meat, eggs, and dairy? Pegging the sector accurately and charting its expected growth curve is imperative to mapping how new protein can transform the food system in India. To help us do that, this episode of Feeding 10 Billion features Mark Kahn, the Managing Partner of Omnivore, an impact venture fund that invests in Indian startups developing breakthrough technologies for food, agriculture, and the rural economy. Mark’s background in agri-business companies like Godrej Agrovet and Syngenta and his current investments in food and agri-technology startups make him uniquely well-positioned to tell us how analogous new protein could be to agri-tech and what the ecosystem needs to spawn a billion dollar plant-based or cultivated meat company.

Show Notes-

VENTURE FUNDS:

  • Omnivore :
    Omnivore is an impact venture fund that invests in Indian startups developing breakthrough technologies for food, agriculture, and the rural economy. Omnivore believes the key to transforming rural India lies in increasing the profitability, improving the sustainability, and reducing the uncertainty faced by smallholder farmers.

  • Big Idea Ventures :
    Big Idea Ventures is solving the World's greatest challenges by supporting the World's best entrepreneurs. They are a Venture Capital + Accelerator Fund undertaking deeper due diligence in the world's best seed & growth stage companies using acceleration and investing in top performers. New Protein Fund I is their first fund and they are raising USD$50M+ to invest in the best companies in the plant-based foods, ingredients and alternative protein ecosystem. They combine capital and partnership to support and grow the world’s most compelling plant-based food and alternative protein companies.

  • New Crop Capital :
    New Crop Capital is a specialized private venture fund that primarily provides Angel, Seed and Series A funding, with investments ranging from $50,000 to $1,000,000. They view conventional animal agriculture as an antiquated and inefficient food products system with serious vulnerabilities that is ripe for innovation and large scale disruption. They invest in companies developing meat, dairy, eggs and sea-food with plant-based ingredients or through cellular agriculture, as well as companies that promote and distribute these products.
    They are an evergreen fund managed by Unovis Partners, a global investment firm focused on companies developing replacements to animal protein products. Unovis’ mission is to transform the global food system by investing in solutions that facilitate sustained behavioral change and eliminate the production and consumption of animal protein products. Post investment, Unovis supports founders by sharing their culinary knowledge, understanding of consumer habits, experience in food manufacturing, and network of industry experts to de-risk investments and build strong, resilient brands.

COMPANIES MENTIONED:

TYSON FOODS:
- Fortune: Tyson is the latest player to enter the hot plant-based meat market

CARGILL:
Protein Innovation: Cargill invests in cultured meats
Cargill invests in cultured meat company Aleph Farms

The Wall Street Journal: Cargill invests in startup that grows 'clean meat' from cells
GFI: World's third largest meat producer Cargill invests in Aleph Farms' cell-based steak

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
GFI’s State of the Industry Reports
AgFunderNews: Why technology could make animals obsolete

CK Prahalad and the Fortune at the Base of the Pyramid
Size of the BOP population in India
Impact of food processing on the fight against malnutrition