Its New Protein Fund, dedicated to seed and early stage investments in plant-based and cell-based food, ingredient and technology companies, targeted raising $50m since its launch in 2019. The company has announced it is receiving structuring support from key players in the European market, including the Bel Group and the Buhler Group, with a view to opening an accelerator in Paris in 2021.
The New Protein Fund will receive special support from the Bel Group as part of a partnership designed to strengthen the expertise and capacity for accelerating projects detected and integrated into the fund.
“This investment by Bel — based in Paris and a major global player in single serving healthy snacking — will provide the New Protein Fund with more than additional capital. It is a strategic partnership to continue investing in and supporting the world’s most promising entrepreneurs who are actively creating the future of alternative proteins in Europe and beyond,” said Andrew D. Ive, founder and general managing partner of Big Idea Ventures.
The demand for alternative proteins and particularly for plant-based products is growing, Big Ideas Ventures said. US consumer spending on plant-based foods has increased by more than 28%, from $3.9bn in 2017 to $5bn in 2019, according to figures published by The Good Food Institute. Plant-based cheese grew by nearly 51% during the same period, and Europe is following suit with the growth of the number of flexitarian consumers.
“By identifying and supporting as early as possible the start-ups and projects involved in inventing tomorrow's food, Bel is demonstrating its desire to make these solutions a reality and make them accessible to all,” said Caroline Sorlin, general manager of Bel's plant-based acceleration unit.
“This partnership embodies our model: constantly innovating, co-constructing with all those who share our values and vision. Plant-based products now complement our milk-based offer: consumers are more and more looking for a plant-based offer and we aim to provide them with a quality proposition.”
The Bel Group also has already announced the forthcoming arrival of new 100% plant-based products within the range of its main brands as well as under a new international brand.