Thai Union Group has announced the foundation of a venture fund as part of its continuous investment in innovation, committing an initial $30 million (€27 million) for investments in innovative companies that are developing breakthrough technologies in food tehcnology
The fund will focus on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology.
Its first investment is in alternative protein startup Flying Spark, which uses fruit fly larvae that in nature feed on fresh fruits, and was also selected recently to be part of Ikea's startup accelerator.
The larvae have a lifespan of only seven days yet multiply their body mass 250 times in that period. Flying Spark’s technology enables easy and low-cost cultivation and processing, with nearly zero waste, as all parts of the larvae are used. This gives Flying Spark an edge over conventional protein sources — not only those from meat and plants but also over other insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers, said the company in a release.
Thai Union will invest in entrepreneurial companies that are active in these areas and will actively partner with these companies to support and accelerate their development.
“Over the last years, Thai Union has made significant investments to become a leader in seafood innovation and sustainability,” said Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri.
“As we move into the coming decade, we will increasingly cooperate with innovative start-ups in strategically interesting areas. This will complement our own activities as we are broadening our business beyond our traditional core.”
The announcement of its venture fund follows the recent opening of Space F, Thailand’s first food-tech incubator and accelerator, where Thai Union Group, together with Thailand’s National Innovation Agency and Mahidol University, is a founding member.
New IntraFish Business Intelligence report is out now: Plant-based seafood: The Threats and Opportunities. Get your FREE sample report today. Report delves into plant-based and cell-grown seafood alternatives, sectors which saw recent rapid growth as a protein source and as an ingredient for making protein-rich foods that mimic shrimp, fish and other seafood products. Reach out to us at Intelligence@IntraFish.com for more information.