Alternative Investment

Beneo takes ‘next step’ in plant-based protein strategy with start-up investment

Functional ingredients major Beneo has taken a 14% stake in Munich-headquartered Grillido for an undisclosed amount.

The start-up develops, produces, markets and distributes a range of meat replacement and meat alternative products, as well as other products linked to BBQ foods, such as cheese, sauce, and bread.

Importantly, Grillido also own an established e-commerce platform, which enables the start-up to receive consumer insights from multi-channel sales. This is of particular interest to Beneo, who is wanting ‘faster’ and ‘more direct’ access to consumer feedback in plant-based.

‘Moving closer to the consumer’

This is not the first time Beneo has invested in a plant-based start-up. Less than a year ago, the ingredients suppler acquired Dutch company Meatless B.V. “[We made the acquisition to ensure Beneo] becomes a major player in the field of plant-based texturizing solutions for meat and fish alternatives,” ​Dominic Speleers, member of the executive board at Beneo, told FoodNavigator.

“This recent investment into Grillido marks the next step in Beneo’s plant-based protein strategy by giving us faster and direct access to consumer feedback about their plant-based preferences and needs.”

By tapping into Grillido’s consumer understanding and ‘culinary knowledge’, Beneo says it will be able to move more quickly with the development of its existing product solutions for the plant-based market, as well as new products and innovations.

“Moving closer to the consumer and having fast and direct feedback from the market on our solutions and products is a crucial advantage for Beneo as a B2B product,” ​said Speleers. “This way, we can further improve our solutions for the plant-based meat alternative market and make an important step forward in our plant-based protein roadmap.”

Exploring ingredients synergies

Grillido was founded in 2015 by childhood friends Manuel Stöffler and Michael Ziegler. The duo’s first products sought to reduce the amount of fat in processed meat products, such as sausages.

The result is a lower fat sausage product, containing lean meat and vegetable raw materials alongside spices or cheese. Grillido’s current range of products still contain hybrid meat and plant-based products, as well as vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

The company has around 30 employees, and sells into multiple channels, from e-commerce to retail and foodservice.

While Beneo is keen to learn more about consumer needs in plant-based via this investment – with Euromonitor predicting the market for fish and meat alternatives to rise by 10% CAGR over the next five years – ingredients synergies may also exist.

“Technical experts on both sides are already collaborating and looking into solutions with ingredients such as textured wheat protein and rice ingredients,” ​Speleers revealed.

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