Thai Union creates venture fund to drive food-tech innovation
The venture fund has an initial commitment of $30 million and will invest in alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology. The first investment is Flying Spark that produces larval insect protein as a sustainable and nutritious alternative protein.
October 17, 2019
Thai Union Group PCL has founded a venture fund as part of its continuous investment in innovation. The company has initially committed $30 million for investments in innovative companies that are developing breakthrough technologies in food-tech.
The fund will focus on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology. Thai Union will invest in companies that are active in these areas and will actively partner with these companies to support and accelerate their development.
The company has announced Flying Spark, an alternative protein startup, as its first investment. Flying Spark uses fruit fly larvae that, in nature, feed on fresh fruits. 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.
“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 startups 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.