As a leading food manufacturer working in more than 100 countries, Rich Products is passionate about pursuing innovations and technology that will shape our industry and the global food system. Through Rich Products Ventures (RPV), we don’t just collaborate with people who are reimagining the future of food—we invest in those possibilities.
What do we mean by “reimagine”? We mean coffee without the bean, sustainable cellular agriculture, all-natural shelf-life extenders, fully automated scratch baking, and biosensors to help reduce food waste.
Established in 2017, RVP is dedicated to supporting early-stage food technology companies that are innovating the production, processing, and distribution of food. Through investments in these startups, Rich’s is helping fund solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our global food system: hunger, food insecurity, and the sustainability of natural resources.
In September 2022, President Biden hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health—the first action of its kind in more than 50 years. With a transformational vision for ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases by 2030, the White House hopes to serve the millions of people living in the United States who struggle with food insecurity, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
As part of the initiative, the White House announced the development of the Food, Nutrition and Health Investors Coalition (FNHIC), a group of companies that specialize in agriculture technology (agtech), foodtech, nutrition, healthcare, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. In the fall of 2022, Rich’s joined the coalition, which is made up of 20 partner organizations that represent more than $2.5 billion in investments over the next three years. The FNHIC is combining efforts from the public and private sectors to learn more about food insecurity and hunger, share resources, and invest in practical resolutions.
“Rich Products Ventures is a proud partner in the FNHIC and this national effort to change our food system,” said Dinsh Guzdar, partner and head of Rich Products Ventures. “We’re learning what the administration wants to do to address hunger and food insecurity, and where we can support that important work. We want to be part of the solution.”
In 2021, the USDA reported that 13.5 million people in the U.S. (10.2% of households) experienced food insecurity at some point that year. Further exacerbating the hunger and nutrition crisis, an estimated 117 million U.S. adults suffer from diet-related disease, and poor nutrition accounts for more than $50 billion in healthcare costs each year.
According to FNHIC co-founder (and Food Systems for the Future CEO and founder) Ertharin Cousin, solving these issues will call for “multisector financial investments in scalable food and agtech businesses.” She added that a sustainable, equitable food system must “improve people’s health outcomes, respect the planet, and ensure that geography and income are never barriers to nutritious, affordable food.”
To maximize its contributions to the Coalition, RPV is focusing its investment efforts on foodtech in four key areas:
“We’re a $5 billion food manufacturer and a major player in the global food industry,” said Guzdar. “As such, we have a responsibility to help reshape the food system—to help it be more sustainable in terms of how we grow, process, and sell food. As the global population soon will hit 10 billion people, the need for a more sustainable food system that offers consumers healthier choices has never been greater.”
BlueNalu is a prime example of an RPV investment that is dramatically improving the sustainability of the seafood industry. BlueNalu developed cell-cultured seafood—a consistent, year-round alternative to bluefin tuna toro—that delivers high-quality seafood without taking fish out of the sea. BlueNalu’s seafood, grown directly from fish cells, overcomes several challenges threatening the health of the industry and the ocean: contamination (mercury and microplastics), overfishing, importing, and farming this species of fish.
RPV also invests in MycoTechnology, a portfolio company that leverages the power of mushrooms to develop sustainable proteins as alternatives to animal proteins. Alternative proteins—which don’t depend on antibiotics or live animals—offer critical public health benefits because they:
MycoTechnology recently announced a joint venture with Oman Investment Authority (OIA) in the Middle East. Together, the organizations developed a novel fermentation process that uses natural sugars from locally grown dates as a source of carbon to fuel the production of a mushroom-based protein.
Rich’s is proud to contribute to the innovative work that is shaping the future of food. With the development of RPV, we are investing in a more sustainable food system in the United States and around the world.