Bangkok-headquartered Thai Union Group, a major producer of frozen shrimp and shelf-stable tuna products has announced four new investments in the food technology sector through its recently created venture fund, which focuses on alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology startup enterprises.
The company, which employs over 44,000 people around the world and rang up sales of approximately US $4.1 billion last year, will invest in Alchemy Foodtech Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based diabetes food tech innovation firm; Manna Foods Co., an insect technology and e-commerce company in the USA; and HydroNeo GmbH, an aquaculture technology operation based in Germany and Thailand. All three were part of the first cohort of SPACE-F, a food tech incubator and accelerator program in Thailand, which Thai Union is a founding partner of, along with Mahidol University and Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA).
In addition, Thai Union will invest in VisVires New Protein, a Singapore-based food tech fund, to deepen its network of identifying co-investment and collaborative opportunities in the global agrifood technology ecosystem.
“We are committed to open innovation as an important part in our innovation strategy, complementing our in-house innovation efforts,” said Thiraphong Chansiri (pictured above), president and chief executive officer of Thai Union. “As such, we are working with external parties including universities, research institutions and the broader food tech ecosystem to support and fast-track innovative ideas and technologies. Our venture capital investments in the food tech space are an important part of this.”
He added: “Of course, our investment in these companies goes beyond a financial commitment as we also intend to provide guidance and support and will look to pursue collaborations wherever possible. In addition, investing into VisVires New Protein also opens a wider, global spectrum for opportunities and we’re looking forward to developing a range of exciting opportunities with them.”
Thai Union’s venture fund was launched in 2019 with an initial commitment of US $30 million and focuses its investments on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition and new technologies along the food value chain. The company is investing in early-stage entrepreneurial enterprises that are active in these areas and will actively partner with these companies to support and accelerate their development.