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Invests nearly $100 million globally over the past year in plant-based or animal-free food companies

Part of strategy across SK companies to advance businesses aligned with ESG principles

NEW YORK, July 28, 2021 – SK Inc., the strategic investment arm of South Korea’s SK group, announced today it has invested almost $100 million globally in new food companies as part of its broader commitment to sustainability.

SK Inc.’s investments are intended to accelerate the development of new food sources, such as plant-based and animal-free foods. These emerging food sources can help create more environmentally friendly methods of food production and make nutritious food options accessible to more consumers globally. U.S. and U.K. new food investments to date include:

  • Perfect Day – a Berkeley, Calif., company that uses fermentation to create proprietary animal-free dairy protein that can be used in a range of products, including ice cream, milk, cheese and butter. SK Inc. announced its investment in Perfect Day in 2020 as part of a financing round that brought Perfect Day’s total funding to $400 million.
  • Nature’s Fynd – a new food company in Chicago growing sustainable protein from a microbe with origins in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone National Park. SK Inc. joined a group of investors earlier this month in a $350 million round of Series C financing by Nature’s Fynd.
  • Meatless Farm – a U.K. plant-based protein company that makes a range of meat-free products, including plant-based burgers, hot dogs, breakfast patties and “chik’n” nuggets. SK Inc. recently committed to making an initial investment in Meatless Farm.

All three of these companies provide food products or ingredients for food products available in the U.S. SK Inc. plans to work with these companies as both an investor and strategic partner on their global expansion, especially as they look for growth opportunities in Asia.

Perfect Day Activation81619 0086
SK Inc., the strategic investment arm of South Korea’s SK group, has invested nearly $100 million in new food companies over the past year, including an investment announced last year in Perfect Day. Based in Berkeley, Calif., Perfect Day uses fermentation to create proprietary animal-free dairy proteins. Photo Courtesy of Perfect Day

SK Inc.’s investments in new food are part of a transformation across SK companies to align their businesses with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles. SK companies have increased investments in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable packaging and resource conservation as a result of this focus on ESG.

New food companies and the global food chain also are gaining attention for their potential to advance sustainability and address global warming. Food systems account for more than one-third of the global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent United Nations study. Food production processes, methane emissions from livestock and food refrigeration are leading contributors to rising greenhouse gas emissions, the report found.

Perfect Day, Nature’s Fynd and Meatless Farm have each conducted an environmental life cycle analysis as part of an effort designed to ensure production of their foods lowers greenhouse gas emissions and has a positive impact on the environment.

“Global warming is a major challenge requiring new ideas and practices across all areas of businesses,” said Moohwan Kim, executive vice president of SK Inc.’s Green Investment Center. “SK believes innovations in the global food chain can play a significant role in the overall solution to climate change. These innovations also have the potential to make healthy food options available to more people globally by reducing waste and increasing nutritional value.”

Natures Fynd Meatless Breakfast Patties and Spread Copy
SK Inc. was part of a financing round announced in July by Nature’s Fynd, a Chicago company that has created a nutritional fungi protein that can be used in meatless and dairy free products. Photo Courtesy of Nature’s Fynd

SK Inc.’s investments in these new food companies were made through its Green Investment Center, which seeks to support environmentally friendly technologies and business models. SK Inc. established the Green Investment Center earlier this year as it reorganized under four investment pillars: Green Business, Digital, Advanced Materials and Biopharmaceuticals. SK’s investments are guided by a management philosophy known as the “double-bottom line” that measures both the economic and social value created by a business.

“Our investments in new food companies are a natural evolution of SK’s long-term commitment to the double-bottom philosophy and ESG principles,” Kim said. “New food is a fast-growing area of industry that can provide tangible economic and social benefits through innovations that lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly methods of food production.”

SK Inc. is an investment holding company for SK group, a leading conglomerate in South Korea with major operating companies in energy, semiconductors, telecommunications and life sciences. SK companies have sites in more than 10 states in the U.S. with plans to invest billions of dollars over the next few years through its U.S. operations or in partnership with U.S. companies.

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