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.
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.”
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
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.