SK Inc. invests $7 million (KRW 10 billion) in the U.S-based
cell-cultivated salmon producer Wildtype expecting commercialization in
SK Inc., Perfect Day and Maeil Dairies sign an MOU to propel non-animal dairy protein business in Korea
IB Investment endorses the growth potential of Meatless Farm with a $7
million (KRW 10 billion) investment in the sustainable food producer in
which SK Inc. has also invested in
SEOUL, South Korea -- SK Inc. is expanding its investment portfolio
for sustainable food, a promising next-generation food sector, as part
of its focus on advancing green businesses aligned with Environmental,
Social and Governance (ESG) principles.
SK Inc. announced on November 24 that it has invested approximately $7 million (KRW 10 billion) in Wildtype, a U.S.-based company working to commercialize its salmon cultivated from cells. The strategic investment arm of the SK Group also announced that it had signed an MOU with the Korean diary manufacturer and distributor Maeil Dairies and Perfect Day, a U.S.-based non-animal milk protein producer. Meatless Farm, a Dutch sustainable food company in which SK Inc. has invested, recently secured a $7 million (KRW 10 billion) investment from Aju IB Investment.
With the latest investment in Wildtype, SK Inc. has established a rounded investment portfolio in sustainable food, with Meatless Farm in plant-based meat sector, Perfect Day and Nature’s Fynd in precision fermentation protein, and Wildtype in cell-cultivated meat sector.
Wildtype, founded in 2016, produces cultivated salmon, which stands apart from other seafood alternatives with its natural appearance, texture, and taste similar to conventional fish. It is working towards launching commercial products like salmon steak and fillet in 2023. While it only offers samples at this stage, the company has already signed supply agreements with major food companies in the United States, including a franchise poke brand Pokeworks.
SK Inc., in partnership with Maeil Dairies and Perfect Day, is looking to form a joint venture for non-animal dairy protein business. The partnership looks to create synergy between SK Inc.’s strategic investment capabilities, Maeil Dairies’ expertise in commercialization, distribution and sales, and Perfect Day’s non-animal dairy protein development and production capacity. Once it gets appropriate licensing, the joint venture will begin business, bringing in dairy proteins from Perfect Day with Maeil Dairies assuming the responsibilities in manufacturing, distributing, and selling final products.
Perfect Day, in which SK Inc. previously invested, is the first company in the world to have succeeded in producing dairy proteins identical to the protein found in cow’s milk using fermentation, not animals. It partners with food and food service companies such as Nestle, who use the company’s non-animal milk protein to make a variety of popular consumer products, including ice cream, chocolate, cream cheese, and smoothies. An ISO compliant, third-party reviewed life cycle assessment found that Perfect Day’s new way of creating milk protein reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 97%, water use up to 99%, and energy use up to 60%, compared to conventional production methods.
Meatless Farm, in which SK Inc. has previously invested in, was endorsed by Aju IB Investment for its growth potential in the global market. Following the recent investment, the Korean venture capitalist is reviewing for an additional investment in the Dutch sustainable food producer in early 2023.
Meatless Farm currently offers around 30 products including hamburger patties and sausages in Europe. Plant-based mince, its main product, is currently No. 1 in the UK’s plant-based meat market while its newly launched plant-based tuna was won a Gold Award at the Casual Dining Show’s Innovation Challenge, which was held in the UK in September.
“The process of overcoming climate change could also serve as a breakthrough opportunity in identifying new values for the future,” said Moo-hwan Kim, the Head of the Green Investment Center at SK Inc. “In preparing for the explosive growth of the green industry, SK Inc. will work towards taking the market leadership, including sustainable food.”
SK Inc. first entered the sustainable food business in 2020, investing in Perfect Day. Investments in the U.S microbe-based protein producer Nature’s Fynd and the Dutch Meatless Farm followed.
[Appendix] State of SK Inc.’s Investment in Sustainable Food
Main Business Sector
Investment Amount (USD/ KRW)
Founded 2014. Produces non-animal protein diary used in dairy products such as ice cream and cheese. Offers products through owned label ‘Brave Robot’ and U.S. ice cream brands ‘Graeter’s’ and ‘N!ck’s.’
~ $99 million / 120 billion KRW
Founded 2012. a nutritional fungi protein through proprietary fermentation technology using microbe found in Yellowstone, U.S. Expanding its production scale and product line since its pilot launch of cream cheese and plant-based meat patty products.
~ $25 million
/ 29 billion KRW
Founded in 2016. Offers around 30 products including plant-based mince and patties. Began the UK and has expanded into the European market including Germany and the Dutch market, stepping up as a leader in the plant-based meat market.
~ ￡31 million
/ 50 billion KRW
Founded 2016. Produces world’s first cell-cultivated whole-cut salmon. Secured investments from Temasek Holdings and Jeff Bezos.