Katjesgreenfood: “Our Goal is to Revolutionize the Global Food Market”

Dr. Manon Sarah Littek
© Katjesgreenfood

The world of business is subject to constant change. New, innovative ideas and products aimed at revolutionising the market are always coming along. Change is especially rapid in the plant-based sector, so it’s nice to have a partner with many years of experience and financial strength at your side. This is exactly what Katjesgreenfood – Europe’s first food impact investor – offers. In an interview with Dr. Manon Sarah Littek, we learned more about the concept, its focus and her assessment of the future of the vegan market.

What exactly do you mean by Food Impact Investing?
The world of food is currently undergoing a revolution. Sustainability is a crucial issue, along with the question of how we can feed almost 10 billion people in 2050 with resources becoming scarcer. At the same time, people’s need for individualized nutrition continues to grow. The drivers for this are growing health awareness and diet as self-expression. True to the motto, you are what you eat. This has resulted in both new markets and new brands. As Europe’s first food impact investor, we are therefore investing in the rapidly growing market for sustainable foods. Our goal is to revolutionize the global food market and to promote awareness of a sustainable and above all plant-based, resource-conserving diet.

What is the focus of Katjesgreenfood?
We invest exclusively in companies whose products are sustainable and disrupt the global food market. We pay particular attention to three factors: taste, brand and innovation. Taste is the most important factor. Branding also plays a decisive role in successful positioning in the retail trade and in the minds of consumers. We enter into minority shareholdings with the companies, with a focus on late-seed or series-A investments.

What vegan companies have you already invested in?
Veganz is Europe’s pioneer and market leader in vegan food, and is therefore an excellent fit with our strategy of investing in the fast-growing market for sustainable plant-based foods. We currently hold stakes in seven new food companies in Germany and the USA. Our latest investment is the US start-up Fora. The company has developed the world’s first vegan and cholesterol-free butter made from aquafaba. It can hardly be distinguished from conventional butter in taste and texture. In addition, it has a longer shelf life and is suitable for cooking and frying at higher temperatures. We believe that Fora’s FabaButter will revolutionize the classic butter and margarine market. Fora’s founders are currently in talks to bring their product to Germany and Europe.

What requirements does a startup company need to meet in order to receive funding from Katjesgreenfood?
As a pioneer in food impact investing, we are looking for companies whose products are just as forward-looking as we are. Of course, the products must also taste fantastic and be plant-based. Our focus is on startups who, like us, want to change the market for sustainable food in the long term and promote ethical consumption. Start-ups that want to make a quick exit are not what we’re looking for. We strive for long-term, sustainable investments.

How do you expect the vegan lifestyle to develop?
Plant-based diets are no longer a fringe phenomenon. Vegan and vegetarian products have long since reached the mainstream. More and more people are abandoning foods of animal origin, which is reflected in the growing trend towards flexitarianism. Millennials are a very large target group who are very sensitive to topics such as sustainability, ethical consumption and environmental protection, and like to try out new products. For us, plant-based products are now a part of urban lifestyles, and this is exactly what our portfolio companies stand for.

As nutrition minister, how would you support plant-based nutrition?
In view of the challenges posed by animal, environmental, climate and health protection as well as resource conservation, I would put nutrition on the climate protection agenda. Apart from that, I am not an advocate for prohibitions and commandments. Plant-based diets taste good, are fun and protect the environment and wildlife. My mission is to get people excited about them.