South Korea’s SK Inc. has invested approximately $100 million in new food-focused companies in the US, Europe and Asia over the past year, starting with a $45 million investment in Perfect Day in 2020 and including such alt protein pioneers as Nature’s Fynd and Meatless Farm.
Moohwan Kim, executive vice president of SK Inc.’s Green Investment Center, took time out to tell vegconomist about the famous Asian conglomerate’s achievements and goals in the plant-based space.
Who is SK Inc. and how long has the company been investing in the alternative food market?
SK Inc. is the strategic investment company for SK Group, South Korea‘s third-largest conglomerate. In addition to SK Inc., SK group has major global operating companies in energy, semiconductors, telecommunications and life sciences. SK Hynix is the world’s second-largest maker of memory chips, SK Innovation is one of the world’s leading makers of batteries for electric vehicles, and SK Telecom is Korea’s largest mobile phone provider and the first in the world to offer 5G service.
Earlier in 2021, SK Inc. reorganized under four key investment pillars: Green Business, Digital, Advanced Materials and Biopharmaceuticals. The investments in new food are part of SK Inc.’s focus on driving growth in Green Business and fit into SK’s broader commitment to supporting sustainable business models and technologies through Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) principles.
SK Inc. has invested approximately $100 million in new food-focused companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia over the past year in an effort to address the global food chain and its impact on reaching long-term sustainability goals.
SK Inc. believes these investments can help lower the environmental impact of our global food chain. According to research by Chatham House, a world-leading policy institute, the food chain as-is serves as a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions which negatively impacts efforts to curb climate change. SK’s investments in new food companies aim to support the transition to a more sustainable, equitable food chain for all.
What was the most recent investment?
SK Inc. participated in the recently announced Series D funding round for Perfect Day. SK Inc. and co-investor STIC Investments, a leading Korean private equity firm, invested an additional $55 million in Perfect Day as part of the Series D funding. Perfect Day will use the investment from SK and other partners to expand its focus into biological engineering, ingredient innovation and consumer products.
SK also recently signed an MOU with SPC Samlip, a Korean-based food company. This MOU will bring the two companies together with a goal of making joint investments and pursuing business opportunities by introducing new food technologies from its investments, such as those from U.S.-based Perfect Day and U.K.-based Meatless Farm, into the Asian market.
Which investments in which companies have been made before?
To date, SK Inc. has invested in Perfect Day, Nature’s Fynd and Meatless Farm. SK Inc. also is forming an $85 million investment fund with China’s Joyvio Group to help promote new food technologies and companies in that market. In addition, we recently signed an MOU to work with SPC Samlip to make joint investments and introduce new food technologies into Asia
What is the geographic focus?
SK Inc. has a global investment focus. In the new food space, SK Inc. has sought to back leading new food companies around the world with investments and partnerships in the U.S., Europe and Asia. With nearly 70 years of experience and growth as one of Korea’s top conglomerates, SK Inc. also seeks to use its deep connections in the Asia market to help bring promising new food technologies from the U.S. and Europe to Asia.
SK Inc. is focused on addressing the global food chain and creating solutions that impact consumers on a broad scale. SK Inc. is continually evaluating new opportunities to strategically partner with companies that have a shared vision for sustainability and can complement our existing portfolio.