Plantbased Business Hour

Buhler Group Goes Big in Supporting Plant-Based Startups

From Uzwil/Zurich Switzerland, The Plantbased Business Hour with Elysabeth Alfano visits Buhler Group’s start-up tent at Networking Days 22, stopping at six start-ups booth: JellatechPearlitaVeggie Victory, NoPalm IngredientsHooked Foods and Napiferyn Biotech.

Elysabeth meets with founders of plant-based meats, alternative proteins and cultivated seafood. It’s the future of food served up from pivotal plant-based player, Buhler Group, at its global headquarters with a quick overview from Global Head of Communications, Burkhard Boendel.

Specifically, they discuss,

  1. What is the star innovation Buhler is working on and what problem does it solve?
  2. How is Buhler part of the start-up journey?
  3. What are Buhler’s predictions for the sector in the next 3 years?

Here is a short clip and transcript from their conversation. Podcast here.

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Elysabeth: You know, the key takeaway for me is that we’re so inspired by these individuals who themselves say “I’m going to change the world.” It’s so empowering, but in execution it’s not possible without scale.   That’s why I am so personally moved by this dedication that Buhler has for helping others, small or big. It doesn’t even matter the budget size. You’re going for the individual and their idea. If it’s a good idea that solves problems, you’re getting behind it.

Burkhard Boendel: I’ll give you one example. We have two cool startups which we have to go to market quickly, one in Singapore called SG Proteins and one in Lichtenstein. This is then the power that we can bring to the table because we have food technologists, and we have people that know the processes. Now you run a startup and time to market for you is really critical, right, because you’re burning money and the longer it takes to present your product to the market, the longer you burn money and sometimes startups then die. Now with these startups, we have managed- because our food technology has no recipes. So, if you want to make plant-based meat or burgers or something, then it’s all about texture and taste and you don’t want to compromise on that because then the consumers won’t buy it. With our process knowledge and our recipe knowledge, [the goals is] to bring products to the market in less than a year.

Bühler plant meat
© Bühler AG

Elysabeth: That’s amazing.

Burkhard Boendel: And this is really a key factor for them in the first instance to grow in scale. This is also the topic of the networking event: accelerating impact together and we all know time is running. In so many ways time is running and if you look at the geopolitical agenda, I mean it doesn’t give us leeway. Just the opposite. So that increases the role of global industry-also to compensate for political turmoil which is not yet supporting this sustainability agenda-and it’s so important that we accelerate.

On the other hand, what makes me optimistic is if you see today how fast things can change. I’m always so flabbergasted when I see these numbers from social media and the iPhone is maybe ten or eleven years old. Look at how in eleven years we have changed communication habits in a way you could not have imagined before and that goes for other topics as well. If there is a demand or a push and pull where consumers are demanding and industry is pushing then things can happen very, very fast.


Elysabeth Alfano is the CEO of VegTech™ Invest, the advisor to the VegTech™ Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF, EATV. She is also the founder of Plant Powered Consulting and the Host of the Plantbased Business Hour.  

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