SK Inc., the strategic investment arm of South Korea's SK group, announced 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. US and US new food investments by SK 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 UK 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 US 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 caused by human activity, 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.
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 US with plans to invest billions of dollars over the next few years through its US operations or in partnership with US companies.