Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) Monday announced to launch a venture-capital fund to invest in food-startups that develop breakthrough technologies and innovative food products. The fund, which is called Tyson New Ventures LLC, will have $150 million to complement the company’s current investment in innovation.
“We intend to collaborate with promising food entrepreneurs who are pioneering new products and technology that are making meaningful changes and improvement to food systems,” said Monica McGurk, executive vice president of strategy and new ventures and president of foodservice for Tyson Foods. “We believe we can accelerate the growth of startups through our capabilities in such areas as food and culinary research and development, sourcing, insights, customer relationships and distribution. By doing so, we hope to materially advance the state of the U.S. and global food system.”
The fund will concentrate on three areas: alternative proteins, the elimination of food waste, and bets on innovative trends in technology. The fund has already made its first investment in October. It disclosed it took 5 percent ownership stake in plant-based startup Beyond Meat. The new venture fund will be based in Chicago and led by Mary Kay James, who previously served as managing director of DuPont Ventures.
“This fund is about broadening our exposure to innovative, new forms of protein and ways of producing food, while remaining focused on our core fresh meats, poultry and prepared foods businesses, which are also experiencing tremendous consumer demand and growth,” McGurk said.