In 2010, when various corporations and world leaders met at the World Economic Forum in Davos,they re-envisioned what would become the future of agriculture and food. Corporations such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, Sara Lee, Kellogg's et al, all agreed to support production of alternative food production methods and slowly start to move away from the current model of agriculture around the world: farming animals.
Laboratory produced hamburger meat from the stem cell of animals
Heading this brand new world of food were headed by the strategic thinkers at the University of Oxford, when they initially did the research for the World Economic Forum more than 5 years ago, when they determined that it would be more cost effective for the global world to start producing meat analogues, rather than via traditional farming of animals.
But where are the UK startups in alternative meat production? In fact, the UK was way ahead of the trend, Quorn, the UK-Ireland venture in meat analogues was founded in 1985, Bute Island Foodsfounded 1988, and Linda McCartney Foods founded in 1991, the latter acquired by Heinz and quietly shelved into silence until it was sold again to Hain Celetrial Group; and V-bites Food was founded in 1993.
So where do UK VCs stand in the future of food dialogue? Which companies are they investing in? Thus far, UK universities have been heavily involved with vertical farming. Last year, the University of Nottingham organised an International Conference on vertical farming which brought together scientists, engineers, industrialists, and policymakers to discuss current ideas, technologies and commercial applications and research opportunities.