120 years ago in 1902, Archer Daniels Midland started a linseed oil business in Minneapolis.
Over the decades, ADM has become a large global company with 41,000 employees and presence in nearly 200 countries. ADM is known for its wide range of agricultural products. In addition, some of ADM’s unique entrants, such as amino acids, sweeteners, enzymes and biofuels, have led the company into the growing fermentation sector.
Due to ADM’s vast fermentation capacity and expertise, the company also works with innovative small companies. Fermentation science has brought so many advances and innovations that the best way for ADM to serve its customers is not always the company working in isolation.
“You can either extend your existing platform or consider investing in or partnering with a partner. [companies] Through our investment, we’ll mostly use it as an extension of our existing platform,” said Pinner. “And we do both. We develop things in-house that we want to keep in-house and make sure we develop in-house, and work with partners to use them as extensions of our science and technology platform. increase.”
ADM and Alternate Protein Partners
Through both capital investments and partnerships, ADM has worked with several food companies that use fermentation to create and perfect alternative protein products. In 2019, ADM invested in animal-free dairy company Perfect Day. This comes nearly a year after partnering to scale and commercialize Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy protein. The company raised a March 2020 funding round for fermented analog maker Nature’s Fynd, a July 2020 funding round for animal-free collagen maker Geltor, and a November 2021 funding round for animal-free cheese maker New Participated in Culture’s Series A funding round.
The company’s venture capital arm, ADM Ventures, was one of the leaders in a funding round for Air Protein, a fermentation-derived carbon dioxide-derived meat analogue, in January 2021, with cultivated meat maker Believer. Co-led Meats (previously known as Future Meat Technologies) on its $347 million series. B round is December 2021.
ADM works with companies involved in all stages of fermentation, Pinner said. They work with companies that are already creating cultures and help them scale. They leverage their expertise to help start-ups make their technology commercially viable. The company is exploring potential formulations using ingredients the company is creating. These will help you develop market development and distribution plans. And they are eyeing fermentation startup efforts that could benefit other ADM customers.
Pinner said it made more sense for ADM to leverage its extensive facilities, reach and expertise to help fermentation-using startups like Perfect Day, New Culture and materials company Spiber do new things. said that it is suitable for ADM could develop some of these new features in-house, but that would be too much work. Especially since it takes a lot of investment and expertise to properly process some of these products created by fermentation.
“You don’t have to build and own all of that landscape, you can focus on what you think is great technology and a great management team and work with them,” says Pinner.
How the ADM partnership works
Through its venture arm, ADM invests heavily in companies developing next-generation fermentation products, but working with startups is much more than an investment. Pinner said ADM can be a scale-up partner or help startups figure out exactly what they need to do next.
“We invest because we think the technology is a winning technology,” says Pinner. “We like the teams we work with in startup businesses—the ventures we talk about. We want to be part of the ADM strategy, and we want them to be part of the ADM strategy.”
ADM is an investor and partner of animal-free dairy companies Perfect Day and New Culture.
ADM began working with Perfect Day before products with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein hit the market. ADM helped Perfect Day with both scaling up and application development, Pinner said.
In 2019, Perfect Day co-founder and CEO Ryan Pandya said ADM’s size and reputation would also help the company produce enough ingredients to enter a range of consumer products. Perfect Day is reaching that point today with the launch of several products that span different categories, from chocolate to milk to cream cheese.
Much more recent is our partnership with New Culture, which uses precision fermentation to produce casein protein for stretchy, non-animal cheeses. In August, ADM and New Culture entered into a strategic development and commercialization partnership. New Culture plans to make animal-free mozzarella cheese available in its pizzerias next year.
Pinner said ADM is working with New Culture to explore ways to increase manufacturing capacity while scaling up for an early 2023 launch. Making too much can be harmful as there is no revenue if excess cheese is not sold.
“We really want to help our partners think through these business models and their financial case and find a place where we can be a valuable partner to help them grow and at the same time help our stakeholders. “We are doing it,” said Pinner.
Another company ADM has collaborated with and invested in is fermented materials company Spiber. Spiber isn’t in the food sector, but uses fermentation to make polymers for fabrics and buildings. ADM recently announced a partnership with Spiber. The fermented polymer company uses his ADM’s large-scale microbial fermentation facility in Iowa to convert regeneratively farmed corn-based dextrose into Spiber’s brewed protein polymer.
Pinner said Spiber is an example of how ADM can work with partner companies to bring greater benefits to both parties and help smaller companies grow.
Pinner said he sees raw materials and products produced by fermentation as “and.” This is another option that manufacturers and consumers have to choose from when eating.
Some of the companies ADM works with have reached the commercialization stage and are making good progress at that stage, Pinner said. The products are of high quality and are considered a viable option.
Not only that, but materials made by fermentation are seen as a more sustainable option. demonstrated whey protein production, reduced water consumption by 96% to 99%, and reduced non-renewable energy use. Reduces from 29% to 60% and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97%.
Pinner said ADM will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2035, reduce energy intensity by 15%, reduce water intensity by 10% and divert 90% of waste from landfills. We are working hard to meet our unique Strive 35 sustainability goals. He said there are steps ADM can take to achieve these goals. ADM is looking at ways to make fermentation more sustainable, experimenting with forms of energy like steam and investing in carbon sequestration methods.
Pinner said using ADM’s knowledge and collective strength to work on more sustainable solutions such as fermentation is how the company can continue to serve its customers. Most manufacturers are trying to deliver on their sustainability commitments, and consumers are starting to realize the carbon footprint of the products they buy. Pinner said ADM often works with manufacturing customers to understand what they want in terms of sustainable options and to jointly figure out how to make it happen.
“Today, we believe in timeless trends,” Pinner said. “And he said for ADM, it’s about food security, it’s about health and well-being. It’s about sustainability. And we’ve responded strategically to these trends. Given our precision fermentation capabilities… [to bring the innovation] There is no doubt that ADM will continue to innovate in the years to come in the areas of providing sustainability, providing food security, and providing health and well-being. ”