Press Release – Agronomics Limited
RNS Number : 8299Z
27 January 2022
(“Agronomics” or the “Company”)
Portfolio Company, BlueNalu, Announces Partnership with FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, the Largest Sushi Restaurant Operator in Japan
Agronomics Limited (AIM:ANIC), a leading listed company focused on cellular agriculture, is pleased to announce portfolio company BlueNalu, Inc. (“BlueNalu”) has agreed a partnership with FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES Ltd (“FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES”), to supply leading sushi brands such as Sushiro and Kyotaru with BlueNalu’s lead product, cultivated bluefin tuna.
Agronomics currently holds both shares and a Convertible Promissory Note in BlueNalu which would, in aggregate, represent an equity interest of circa 5.85% on a fully diluted basis and be valued, subject to audit, at approximately £13.4 million (see announcement of 20 January 2021 for more details on the basis of this calculation). The BlueNalu position represents roughly 4.8% portfolio weighting to Net Asset Value.
The full announcement is set out below with no material changes or adjustments:
SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 25th, 2022 / Osaka, Japan, January 26th, 2022 — BlueNalu, a leading innovative food company developing a variety of seafood products directly from fish cells, announced today a collaboration with leading, multinational sushi restaurant operator, FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES Ltd. (TYO: 3563). As a Japanese foodservice leader, FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES (F&LC) operates brands such as Sushiro and Kyotaru and over 1,000 restaurants across Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Mainland China.
The agreement focuses on developing a supply-chain solution for bluefin tuna and other sushi-grade products for the multinational sushi restaurant operator in the Asia-Pacific region, where seafood consumption is highest. The companies plan to collaborate on product development and marketing as well as support of a regulatory framework to accelerate BlueNalu’s commercialization in Japan.
BlueNalu and F&LC will focus on the belly portion of bluefin tuna, called toro, as an initial commercial product. Bluefin tuna is a prized species in Japan, where an estimated 80% of the global supply is consumed, and commands premium pricing for its delicious flavor and unique sensory characteristics.
“FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES is a global leader in the sushi restaurant business, and BlueNalu is thrilled to partner with their team to continue the innovative legacy of their iconic brands,” said Lou Cooperhouse, president & CEO of BlueNalu. “Cell-cultured seafood is a supply-chain solution that will have the taste, texture and nutrition that consumers expect, and will not be susceptible to environmental contaminants like mercury and microplastics. By centering our initial efforts on the high-quality toro portion of bluefin tuna, we aim to demonstrate culinary excellence with the most prized portion of the most sought-after fish in the most iconic marketplace for seafood.”
“With the uncertainty of natural marine resources in the future, it is important that we secure a stable supply of seafood in a more sustainable manner,” said Koichi Mizutome, president and CEO of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES. “We have already been promoting the use of farmed seafood as one of the ways to achieve this, but as seafood demand increases in the future, there will be increasing challenges with our global supply chain. Therefore, we are eager to incorporate BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood as we believe it is one of the most promising methods to help solve these issues. We look forward to the progress of this collaboration, and to the future when BlueNalu products can be used as sustainable, delicious, healthy, and reliable seafood on our menus.”
Global seafood consumption is at an all-time high and continues to increase, particularly in Asia. The United Nations projects global population and consumption growth will require 28 million metric tons of new seafood production by 2030. In addition to wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, cell-cultured seafood is seen as a third production method that can help meet that demand.
This announcement with F&LC follows additional collaborations announced earlier by BlueNalu, including agreements with Pulmuone Co. Ltd. in South Korea, Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan, Thai Union in Thailand and Nomad Foods in Europe. BlueNalu’s business strategy is to partner with leading multinational companies on market research, regulatory affairs, product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, with an aim to efficiently and effectively bring BlueNalu’s branded cell-cultured seafood products to consumers worldwide.
About BlueNaluBlueNalu’s mission is to develop great-tasting, healthy, safe and trusted cell-cultured seafood products that support the sustainability and diversity of our ocean. BlueNalu is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for our planet. BlueNalu began its operations in 2018 and is based in San Diego, California.
About FOOD & LIFE COMPANIESFOOD & LIFE COMPANIES (F&LC) operates restaurant brands such as Sushiro and Kyotaru and is aiming to realize the vision of “Discovering new tastiness, Sharing moments of joy” together with our “COMPANIES” – the various multinational brands in our group. As a Japanese foodservice leader, F&LC operates over 1,000 restaurants across Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Mainland China. In order to deliver safe and delicious food to our customers, we have a responsibility to achieve a sustainable food supply that will last into the future.
This press release contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements related to the development and commercialization of BlueNalu’s products in collaboration with F&LC, the potential launching of BlueNalu’s products in F&LC , and the type and characteristics of products that BlueNalu will produce in collaboration with F&LC. These forward-looking statements are based on BlueNalu’s and F&LC’s current expectations and inherently involve significant risks and uncertainties. BlueNalu and F&LC undertake no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information. The impact of this agreement on the consolidated business performance of F&LC is expected to be insignificant.
Agronomics is a leading listed alternative proteins company with a focus on cellular agriculture and cultivated meat. The Company has established a portfolio of 18 companies at the Pre-Seed to Series C stage in this rapidly advancing sector. It seeks to secure minority stakes in companies owning technologies with defensible intellectual property that offer new ways of producing food and materials with a focus on products historically derived from animals. These technologies are driving a major disruption in agriculture, offering solutions to improve sustainability, as well as addressing human health, animal welfare and environmental damage. This disruption will decouple supply chains from the environment and animals, as well as being fundamental to feeding the world’s expanding population. A full list of Agronomics’ portfolio companies is available at https://agronomics.im/.
About Cellular Agriculture
Cellular Agriculture is the production of agriculture products directly from cells, as opposed to raising an animal for slaughter, or growing crops. This encompasses cell culture to produce cultivated meat and materials, and fermentation processes that harness a combination of molecular biology, synthetic biology, tissue engineering and biotechnology to massively simplify production methods in a sustainable manner.
Over the coming decades, the source of the world’s food supply traditionally derived from conventional agriculture is going to change dramatically. We have already witnessed the first wave of this shift with the consumer adoption of plant-based alternative proteins but today, we are on the cusp of an even bigger wave of change. This is being facilitated by advances in cellular agriculture. This change is necessary, given scientists claims that if we maintain existing animal protein consumption patterns, then we will not meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5℃
AT Kearney, a global consultancy firm, projects that cultivated meat’s market share will reach 35% by 2040. This combined with the Good Food Institute’s estimate that a US $1.8 trillion investment will be required in order to produce just 10% of the world’s protein using this technology, means that we are on the cusp of a multi-decade flow of capital to build out manufacturing facilities. Funding in the field of cellular agriculture is accelerating, however still less than US$ 1 billion has been invested worldwide since the industry’s inception in 2016.
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