Hannover-based Martin Braun-Gruppe is the food division of the German internationally active group of companies Geschwister Oetker Beteiligungen KG. Grown through M&A activities, the company is launching a corporate venture capital arm to invest in startups that have standout ideas in the areas of alternative ingredients, better-for-you products and tech-driven business around the category of baking.
Its partnership with StartLife – Europe’s longest-running accelerator for AgriTech startups – it is geared towards driving engagement with the community and push its quest for a sustainable food system.
Shift in demand
“Consumers are more conscious about the nutritional value of the food they consume. But ingredients are not easily substituted,” said Andreas Gockeln, corporat development manager for Martin Braun-Gruppe.
“Because of food regulation, it takes a long time to get a new, alternative ingredient approved. Another challenge is that consumers are accustomed to the taste and texture of their indulgence. When consumers treat themselves to an indulgence, they don’t want to compromise on these aspects.”
In addition to the health of people, the health of the planet is another area of attention that Martin Braun-Gruppe’s VA will focus on.
“There is a growing desire to lower the footprint of the industry. For example, palm oil – a much-used ingredient in the industry – has a negative impact on the environment. In addition to that, we see on our markets new and technology driven business models. We are conscious of these developments and want to act on it,” added Gockeln.
“There’s a lot of growth in alternatives and substitutes for traditional bakery ingredients, especially by startups,” said Caroline Bijkerk, global partnership manager of StartLife.
“It makes sense for large companies to open up to new ways of thinking and collaborate with these startups."
Since its inception in 2010, StartLife - co-founded by Wageningen University and Research - has supported over 400 startups that have raised €320m follow-on capital.
“Adding a bakery and confectionery business of this scale to StartLife’s global partnership network is also truly icing on the cake to us and the impact-driven startups we support. Startups will be able tap into the Martin Braun-Gruppe`s decades of industry knowledge and ability to scale fast and grow internationally," added Bijkerk.
“When innovations by startups are fuelled with the scale of large companies, it can truly accelerate impactful changes.”
Interested startups should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.
Martin Braun-Gruppe sells a full range of convenience products sold in more than 70 countries. The company has more than 2,500 employees at 23 locations and is represented in all relevant sales channels.