Tate & Lyle has launched a £30M venture capital fund to help develop new ingredients and boost small start-up firms.
The cash, spread over eight years, was launched in a fund on January 1. It will invest in start-ups and expansion-stage firms in developed and emerging markets, focusing on food sciences and enabling technologies in line with Tate & Lyle's strategy to grow in speciality food ingredients.
Tate & Lyle said this strategy would be essential as firms looked to make healthier products and is being spearheaded from its new $32M Commercial and Food Innovation Centre in Chicago, which opened last year.
The new fund will be independently led and managed by Simon Barnes and David Atkinson from Tate & Lyle Ventures.
Change in consumer attitudes
Atkinson said: "We are continuing to see a real change in consumer attitudes towards health and nutrition and, in particular, growing interest in functional foods. Busy lives, an ageing population and rapid urbanisation in emerging markets mean consumers across the world are looking to food to offer lifestyle solutions and bring additional benefits such as fortification and enrichment.
"New technologies will be instrumental in this convergence as the world's major firms reposition themselves with a focus on innovation and health," he added.
Tate & Lyle operates through two global business units: speciality food ingredients and bulk ingredients. Its strategy is to be the leading global provider of speciality food ingredients by focusing on growth, and by driving the bulk ingredients business for sustained cash generation to fuel it.
Speciality food ingredients include starch-based ingredients, no calorie sweeteners and food systems that provide blended ingredient solutions. Bulk ingredients include corn-based bulk sweeteners, industrial starches and fermentation products.
Barnes said the fund would be looking to strengthen its speciality food ingredients sector by investing in firms with impressive intellectual property rights.
"We will be looking to invest in firms based on strong intellectual property and with strong management teams," he said.