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Sustainable food and agriculture firm Terviva has raised US$45 million in financing to commercialise its novel culinary oil and plant protein ingredients derived from the pongamia tree. It has also forged a partnership with food giant Danone to incorporate its pongamia oil and plant protein into new plant-based food products.
Terviva has closed a US$45 million round of funding, the company announced on Thursday (May 20). A number of venture capital firms participated in the round, including Astera Institute, Evans Properties, Trustbridge Partners, the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, as well as individual investors such as former CEO of Nature Conservancy Mark Tercek and Bryan Meehan, the executive chair of Blue Bottle Coffee, among others.
The California-based firm says that the funds will primarily be used to fuel its go-to-market strategy for its novel culinary oil and plant protein, made from its patented high-yielding and regenerative pongamia tree. To commercialise, the company is opening its U.S. production facility in 2022 to begin producing pongamia-based foods.
Terviva says it also expects to close an additional US$24 million in equity and debt capital later this quarter to bring the total funds to US$78 million to further “drive its expansion”.
Terviva’s pongamia-based food ingredients broaden access to healthy and environmentally sustainable foods that directly combat climate change.Naveen Sikka, Founder & CEO, Terviva
Founded in 2010, Terviva provides its clients with its trees, ingredients and proprietary natural bean processing to create what it claims to be the “world’s most sustainable oil and protein food ingredients”.
Compared to commonly used oilseed crops, such as palm and soy, the golden cooking oil and soluble plant protein from the beans of the pongamia tree are considered far more planet-friendly because this species of tree promotes the restoration of idle agricultural land suffering from poor soil and water stress.
According to Terviva, growing an orchard of pongamia trees helps capture 115 metric tonnes of carbon per acre over the span of three decades.
“Terviva’s pongamia-based food ingredients broaden access to healthy and environmentally sustainable foods that directly combat climate change,” said Naveen Sikka, founder and CEO of Terviva. “With our food ingredients, we can feed the planet and heal it at the same time.”
We are excited to team up with Terviva to co-develop important ingredients – edible protein and oil – from the pongamia tree, while also rehabilitating the soil the tree grows in.Merijn Dols, Global Director of Open Innovation & Circular Economy, Danone
Part of its plan to commercialise its novel sustainable food ingredients is a new collaboration the company has made with Paris-headquartered food giant Danone, supported by the San Francisco-based innovation platform for future foods MISTA.
Together, Danone and Terviva plan to develop a number of food products that use pongamia oil and plant protein, in line with French multinational group’s previously announced plan to double its plant-based sales to US$5.4 billion by 2025 in support of its sustainability strategy.
“We believe that healthy foods need a healthy planet with thriving ecosystems and strong, resilient social structures,” commented Merijn Dols, global director of open innovation and circular economy for food of Danone.
“This is why we are excited to team up with Terviva to co-develop important ingredients – edible protein and oil – from the pongamia tree, while also rehabilitating the soil the tree grows in.”
All images courtesy of Terviva.