Mars has joined forces with venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) to foster food-tech solutions in Israel.
The US confectionery company will support Israeli start-ups and the formation of companies, and will work together with Israeli academic institutions as it aims to pursue solutions for global food, agriculture and nutrition challenges.
In a joint statement, Mars and JVP said that partnership has the potential to unlock opportunities in the emerging space of personalised nutrition.
Mars Edge and the Mars Advanced Research Institute, representing Mars, will explore the fields of food, health and technology.
JVP stressed the growth potential of the food-tech space. According to a report by venture capital platform AgFunder, agriculture and food-tech start-ups raised $16.9 billion in 2018 – a 43% increase over the previous year.
“After building global companies and solutions in cybersecurity, AI and big data, Israel has set its sights on food as the next frontier,” said JVP founder and executive chairman Erel Margalit.
“As food and nutrition needs change around the world, we need to create more nutritious, accessible and sustainable food solutions. And by partnering with Mars, one of the world’s most iconic brands at the forefront of innovation, we are confident in Israel’s ability to be the food-tech leader of the future.”
Jean-Christophe Flatin, president of innovation, science, technology and Mars Edge at Mars, said: “Mars is passionate about leveraging leading science and technology to innovate. Our ambition is to provide people around the world with consumer-centric products, services and experiences.
“One example is personalised nutrition solutions that fit an individual’s lifestyle by reconciling the food they want with the nutrition they need. We are clear that we need forward-thinking partnerships and collaborations to do this.”
George Graham, vice president, Mars Advanced Research Institute, added: “We are eager to partner with JVP and tap into the innovative ecosystem of the Israeli food, health and technology community. This exciting collaboration will help us access and be part of solutions specific to global challenges in the food system related to ag tech, nutrition and food security.”
Earlier this year, Mars launched the Seeds of Change Accelerator to support early-stage food companies fast-track growth.
The company said it will select six US and four Australian participants in the following areas: start-up food brands, innovative experiential offerings, new business models and emerging technology. In addition to a grant of up to $50,000, each selected start-up will undertake a tailored four-month programme to scale its operations.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019