Genera will manufacture foodservice products such as plates, bowls, and takeaway containers.
Genera has received more than $118 million in new funding for its first manufacturing facility to produce its Earthable line of sustainable packaging products.
The Tennessee-based firm will use grasses and other agricultural crops to make compostable foodservice packaging products like plates, bowls, and takeaway containers at a new facility in Vonore, Tennessee.
The Earthable range is designed to meet growing consumer demands for more eco-friendly products in the food industry.
“With this new investment, we can begin to answer the increasing demand for environmentally conscious solutions with a truly farm-to-table product made in America,” said Kelly Tiller, president and CEO of Genera.
“We’re excited about the new revenue stream we can offer our local farmers. Our Earthable plant-based paper and packaging products really resonate with consumers. We are passionate about delivering sustainability improvements to the marketplace while making positive impacts in rural economies.”
As part of the financing, Genera has secured the backing of WindSail Capital Group, a growth capital investor specialising in sustainability and energy innovation, as well as Coppermine Capital and Stairway Capital.
“We and our partners are investing in Genera because they are pioneering a solution that will serve both our domestic rural economy and the rapidly growing demand for environmentally friendly packaging in the consumer market,” said Ian Bowles, managing director of WindSail Capital Group.
“The market opportunity for domestically sourced, non-wood fibre and packaging products is enormous. Genera is uniquely qualified to deliver this solution to the market, given their industry-leading experience managing agricultural biomass supply combined with the team’s experience in biomass processing and manufacturing.”
Fibres used for the packaging are derived from high-yield conservation crops like switchgrass and biomass sorghum. Genera has already begun to work with Tennessee farmers to produce the feedstock it will use in its new manufacturing facility and is actively seeking additional farm partners in the region.
TennEra, an affiliate of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, has leased its former biorefinery in Vonore, Tennessee, to Genera for the development of the new facility.
The site is expected to be ready to deliver Earthable products to the marketplace in 2020.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019