US confectionery, pet food and food products giant Mars Inc., best known as the manufacturer of Mars Bar snacks, but which also manufactures dozens of other well-known food brands and has $35 billion in annual revenue, is coming to Israel to look for food-tech investments. Mars signed a cooperation agreement with Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), which will help the US company find investments. JVP will also help Mars look for food-tech investment opportunities at Israeli academic institutions.
Mars, the world's fourth largest food corporation, has been a family-owned business for over a century. It produces brands such as Snickers, Skittles, M&Ms, Orbit, Twix, Whiskas animal food products, etc. In addition to its human and animal food business, the company provides veterinary services for animals. Mars's two research and innovation concerns, Mars Edge and the Mars Advanced Research Institute, will lead its partnership in Israel.
JVP chairperson Erel Margalit said, "After building global companies and solutions in cybersecurity, AI and big data, Israel has set its sights on food as the next frontier. 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."
Margalit has been involved in both business and philanthropic ventures in recent years designed to turn the Galilee into a development center in medicine and food. "This agreement is part of the vision that we are implementing on the way to making the Galilee a global food-tech center," he said. "We are in the midst of a revolution, and new categories, such as low-sugar and low-starch food, protein substitutes, and smart packages can make Israel a global leader. We see this revolution throughout the value chain, from crops to cultured meat. The fact that Israel is a power in agricultural and technological knowledge is creating a real opportunity for Israeli entrepreneurs and researchers."
"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 personalized 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," said Jean-Christophe Flatin , President of Innovation, Science, Technology & Mars Edge at Mars.
Mars VP Mars Advanced Research Institute George Graham said, "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."
JVP said that Israel already had over 800 startups in the food-tech market. The Ministry of Economy and Industry and the Israel Innovation Authority recently decided to promote the sector through the use of incentives and benefits, such as subsidizing salaries, enlarged R&D grants, grants for founding enterprises, and establishing an innovation community. The government allocated NIS 400 million for promoting the food-tech sector.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 15, 2019
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