Roots soars on ASX on plant-based meat trials

Australian calves

The Israeli company has initiated a planting program to examine the effects of its technologies on several protein-laden crops, including peas and beans.

The share price of Israeli agro-technology company Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd. (ASX: ROO) rose 44% on the Australian Securities Exchange after the company reported that it is entering the plant-based meat market.

This follows the huge success of US companies Beyond Meat (Nasdaq: BYND) and Impossible Foods, which has developed investors' appetites for meat substitute enterprises. Now Roots is riding the wave of success.

However, even after today's sharp rise in share price, Roots is still trading at 64% below the price of its IPO in December 2017. Roots market cap is currently A$4.4 million (NIS 10.5 million).

Roots has developed a unique environmentally friendly system called root zone temperature optimization (RTZO) that makes it possible to heat and cool crop roots with the use of a small amount of energy. The company has also developed technology called irrigation by condensation (IBC), which enables crops to be watered solely from condensation.

According to Roots' announcement today, the company has initiated a planting program to examine the effects of its technologies on several protein-laden crops, including peas and beans, to increase the content of leghemoglobin - a main ingredient in meat substitute.

The crops will be planted at Roots’ R&D hub in Israel where the protein content of the beans and peas will be measured in a two-part program using the company’s RZTO and IBC technologies. Initially root zone cooling will be measured, then in the fall and winter a second round of crops will be tested using root zone heating. Roots’ IBC technology will then be used to examine the effect on protein content of the ‘deficit irrigation’ concept using irrigation from just humidity in the air. The results from each plot will be compared with a control plot planted under the same ambient conditions and results compared.

Entrepreneur Boaz Wachtel and CEO Dr. Sharon Devir founded Roots in 2012. Wachtel is known in Israel as the founder of the Ale Yarok Party, which advocated the legalization of cannabis in Israel.

Devir said "Roots is aiming to enter the meat replacement market with this research initiative. We plan to address a major market that is surging due to the changing way we eat. Growing concerns about sustainable consumption of animal protein has urged consumers to elect for alternative protein sources, furthering demand for plant-based meat products. The global demand for plant-based meat is estimated to reach US$27.9 billion by 2025.

He added, "Reports state bean and pea protein is becoming more accepted in communities and is rapidly gaining popularity among plant-based meat manufacturers at a global level thanks to its high protein content and health benefits. Leading manufacturers in the global plant-based protein industry have shifted resources to developing common meat products, using pea protein as a base for future product development."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 19, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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