- Nick’s, a sugar-free Swedish ice-cream maker, raises $30M to grow in the US. It is also announcing a partnership with Perfect Day to use its precision fermentation ingredients to create “vegan” ice cream.
- Sproud, a Swedish startup which is raising $6.6M to conquer North America with its vegan milk
- Last year, Oatly raised $200M from Blackrock and global stars such as Oprah Winfrey and is now seeking a $10 billion IPO (in New York) in May.
- From all the places, McDonald’s McPlant, the burger co-developed with Beyond Meat is available first in selected locations in Sweden and Denmark.
- Many other plant-based ventures in Sweden and other Nordics countries have raised awareness in the past year (Hooked, Solar Foods, Simple Feast etc.)
Why it matters – DigitalFoodLab’s opinion:
Taken individually, all these announcements are interesting but not earth-shattering. But combined, it clearly indicates that a healthy ecosystem of plant-based startups and well-disposed consumers is under construction in the Nordics, especially in Sweden. The latter point may be the most important. Willing but demanding consumers keen to experiment with new foods (often more expensive, not well distributed, etc.) are key to gain feedback and fast-track the iterations of a food product. Hence McDonald’s choice of these countries to try its vegan burger.
As shown in DigitalFoodLab’s 2020 report on European FoodTech, the Nordics are the continent’s ecosystem’s rising star. These countries are globally known for their startups focused on sustainability and anti-food waste (with apps such as TooGoodToGo or Karma). It may become a global powerhouse in plant-based and alternative proteins.
However, we can regret that after the Nordics, theses companies expand first in the US. Due to fragmented markets (both in terms of retail and consumers behaviours) Europe is not attractive enough for these fast-growing ventures.