Barilla, the Italy-based sauces and pasta maker, has taken part in a US$750,000 investment round in US ingredients start-up Planetarians.
It invested via its in-house venture capital fund Blu1877, alongside Techstars, SOSV, the Yield Lab and a group of angel investors.
San Mateo, California-based Planeatrians is an ingredient tech company, up-cycling by-products – such as de-fatted sunflower seeds – and solid food waste into high-protein, high-fibre ingredients like flour “that allow brands to create products that appeal to customers who want better-for-you, better-for-the-environment foods”.
Planetarians has taken part in tests at one of Barilla’s facilities, using its up-cycled flour to make crackers, breads, biscuits, tortillas, and pasta.
The company’s founder and CEO, Aleh Manchuliantsau, said: “Our technology allows food processors to sell by-products that can now be transformed into a high protein, high fibre flour at a premium price, a powerful incentive to re-purpose by-products that would have otherwise been wasted or used as feed.”
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Planetarians will use the funding to continue trials with customers and enlarge the range of product applications to noodles, breakfast products, dips, and purees.
Michela Petronio, from Blu1877, said: “When you up-cycle what’s already grown, you don’t need to grow more crops, occupy more land, consume more water.
“Re-purposing by-products you can help to fight the climate change. Making protein affordable you fight food insecurity for current and future generations.”