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November 11, 2020

Nordic meat group Scandi Standard signs plant-based R&D deal

The Nordic group says it's "in the process of developing a business plan for the introduction of plant-based products".

By Dean Best

Scandi Standard, the Sweden-based meat processor, is to work with local food-development firm Veg of Lund in R&D projects centring on plant-based protein.

The poultry group, owner of brands including Denmark’s Danpo and Ireland’s Manor Farm, said the companies would work on developing “a new plant-based protein” that is “aimed at having both taste and texture similar to chicken”.

Publicly-listed Scandi Standard said it will spend SEK4m (US$462,000) over two years on work it aims to see develop a plant-based meat substitute based on an emulsion of potato and rapeseed oil. In return for the investment, Scandi Standard has been granted global exclusive rights to a chicken-based meat substitute and comprehensive global rights for other substitutes for red meat. The project is expected to start by the end of 2020 and run over two years.

“We continue to see great growth potential within in chicken-based products but want to complement our strong portfolio with products for consumers wanting to diversify their diet. This project is one of the tracks in our previously communicated decision to develop a sustainable business plan for incorporation of plant-based products in the existing value chain” Scandi Standard CEO Leif Bergvall Hansen said.

Veg of Lund has its roots in research at University of Lund. It has developed a beverage under the brand My Foodie, which is made from the firm’s potato and rapeseed oil base, as well as fruits and nuts.

In 2019, Scandi Standard generated net sales of SEK9.89bn, up 12% on a year earlier. The company booked EBIT of SEK424m, a rise of 28% on 2018. Income for the period was SEK237m, 18% higher year-on-year.

Last week, the group filed its financial results for the first nine months of 2020. Net sales were up 1% at SEK7.55bn, as Covid-19 weighed on foodservice sales. EBIT was down 12% at SEK295m, with profitability down in Denmark, hurt by lower export sales and the pressure on foodservice. Group income for the period was down 4% at SEK187m.

Hansen said at the time: “I am pleased to report that we have returned to a strong growth in net sales in the third quarter despite the Covid 19 related reduction in foodservice demand. The strong retail demand has more than offset the reduced demand from our foodservice clients. Although we have seen improvement in foodservice sales compared to the second quarter, demand from this channel remains volatile as a result of changing Covid-19 related consumer behaviours and state measures. All in all, we maintain a good sales mix which contributes to the strong margins.”

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