Pfeifer & Langen invests in pioneering plant protein group Amidori: ‘All signs point to growth’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Pfeifer & Langen invests in pioneering plant protein group Amidori: ‘All signs point to growth’
Pfeifer & Langen – the German sugar company and Intersnack owner - has taken a stake in European plant protein innovator Amidori. FoodNavigator caught up with the people behind the deal to find out more.

Amidori is a leading innovator in the European plant protein space. The group’s first vegetarian high-protein products were manufactured in late 2016 and marketed immediately in Norway and Sweden.

The company views itself as an innovation leader in the production of plant-based raw materials. It started with the use of the yellow pea, in tandem with other protein sources such as beans, oats, rice and sunflowers.

“We manufacture burgers, Bolognese sauce and nuggets from raw materials such as peas, oats, sunflower seeds, lentils, beans and grains, and are currently expanding our product range. We use absolutely zero soya,”​ Amidori founder Friedrich Büse explained.

Amidori has developed IP protected physical processes – such as heat and pressure - to produce plant proteins without the use chemical additives. This know-how enables the company to develop meat-free products where the taste, texture, mouthfeel and bite are “almost identical”​ to that of meat, Büse revealed.

Cologne-based Pfeifer & Langen (P&L) has taken a 60% stake in Amidori, the companies announced today (26 March). And while all further conditions are confidential, management was keen to run through the expected benefits of the tie-up.

Collaboration to support growth

Amidori I

For P&L, the cooperation represents an investment in what it described as a strategic growth market, which “holds the key to nutrition of the future”​.

“Pfeifer & Langen’s mission is to consolidate existing and new associated companies with targeted investments, strategically helping these to generate growth,"​ Dr Guido Colsman, personally liable partner of P&L, told this publication.

“This entrepreneurial relationship offers both sides promising opportunities to develop. It is a strategic business segment in which all the signs point towards growth.”

Within this model, each of P&L’s companies continue to operate on a stand-alone basis, he continued.

“Our principle of independence is continued here. Each associated company is responsible for the management of its own business. This makes them near to the markets, flexible and fast.”

However, Büse added that there would be some overlap in terms of technological expertise and innovation. “We will of course want to benefit from each other’s know-how in terms of sharing R&D, raw material knowledge, etcetera,”​ he told us.

In this way, the cooperation could open new areas for innovation in the plant-based space.

“Both companies will work on innovations to benefit from the huge know-how of both parties in different areas. We see the greatest potential in segments where either P&L or Amidori are active in currently, but we look also beyond these segments and watch the developments of markets closely,​” Büse said.

Specific details of how the groups view the biggest opportunities in the future remain confidential – but further innovation is certainly on the cards.

Sustainable nutrition

According to Büse, Amidori was an early mover in alternative proteins. “We have developed a new nutritional category: delicious, plant-based high-protein products which almost everyone can use easily when cooking and preparing food. These constitute a valuable component of nutrition,”​ he stressed. "In the long run, it will prove impossible to feed the world population without the use of plant-based protein sources."

The company’s core motivation was therefore to develop healthy and sustainable alternatives to animal proteins, which managing director Jens Wedel said contribute to environmental problems including climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Global food production lays claim to over 30% of the earth’s ice-free surface, 70% of the available fresh water, 30% of the transport sector and 20% of all energy generated. Going forward, sustainable food production requires social and industrial adjustments,”​ he noted. 

“From an environmental and nutritional perspective, protein supply is a key issue in this context. It is scientifically proven that products of animal origin have a disproportionately strong influence on the loss of biodiversity, fresh water, climate change and many other areas.”

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