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Dao Foods and Six Portfolio Companies Named to China’s 2022 International Future AgriFood Top 100

35斗, a future agrifood industry innovation and media platform in China, held the 2022 International Future AgriFood Top 100 Summit in December in Yangling, Shaanxi Province, where the 2022 International Future AgriFood Top 100 List was released. The summit named Dao Foods International and six of our portfolio companies to its various awards announced.

As the only investor focused on China and its alternative proteins sector, Dao Foods appeared on the list of annual Top20 agrifood investors for the second consecutive year. Among the top 20 investors, Dao Foods has the most significant number of alternative protein portfolio companies recognized at the Summit.

Dao Foods’ Top20 Investor Award

The International Future AgriFood Top 100 List has been released three times since 2019, making it the first industry list in China specifically for agrifood innovation. The list is based on investment and financing data and valuation data and is evaluated through cross-verification of enterprises, financial institutions, and industry experts to ensure a rich sample size, clear selection logic, and accurate and detailed data. The list's purpose is to highlight the innovators who genuinely represent the future direction of the agrifood industry, find the core driving force of industry innovation, showcase a group of leading industry innovators, and promote the future innovation and transformation process of the agrifood industry in China and beyond.

Here is a summary of the various awards won by Dao Foods and six of our portfolio companies at the Summit.

  • Annual Top 20 Investor Award: Dao Foods

  • Food Top 100: Starfield (#4)

  • Foods Innovation Top 20: Zero Limit, ProTi Tech, Wow Kids

  • New Protein Top 20: Blue Canopy

  • Annual Potential Company: Shanghai Protain

  • Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs (MuLan Award): Kiki WU, Founder of Starfield, XU Ying, Founder of Shanghai Protain

Food Innovation Top20

Three Dao Foods portfolio companies received awards in the Food Innovation Top20 category.

1. Zero Limit

Zero Limit is Dao Foods' third Cohort company. Headquartered in Shenzhen, it focuses on the research and development of plant-based bakery products and is committed to meeting the demands of modern consumers with burden-free healthy baking products. Coco Li, a founder of Zero Limit, is a senior nutritionist and a young mother of two children. She led the team to establish China's first pure plant-based baking factory in 2018, producing products such as bread, cookies, cake desserts, and more. The company has opened more than 100 channels through its F2C (factory-to-consumer) model, targeting and reaching more than 300,000 customers. The product repurchase rate has been more than 80%, and the sales growth rate of plant-based cake desserts in 2022 was about 58%. It is a plant-based baking product enterprise that deserves significant attention.

2. ProTi Technology

ProTi Technology is another company in Dao Foods’ third Cohort. Founded in 2021, it is a technology company that studies and develops new proteins based on microalgae and microbial resources. The company focuses on excavating microalgae and microbial germplasm resources and using genetic engineering and high-throughput screening technology to obtain protein-rich engineering algae strains. ProTi aims to produce high-efficiency protein and develop a series of protein-rich food products with its fermentation engineering technology. The company has made technical breakthroughs in engineering algae/bacterial species, has good technical precipitation in the fermentation and processing process, and has achieved small trial production. Now it is establishing a pilot production line. The co-founders are two experienced serial entrepreneurs in the field of microalgae in China and a professor of food science focusing on microbial fermentation.

3. WOW Kids

Part of Dao Foods' first Cohort, WOW Kids focuses on plant protein drinks for children ages 6-12 and is committed to introducing plant-based protein into children's nutrition. WOW Kids starts from the multi-dimensional needs of a child's body, heart, and spiritual growth and has been paying serious attention to the healthy nutritional combination of children's three meals daily. This sense of responsibility established by good eating habits has made WOW Kids the first children's brand in China to focus on plant-based protein and diet.

New Protein Top20

The New Protein Top 20 segment once again included the familiar name of Starfield, and added another rising star company, Blue Canopy.

1. Starfield

Starfield Food Science and Technology is a plant-based meat startup headquartered in Shenzhen, China. As China's leading next-generation plant-based protein brand, Starfield works with more than 100 restaurant and retail chains, including KFC, Sam's Club, FamilyMart, Seven Eleven, Luckin Coffee, Tim Hortons, and Dicos. Its products have so far been sold in over 40,000 outlets in China. Starfield aims to launch affordable, delicious, healthy plant-based green foods based on patented plant protein technology to create a better eating experience and deliver sustainable lifestyles.

2. Blue Canopy

Blue Canopy is a mycelial fermentation protein company led by Dr. Lu Chenfeng and is part of Dao Foods Cohort 2. Blue Canopy is developing high-quality, mycelium-based new protein raw materials for food companies, restaurants, pet food companies, and other enterprises through advanced fermentation and synthetic biology. Blue Canopy is a B2B platform company selling its unique fermented mycelium protein to downstream food companies and producers. Through its unique fermentation process and breeding of microorganisms, the company helps food companies make delicious meat substitutes, and Blue Canopy expects their price to fall to single digits, breaking the high price threshold of new proteins.

Annual Potential Company Top20 & Mulan Award

Shanghai Protain

Another company from Dao Foods’ second Cohort, Shanghai Protain, is upcycling and recycling food processing by-products into new raw materials and using them to develop healthy, plant-based foods. The team uses innovative technical means to produce raw materials from existing food waste, creating healthy foods while promoting sustainable development.

Dao Foods has always actively supported female entrepreneurs in the field of new protein. Fortunately, we also saw an increasing number of women entrepreneurs recognized at this year’s summit. Kiki WU, the founder of Starfield mentioned above, and XU Ying, the founder of Shanghai Protain, both won the Mulan Award for Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs.

Looking to 2023

We are very proud to see these Dao Foods portfolio companies standing out among many excellent enterprises, an affirmation of our entrepreneurs and their work. As Dao Foods co-founder Tao Zhang once said: “Like the entrepreneurs we support, Dao Foods is also an entrepreneurial venture, given that China’s new protein industry is still in its early stage of development. We need to work with our entrepreneurs and grow while exploring the right pathway to the sustainable development of the new protein sector in China. To this end, we will continue investing in promising entrepreneurs and working hard to develop the ecosystem for new protein entrepreneurs in China for the long term.”

We look forward to 2023 as we help China’s new protein industry continue to climb high and create another brilliant year!

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