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Südzucker subsidiary BENEO invests in Grillido

As part of a strategic investment, BENEO, a subsidiary of the Mannheim-based Südzucker Group, has secured a 14% stake in the food tech start-up Grillido. Together, the new partners want to improve the health of people and the planet with sustainable, plant-based indulgence products.

Munich / Mannheim; 19.1.2023 - Südzucker AG has acquired a stake via its subsidiary BENEO GmbH in the Munich-based start-up Grillido GmbH, which was founded in 2016 and whose products combine barbecue enjoyment with good nutrition while using high-quality, sustainable ingredients. While everything revolved around sausages in the early days, the portfolio now includes many savoury (barbecue) products, including plant protein innovations such as vegan filet, veggie bratwurst and hybrid developments that combine the best of plants and meat. Grillido's vision is to sustainably establish tasty nutrition that is good for people and the planet in the market. The Südzucker Group's investment is an essential building block for this.

For Südzucker Group, the partnership with Grillido is an important steppingstone in the link between agriculture and product on the shelf. Following a series of strategic investments in the cultivation and processing of pulses and the acquisition of plant texture specialist Meatless, Südzucker Group is consistently pursuing its path to becoming the leading supplier of plant-based protein solutions.

The investment allows the Group to get even closer to consumers and respond quickly to trends in the dynamic plant protein market. Grillido generates valuable customer feedback through its multi-channel approach via retail, gastronomy, and online direct sales, which will be used as a basis for focused product developments.

With its global sales and marketing structures, a Europe-wide network of contract growers, its own production facilities and state-of-the-art product development centres, Südzucker Group already serves a broad field in the value chain and sees end-to-end market coverage as a core competitive advantage.

Helen Arnold, member of Südzucker's executive board, believes the course for the future has been successfully set and is looking forward to the joint journey with Grillido. "We have a clear vision for the future and are now taking a decisive next step in the implementation of our protein strategy with Grillido. Taste is key and plant-based solutions open opportunities for new product innovations and textures," says Arnold. "Grillido is our stethoscope on the market and an important impulse generator due to its proximity to the customer. This enables us to make the right strategic decisions - from selection and cultivation to the best possible processing of raw materials for tasty product experiences."

Südzucker Group's investment in Grillido reinforces the core of its strategic agenda for strong, holistic growth in the plant-based food sector.

For Grillido, Südzucker Group's investment is an important milestone. The founders Manuel Stöffler and Michael Ziegler first want to significantly increase their visibility in the German retail sector before moving on to international expansion. The transformation from a food start-up to a sustainable indulgence company is to be driven forward, among other things such as setting up their own production facilities. "It's up to our generation to make a difference," says Ziegler, who wants to be a positive pioneer for "indulgence products with a good conscience" together with his team. In doing so, they don't just want to appeal to the vegan niche, but to the general population in order to provide tangible added value for the environment. "We want to help reduce meat consumption without limiting the taste experience." Hybrid innovations can play a role as well as purely plant-based developments. The most important thing: "It has to be delicious. The pleasure of enjoyment is above all. Otherwise, the consumer won't change permanently."

Grillido investor and serial founder Josef Brunner is enthusiastic about the development of his investment: "The cooperation between Südzucker and Grillido is a wonderful example of how a successful, established traditional company and a dynamic start-up can combine the best of both worlds - to prove that ecological responsibility and economic success can work hand in hand and create a lucrative business model."

Grillido's partnership with Südzucker also brings it to a new level of professionalism. In times of fragile supply chains, the cooperation with one of Europe's largest processors of agricultural commodities also means an important market advantage. Together, the partners want to drive vertical integration and data-driven product development in order to give consumers full transparency about the origin of products with a holistic farm-to-table approach. Ziegler: "We want to show: Where Grillido is written on it, there is good in it."


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