Today, we proudly announce that the Martin Braun-Gruppe, the food division of the Geschwister Oetker Beteiligungen KG, has partnered up with StartLife for an injection of innovation from foodtech startups. As one of the leading European bakery, confectionery and frozen bakery suppliers, the company is particularly targeting alternative ingredients and ideas that address a host of challenges surrounding current challenges within the food industry.

Grown through traditional M&A activities in the past, the Martin Braun-Gruppe is going to launch a corporate venture capital arm for startup investments and collaborations in the area of alternative ingredients, better-for-you products and technology driven business around the category of baking.

The partnership with StartLife, Europe’s longest-running accelerator for agrifoodtech startups, is geared towards a fast and successful engagement with the foodtech startup community in Europe with the aim to push the baking industry forward in its quest for a sustainable food system.

Shift in demand: targeting reformulation and environment

“Consumers are more conscious about the nutritional value of the food they consume. But ingredients are not easily substituted. Because of food regulation, it takes a long time to get a new, alternative ingredient approved. Another challenge is that consumers are accustomed to the taste and texture of their indulgence. When consumers treat themselves to an indulgence, they don’t want to compromise on these aspects,” explains Andreas Gockeln, Corporate Development Manager of the Martin Braun-Gruppe.

“There is a growing desire to lower the footprint of the baking industry.”

In addition to health, environmental sustainability and technology-driven business models are other areas of attention.

“There is a growing desire to lower the footprint of the industry. For example, palm oil, a much-used ingredient in the industry, has a negative impact on the environment. In addition to that we see on our markets new and technology driven business models. We are conscious of these developments and want to act on it,” details Gockeln.

Open innovation

Andreas Gockeln, Corporate Development Manager at MBG and Caroline Bijkerek Global Partnership Manager of StartLife.

“There’s a lot of growth in alternatives and substitutes for traditional bakery ingredients, especially by startups. It only makes sense for large companies to open up to new ways of thinking and collaborate with these startups,” notes Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager of StartLife.

“Startups will be able tap into decades of industry knowledge by the Martin Braun-Gruppe and its ability to scale fast.”

“Adding a bakery and confectionery business of this scale to StartLife’s global partnership network is also truly ‘icing on the cake’ for both StartLife and the impact-driven startups we support. Startups will be able tap into decades of industry knowledge by the Martin Braun-Gruppe and its ability to scale fast and grow internationally,” says Bijkerk.

“When innovations by startups are fueled with the scale of large companies, it can truly accelerate impactful changes,” Bijkerk adds.

The Martin Braun-Gruppe positions itself as a strategic partner and financial investor, aiming to strengthen its core. “We are looking forward to exploring opportunities for commercial partnerships and joint product developments with ambitious startups,” says Gockeln.

About the Martin Braun-Gruppe

The Martin Braun-Gruppe, headquartered in Hanover, Germany, develops, produces and sells a full range of convenience products for the baking, confectionery and catering industries. It delivers its products to wholesalers and retailers, bakeries, pastry shops and food service and industrial companies worldwide.

Today, the Martin Braun-Gruppe has more than 2,500 employees at 23 locations and is represented in all relevant sales channels with its wide range of products in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Startups that are interested should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.