The AgriFORCE Brands team has been busy – and we wanted to learn more about what is happening there currently and get a look into their future plans. We had the opportunity recently to catch up with the President of AgriFORCE Brands Mauro Pennella and ask a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a little bit about the focus of the Brands division – and your focus/objectives.
The Brands division of AgriFORCE was established to develop and commercialize plant-based products and ingredients that we believe will significantly change the game in their respective food sector — as well as help to expand the AgriFORCE Solutions division of the Company into offerings into new verticals.
Like all that we do at AgriFORCE, integration is at the foundation of our business strategy. Our collaborative relationship and business strategy with the Solutions team is based on the flow of Intellectual Property (IP) between our two areas of concentration.
Solutions develops IP, providing a roadmap for integration of IP and technology acquired through an aggressive Merger & Acquisition strategy. The focus of Brands on developing and commercializing plant-based products and ingredients, means that this is a partnership in innovation and operational excellence that truly goes from seed to table.
un(Think) Foods is our new brand in the food sector – and provides our first step into the consumer and wholesale ingredient markets. Our initial focus is game-changing; it is highly nutritious wheat flours, ingredients and products.
Through this initial offering, we are looking to change how consumers think about the products they love – in this case, wheat flour – means shifting expectations on baked goods. What if you no longer need to compromise when it comes to cakes, cookies, muffins, bread and more? What if they can be delicious, have the same texture that you are used to – and be guilt free? Our patent-pending process delivers a flour that retains more of the natural goodness and nutrition power of the wheat berry compared to regular wheat flour. There are no genetics or modifications at play here, just nature’s gift to the grain. Our flours contain only 1 ingredient: wheat.
It’s an exciting time for us – and we are looking forward to sharing these new naturally processed products with the world.
How does this fit into the overarching AgriFORCE business strategy of integrated AgTech?
We are building an Integrated AgTech business, and we want to create value from seed to table, and to do that we need to leverage our intellectual property (IP) and knowledge-base in a holistic approach that starts with the plant and carries through each step of cultivation to manufacturing ingredients and products.
Our aim is to become a global leader in consulting for horticulture and agriculture and to augment this with our AgTech platform solutions.
Our intent is to commercialize IP-driven breakthroughs in plant and plant-based food processing to provide consumers and food companies with new products and ingredients that redefine nutrition and taste.
The Manna IP sounds like a game changer when it comes to soft-baked products – tell us about why it’s so different from what is out there.
Most of the wheat berry is removed in the processing for regular wheat-based flour and therefore it becomes primarily a starch-heavy product.
The Manna IP is a process that is designed to gently “awaken” the grains and then mill them to keep all the fibers and proteins and only a portion of the starch. The IP can be applied to the processing of all types of grains, or pulses (like peas) and root vegetables (like potatoes) – this provides multiple opportunities for new nutritious, good-tasting products that are unlike anything on the market today.
For wheat, the Manna IP helps naturally process and convert the grains into a flour that contains 30x more fiber, 3x more proteins and only 20% of the starch, and helps us recuperate a liquid high in nutrients and complex sugars, that we can also utilize for other beverage and food applications.
The resulting flour tastes and performs well in baked goods. To produce items like cookies, muffins, breads and more – that have the great taste and texture of what consumers expect from these products, but without the guilt.
We know that you are still in some of the planning and R&D stages and working out elements- but what will the next 10 months be like for the Brands division – and this new product and the (un)Think brand?
The next 10 months at un(Think) Foods will focus on setting up a manufacturing base to drive our pilot tests and market exposure to both consumers and food-based businesses such as bakeries and baked goods manufacturers.
We will continue our R&D effort to develop product matches for categories like breads, buns and snacks that will allow us to approach the major brands and manufacturers. This will help us drive a branded premium ingredient strategy along with of the consumer brand efforts.
This almost sounds too good to be true – soft baked goods with great taste, texture, and NO guilt … what’s the catch?
There is no catch. We can return to eating good food – baked products – with very good nutritional values. The foods that everyone enjoys – like breads, cookies, cakes and more – that often we deny ourselves because they don’t provide enough nutritional value.
We want to provide nutritious food products that don’t demand a compromise of taste or texture – and that can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
Give us a few months – our goal is to allow all of us – me included – to be able to sit back and enjoy a piece of delicious tasting bread with the texture we expect – and without guilt.
Tell us about the (un)Think brand – what does it mean/stand for?
(un)Think stands for changing the obvious. We want consumers to un(Think) what it means to eat nutritious food. We want to shift the perception about great tasting food products that are often avoided because they might impact our health — we aim to provide products that are good for you and that don’t compromise on the taste consumers love.
At AgriFORCE – we decided to un(Think) the way we process grains, and no one else has done this. Just us. We took the time to awaken the goodness of the grains by capturing what has always been there. We don’t add anything or take anything away – it is 100 percent natural grain. We just worked with Mother Nature (instead of against her) to make the best of the grain.
When can consumers expect they will be able to get these products?
Our plan is to do a limited consumer release in a pilot test market toward the second half of 2022, then expand from there.