Innovating in 2019: Better for People. Better for the Planet. Better tasting, too.

2018 was a dynamic year for farmers, consumers and the innovators working to serve them. For 2019, we are looking forward to food innovations coming to the forefront to improve food and ingredients.

Data-driven approaches will make a significant impact to build a modern food system. The USDA has stated that open data is a powerful evidence-based tool for long-term sustainable development by improving economic opportunities for farmers and the health of consumers.

“We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely,” said E. O. Wilson, Entomologist, Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner.

At Benson Hill, we are doing just that. We have a big vision and our platform, CropOS™, is combining advances in data analytics and machine learning with genome editing and plant biology to achieve this goal.

For 2019, we are excited to see more development for new products with healthier ingredients. Emerging ingredients will meet demands for more nutrition, taste, and transparency of food. Tyson, which processes 1 of every 5 pounds of meat consumed in the U.S., launched Tyson New Ventures to invest in 100% plant-based proteins. The company spent $55 million to finance Beyond Meat, a leading plant-based protein company that also recently filed to go public. According to the Good Food Institute, an organization that closely watches these industries, sales of plant-based meats grew over 23%, exceeding $760 million. In 2019, look for plant-based and cultured meat companies to navigate new partnerships, new markets, and an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

We applaud companies like Tyson and the upcoming food innovators. At Benson Hill, we empower organizations of any size across the agri-food value chain to benefit from the most advanced tools in seed innovation. Developing foods that are nourishing to our bodies, responsible to our planet and that taste great is not a trade-off, it’s an opportunity.

“Consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable food choices creates opportunity across many crops and ingredients, and plant genomics is a proven lever that has been severely underutilized in most crops,” said Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at S2G Ventures.

As a leading crop improvement company, we are unlocking the natural diversity of plants. The global genomics market is estimated to reach $23 billion by 2022, and it is increasingly being labeled the next trillion dollar industry. Advancements and demand for sequencing technologies have enabled scientists to accelerate the genome sequencing process. Technologies like genome editing provide the opportunity to accelerate breeding, providing incredible precision to tap the natural genetic diversity of plants to develop high-yielding, climate resistant, healthier and tastier legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables.

“It’s scalable, specific, transferrable, efficient and precise,” says Rodolphe Barrangou, the lab lead at North Carolina State University’s CRISPR research facility.

In 2019, we will advance our portfolio of improved crops closer to market, but more impactfully, we continue to be dedicated to empowering access to technologies that will drive genomics innovation across the agri-food value chain. Consumers and growers deserve more crop innovation, and our planet needs it. The only way to provide game-changing outcomes is through a community of innovators, not through a handful of companies innovating only a handful of crops.

Benson Hill strategically partners with like-minded organizations that want to be a part of this community building a sustainable and healthy future that we can all be proud of. We achieve this by licensing and co-developing products that tap the natural genetic diversity of plants, leveraging our platform to drastically shorten and accelerate go-to-market timelines.

But don’t take our word for it. “Benson Hill’s robust portfolio of gene editing nucleases and collaborative approach to empowering innovation aligns with our mission to leverage biological innovations and create new opportunities for our customers,” said Claus Crone Fuglsang, CSO and Senior Vice President, Research & Technology, Novozymes.

We are excited about the opportunities for the agri-food system in 2019. A variety of crops and products, optimized for different growing conditions by a community of innovators will develop a healthy, sustainable food system and greater choice for consumers.

Cheers to you and yours for a prosperous 2019.                                                           –  Matt

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