GHANA – Legendary Foods Africa, a Ghanaian foodtech company focused on production of insect protein for human consumption, has bagged a growth equity investment from an Africa focused private equity firm, Baylis Emerging Markets.
Legendary Foods has developed a unique sustainable farming system that delivers a resource-efficient and accessible form of protein-palm larvae.
Palm larvae, traditionally widely consumed across West and Central Africa, are a highly nutritional source of protein, good fats, and many essential vitamins.
The company’s vertical farm system avoids the deforestation practices traditionally used in palm larvae harvesting, while ensuring the highest quality larvae.
The investment will provide growth capital needed to accelerate Legendary Foods’ expansion plans, which include enhanced data-collection and production capacity, and the extension of the product line and distribution channels.
Baylis also intends to leverage its extensive local networks across industry to help Legendary Foods integrate itself into regional distribution and supply chains.
Commenting on the transaction, Ms. Shobhita Soor, founder and CEO of Legendary Foods, said, “We have built the technology to farm a novel, yet ancient livestock source that is highly scalable and delivers a densely nutritious protein source that can be adapted to a variety of products. Our next step is to industrialize our production and processing capabilities.
“We are thrilled to be joined by Baylis who have extensive experience supporting the development of companies within the manufacturing and agri-processing sector in the region.”
The investment is part of Baylis’ broader strategy to enhance domestic production capacity on the continent through the support of local manufacturing and agricultural processing.
Partnering with Legendary Foods is also in line with the firm’s commitment to gender lens investing.
“Legendary Foods has developed a farming system that delivers unrivaled impact in the region. We are extremely excited to partner with Shobhita, an exemplary woman entrepreneur and experienced manager.
“We are enthused to support the team at Legendary Foods as they continue to build operational efficiencies and increase the mechanization of the process, drive down unit economics, and build up scale all while delivering immense value and impact,” said, Franklin Amoo, Partner at Baylis.
Protein-rich foods like chicken and beef have a lack of shelf-stability and this makes them difficult and expensive to access.
This means that many people, particularly in rural areas, are lacking sufficient sources of nutrients like protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins, all which larvae can provide in a shelf-stable format.
The growing consumer awareness regarding the consumption of the sustainable and affordable protein source is expected to drive the demand for insect protein, with Grandview research forecasting a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 27.4% within the market from 2021 to 2028 from its US$ 249.9 million valuation in 2020.