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Brazilian Pop Star Anitta Takes Stake in Plant-Based Startup Future Farm

Brazil’s response to Kim Kardashian and Beyond Meat, Anitta is the newest partner in the Brazilian foodtech valued at 2.2 billion reais ($456 million)

Brazil's pop singer Anitta takes a stake in plant-based startup.
May 26, 2022 | 03:00 am

Bloomberg Línea — From stages to classrooms and now, to yet another corporate position. Brazilian pop star Anitta, of hit record ‘Envolver’, has become the newest partner of Brazilian foodtech Fazenda Futuro (or Future Farm, its brand in the U.S.), the company announced on Thursday.

Valued at 2.2 billion reais ($456 million), the company is one of Latin America’s first foodtechs focused on plant-based meat. According to the company, one of the goals with the arrival of the singer is to democratize and expand the category in Brazil.

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“My story with Future Farm began a while ago. On one of my birthdays, I asked them to provide plant-based burgers. I went crazy with FF’s and started to get more interested in the sector and the company as well. I loved the team and we closed the deal,” says Anitta, in a response sent by email to Bloomberg Línea.

The singer says she likes to vary her menu and eat consciously whenever possible, and that she was positively surprised to try plant-based products for the first time. “My life is quite hectic, and the herbal products came to also facilitate my routine because they are practical and quick to make”.

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About her role in the company, she said she will participate whenever necessary in the management of the business. “I am a partner and I have experience in management. I am at Future Farm to add and help in the democratization and growth of the category in Brazil”, she says.

The size of the singer’s participation in the company or the amount invested were not disclosed.

In an interview with Bloomberg Línea, Marcos Leta, CEO at Future Farm, said Anitta will act mainly in innovation and marketing, in the area of new projects and products, to expand knowledge of and access to plant-based foods.

This is the singer’s first investment in a food company. Besides being a singer, songwriter and responsible for managing her career, Anitta is also an advisor to Nubank (NU), head of creativity and innovation at Skol Beats, an Ambev brand (ABEV3), and, more recently, a lecturer on an entrepreneurship course at Estácio, from the Yduqs group (YDUQ3).

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The entrepreneur still finds time for partnerships, such as the one with the popular mobile game FreeFire, by Garena, in which she helped create her character, “The Mistress”.

With Future Farm, Anitta now joins a group of celebrities who are allocating their resources to startups of the segment in Latin America.

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This is the case, for example, of names like seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, who invested alongside tennis champion Roger Federer in the round that turned Chilean foodtech NotCo into a unicorn, in July 2021.

Socialite Kim Kardashian announced on Tuesday a partnership with Beyond Meat, in which she will act as a flavor consultant for the brand.

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Marcos Leta, CEO at Fazenda Futuro, and Anitta.dfd

Plant-based foods

Future Farm, which celebrates its third anniversary this month, has been a leader in the plant-based food category in Brazil and now operates in more than 30 countries, with its main businesses concentrated here and in the UK.

In Latin America, the company operates in Colombia and Chile, and is now entering Argentina as well, under the brand Hacienda Futuro.

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“Brazil’s potential is gigantic, here we only grow. The country represents one of our main volumes and we have the responsibility to continue democratizing and explaining the category in a fun, healthy, and conscious way, to offer products to consumers who are used to eating animal meat,” says Leta.

The brand’s flagships are hamburgers, ground beef, and meatballs. Other products include chicken, sausages, and the newest, tuna, which is sold in cans.

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Compared to the U.S., whose plant-based market started much earlier, in 2010, Leta says he sees some similarities and room for growth. “Brazilians love meat and are rethinking the over-consumption of meat - which favors plant-based meats, that can deliver similar texture and flavor, so the consumer doesn’t miss out on the experience they love”, he says.

Premium products

Asked about the higher prices of plant-based products - which hinders greater access to the population - Leta argues that plant-based today is a more premium product because it does not receive the incentives that animal meat has. “So it goes to our role to find technology to develop meat flavor and industrial processes to reduce the price - which is what we are doing,” he said.

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“What we see interesting is Brazilians trying somehow to reduce their meat consumption and wanting to try these new categories. So now we see not only big retailers, but small-town markets also making room for plant-based products,” he added.

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Translated by Isabela Fleischmann