16.4.2024 Press release
Paulig’s venture arm, PINC, is investing in the Swedish agtech startup OlsAro. The startup is developing new wheat varieties resilient to climate stresses such as salt, heat, and drought. OlsAro’s platform significantly accelerates breeding compared to traditional methods, and the first application which is salt tolerant wheat shows a ground-breaking 52 percent increase in yields. The investment will help scale up OlsAro’s efforts, both technologically and commercially.

The adverse impacts of climate change pose a challenge to the existing food shortage crisis. A significant and growing share of the world´s cropland is salt contaminated, due to factors such as rising sea levels, flooding, agricultural intensification and unsustainable practices. The most affected countries so far are in Asia, Middle east, South America, and Africa.

Wheat, a cornerstone of global nutrition, stands to benefit significantly from varieties engineered to yield more under these tough conditions, thereby strengthening global access to food. The wheat developed by OlsAro could be used to cultivate saline land that is usually left fallow due to dry seasons. This would allow farmers to add an extra crop season to their farming cycle. Initial testing in Bangladesh has shown wheat yields increasing by 52 percent.

“Their results are impressive”, says Marika King, Head of PINC.  “Food security matters to all of us, and the OlsAro team can speed up solutions for wheat in several areas with their platform, and also for other crops in the future. The combination of the long-term scientific experience in molecular biology and the modern ways of handling data and AI is a key strength at OlsAro and we are excited to see what the team can create going forward.”

Food security through diversity and AI

OlsAro has created a platform to develop new wheat varieties three times faster than traditional methods. The technology builds on over ten years of research and a proprietary wheat collection with very high genetic diversity. This serves as the foundation for identification of traits tailored to withstand harsher climatic conditions, increase nitrogen efficiency, or even improve the nutritional content of the wheat.

“With our technology backed by 10 years of research, we’re now in a unique position to leverage the advancements in AI and plant biotechnology, secure intellectual property and to make a real impact on global food security. This funding will allow us to put a foot on the pedal and scale up our efforts, both technologically and commercially. We are proud of the great investor consortium believing in us, and their experience and networks will help make this happen”, says Elén Faxö, CEO of OlsAro.

For the salt tolerant wheat, OlsAro has a commercial contract in place for the Bangladesh market, as well as ongoing field trials in Pakistan, Kenya, Oman, and Nepal. The next step is to target Australia and India, as well as additional markets that suffer from having large areas of agricultural land degraded by salinity.

The investment round of 2.5 MEUR was led by Future Food Fund and PINC, with participation by AgFunder, Flora Ventures and Mudcake. Previously, OlsAro has received backing from for instance GU Ventures, Vasa Angels, and Öste Ventures.

For more information, please contact:

Nils Sjöberg
Communications Manager Sweden
+46 70 085 24 11

About PINC

PINC is Paulig’s venture arm for investments in early-stage startups in and around the future of food. PINC aims to help Paulig renew itself and prosper, as well as contribute to a tastier and more sustainable planet.

About Paulig

Paulig is an international food and beverage company, growing a new, sustainable food culture – one that is good for both people and the planet. Paulig provides all things tasty: Tex Mex, Snacks, coffees, World Foods and spices. The company's brands are Paulig, Santa Maria, Risenta, Poco Loco and Zanuy. Paulig also manufactures products for its private label and industry customers. In 2023, the company’s sales amounted to approximately EUR 1.2 billion. Paulig was founded in 1876 and is 100% owned by the Paulig family. The company has 2,200 passionate employees in 13 different countries working on our purpose For a life full of flavour.  www.pauliggroup.com

About OlsAro

OlsAro is a Swedish innovative agtech startup focusing on solutions to meet the challenges of a growing population and a decreasing arable land. OlsAro has developed a forward genetic crop breeding platform for improved crop varieties, starting with wheat and salt resilience. OlsAro´s breakthrough solution could potentially introduce an additional growing season for local farmers. OlsAro’s broader ambition is to adapt its technology for a variety of crops, addressing the broader challenges posed by climate change on fertile land.

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