Sustaining Our World – 2017 Sustainability Report

Shaping the Future of Food

Our Research and Development (R&D) team focuses on innovating new products that raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do.

In FY2017, Tyson Foods invested $113 million in research and development. As part of this ongoing effort, we have two state-of-the-art R&D facilities and 19 test kitchens that are at the heart of our innovation efforts. A world class R&D team of food scientists, chefs, health and wellness, and other experts conduct scientific testing, prototyping and new product development to help us gain a better understanding of how to deliver desired attributes and improved food to our consumers.

Launching New Tyson Ventures

As part of our dedication to product innovation, we launched a new venture capital fund, Tyson New Ventures during FY2017. The goal of the fund is to invest in opportunities that develop the most breakthrough technologies, business models and products relevant to consumers’ evolving eating habits; help to feed our growing global population; and complement continued investment in innovation in our core beef, pork, chicken and prepared foods businesses.

With a $150 million commitment from Tyson Foods, the fund is focused on two themes as it evaluates companies. The first involves sustainability through a concentration on addressing food waste, food insecurity and food deserts, and alternative proteins. The second theme is the Internet of Foods, identifying companies that leverage big-data-enabled technologies to support precision and predictive behavior in food supply chain logistics, including direct-to-consumer, food-centered businesses and ecommerce platforms.

Investing in Alternative Proteins

Today, Tyson New Ventures has invested in alternative proteins, lab-grown and plant-based proteins. It might seem counterintuitive for a company most recognized for its chicken and other meat-based food to move into this market. We realized, however, that as protein experts, a “yes and” rather than an “either or” approach to protein makes good business sense. Consumers are demanding more alternative proteins, making our decision to expand into non-meat products an easy one.

In addition, the world’s population continues to grow at rapid pace. We intend to be a part of the solution for meeting increased food demand in a way that is both healthy and sustainable. To do so requires taking an unconventional approach to protein in our food innovations. Over the past year we’ve invested in alternative proteins through plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat and food tech startup Memphis Meats. We will continue to explore other opportunities in FY2018 that will grow our alternative protein options.

The Innovation Lab

While Tyson New Ventures focuses on seeking partnership opportunities with other companies to develop and grow them, our Innovation Lab is focused on internal food development and entrepreneurialism from within. The Innovation Lab goes beyond just food development and looks at how to address societal issues in the process.

The first major issue we’re tackling is wasted food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. is estimated to annually waste between 30-40 percent of the food supply, and that number is only expected to increase. We currently have several pilots underway, including with startup partners to test potential products that minimize food waste in the supply chain. We look forward to sharing the latest developments and results of these pilots on our News website as more details become available in FY2018.