AGTECH startup Provenir has announced it has closed a $1.4 million investment round as it gears up to build Australia’s first commercial mobile abattoir.
The Victorian-based business proposes to provide a fully integrated meat-processing service which would enable livestock to be processed on-farm, eliminating the need for livestock to travel to an abattoir.
Provenir says it will provide artisan butchering as well as sales and distribution to producers who opt to sell their meat through the Provenir brand.
Founder and CEO Chris Balazs says the system enables full transparency and traceability, and allows full control of the value chain via a true paddock to plate model.
“As a farmer myself, I hate loading my prized livestock onto the back of a truck. I work so hard to get them in top condition only to risk losing it all, to a bad trip. I always knew that there had to be a better way. Mobile processing makes so much sense, for farmers, for livestock and for consumers – it’s the way of the future for red meat in Australia,” he said.
The mobile abattoir and branded meat business would enable small to medium sized producers to not only sell their stock, but sell into an existing brand where processing is managed on their farm, and the subsequent costs and hassles of marketing, commission and transport are eliminated.
There are also benefits associated with reducing animal stress, the company says.
Early stage research into mobile abattoirs suggested that the reduced stress from animals not needing to be yarded or transported to a new environment increases the eating quality of their meat.
Startups looking to capitalise
While there is more research to be done in this space, it’s no surprise that agri startups are looking to capitalise on shortening the supply chain, reducing animal stress and supplying the growing demand for food provenance and traceability into a market losing interest in commodity meat.
News of Provenir’s investment success comes off the back of a consolidation in the processor market around Australia over recent years which has created opportunities for several startups. ‘Red 8’, similar to Provenir, is a mobile abattoir business, while ‘Australian Micro Abattoirs’ is a fixed, on-farm abattoir concept. Both are aiming to commercialse and take on this market, however Provenir is the first to close their seed funding round.
Provenir, which was formerly known as FarmGateMSU has a founding team of five, including a farmer, vet, chef, marketer and a lawyer. The team has spent the past 12 months engaging with industry regulators and building partnerships with farmers, retailers and chefs to secure supply and offtake agreements.
With this latest cash injection from investors, venture capitalists and industry, Provenir says consumers can expect to see its meat in stores and on menus around the country in 2019.
Click here to view an earlier story on the mobile abattoir project, and reader reaction.