Meat Processing Automation with P&P Optica and Fulcrum Global Capital – Future of Agriculture

Fulcrum Global Capital is a venture capital firm focused on global food production. Traditional row crop agriculture, production animal health and agriculture technology are the main interests of their investment thesis. They often find themselves investing in early stage companies that are “not only early stage in terms of a company’s life cycle, but early in terms of where the technology falls in the value chain of the food production.”

When they initially heard the pitch by P&P Optica Founder Olga Pawluczyk they were impressed. 16 months later they made their investment. P&P Optica addresses “challenges such as the $4 billion annual loss that takes place in the food processing space around foreign material detection.”

“Where we see the long term vision of this company (P&P Optica), is really becoming a data company. The more units a customer will have, call it a Tyson or a Maple Leaf (for example). The more that they have, the more DATA we are able to provide them to make decisions.” – Kevin Lockett, Fulcrum Global Capital

This results in catching foreign material at a “much higher rate and at a much smaller size.” The origin of P&P Optica was not in food processing but rather in lens development for detection of different particles in the oil industry. When the oil industry suffered, an opportunity presented to identify fat content in meat. This opened the door to using their detection technology in food production.

“If you look at what are the important aspects of food production; you want safety, you want quality and you want to produce exactly what you need to produce.” – Olga Pawluczyk, P&P Optica

“The estimated costs of a single recall is about $10 million on average” in product loss and is commonly compounded by brand damage. Plants will process “hundreds of thousands of pounds” of meat per day so inspecting each piece of meat for safety and quality can be difficult to do thoroughly at that pace.

“So if we can take a step back and look at it with technology that sees chemical composition and can see the gradation of the cells, how all the cells are, how much water there is, what type of protein, and what type of fat; that information can translate into the quality and therefore can sort every single piece on the line.” – Olga Pawluczyk, P&P Optica

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Fulcrum Global Capital as they share their philosophy and some of the companies they have been able to invest in
  • Meet Olga Pawluczyk of P&P Optica and learn about the innovations her company is creating and the impact it will have on food production

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Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.