AgTech startup Pivot Bio moves into CPG space with Connect popcorn

Connect Popcorn –​  initially launching direct to consumer at​ – features the prominent claim, ‘Grown using no synthetic nitrogen fertilizer,’​ while Pivot Bio is also in talks with a range of CPG companies interested in making similar claims on pack, Pivot Bio​ co-founder and CEO Karsten Temme told FoodNavigator-USA.

The way we deliver nitrogen to crops is inherently inefficient and it is having a huge impact on the climate and water quality and part of what we are trying to ​do [by launching a consumer brand] is raise awareness, to tell that story and help foster connections between growers and consumers.

“We’ve seen a lot of excitement, and we’re welcoming conversations​ [down the food supply chain].”

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer accounts for about 5% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions

While some consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental footprint of food production and packaging, many are likely unaware that synthetic nitrogen fertilizer accounts for about 5% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, claimed Temme, who has raised a cool $600m+ since 2014 as investors have recognized the potential of its game-changing technology.  

Half of this footprint is from fertilizer production (making nitrogen fertilizer is very energy intensive), while the other half is from nitrogen loss (some fertilizer washes away into waterways or volatizes into the air), explained Temme, who said farmers that grow for Connect are paid a premium for their crops for their contribution toward cleaner air and water.

70% of the air is nitrogen gas, it’s two atoms of nitrogen bonded together but it’s really difficult to break those bonds. So we can use this significant percentage of the global energy supply to make nitrogen fertilizer, or we can use a magical enzyme that a few bacteria know how to make ​[that breaks down nitrogen’s chemical bonds].”

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