Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited (ASX:ROO) has a strong pipeline of opportunities in the agricultural and cannabis sectors, and with a number of initiatives in play regarding developing technologies and entry into new markets there are several share price catalysts on the horizon.
This week it made inroads into two growing markets: plant-based meat and ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL).
Roots’ entry into the plant based meat market is unsurprising.
The plant-based meat market was estimated to be worth US$12.1 billion in 2019. It is expected to reach a value of US$27.9 billion by 2025.
Demand for plant-based meat alternatives is being driven by consumers seeking healthier dietary options and R&D efforts from health experts and food manufacturers.
Popularity for the products has also increased following the establishment of NASDAQ-listed Beyond Meat Inc. (market capitalisation of approximately US$7.8 billion), as well as an investment in alternative meat manufacturers by Cargill (America’s largest private company in the sector).
Following Roots’ recent placement to raise $2.5 million, the company is well funded to capitalise on a number of opportunities that it is aggressively pursuing through its new plant-based meats department.
The new department will be helmed by world leading researcher Professor Zohar Kerem, who has a long and distinguished career in food chemistry.
Roots is seeking to capitalise on recent Proof of Concept (POC) study results that show the positive effects Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology on the yield of protein-based plants, an outcome that has prompted management to pursue opportunities presented in the lucrative plant based meat market.
Root Zone Temperature Optimization (RZTO) optimises plant physiology for increased growth, productivity and quality by stabilising the plant’s root zone temperature.
Commenting on these developments, chairman and chief executive Boaz Wachtel said, “We are extremely excited to have established a plant-based meat department to explore potentially lucrative opportunities in a rapidly growing sector.”
“The company is also pleased to welcome Professor Kerem to lead the division, as he will be instrumental in screening opportunities to provide validation of the company’s technology in enhancing protein in plants.”
“We have already achieved excellent POC (proof of concept) results using the key ingredients for meat alternative products and we will now commence work to aggressively pursue collaboration agreements and partnerships with manufacturers in the sector.”
“As food security continues to becoming an increasing concern for developing and established nations, our broader business performance continues to perform well.”
BNPL is also an attractive market
While it works hard to establish itself in the plant based meat market, ROO is innovating elsewhere.
The company has executed a strategic agreement with major retail and marketing company Amir Marketing and Investing in Agriculture Ltd, (Amir) to promote and sell ROO’s proprietary Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology in Israel.
The agreement also includes a ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ component, which will lower the barriers of entry for farmers and expedite uptake.
Amir sells a wide range of agricultural products and solutions to private farmers and agricultural businesses in Israel. The group has 25 retail stores and trade centres across all major agricultural areas in the country and service approximately 7,500 customers per annum.
Under the agreement, Amir will promote the ROO’s RZTO technology in its 25 stores and offer a ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ plan, which will allow consumers to spread payments for the technology over 12 to 24 months.
Amir will be responsible for cash collections and will make payments to ROO up to 60 days from the signing of a purchase order.
The offer is already gaining traction with a first sale valued at A$14,300 for an RZTO system sold to a Peonies grower in North Israel recently installed.
This development marks one of the first ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ plans introduced into the agriculture sector and highlights the company’s innovative approach towards business growth.
Roots executive chairman and chief executive, Boaz Wachtel said, “This agreement is a significant milestone for Roots and the agricultural sector more broadly, as it marks one of the first ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ payment plans for consumers in the space.”
“The agreement with Amir provides the company with another sales channel into the Israeli market, as well as visibility for our solutions in over 25 retail stores throughout the country at little expense.”
“The payment agreement we have struck with Amir will make our technology much more accessible to farmers and other growers throughout Israel as the payment terms align well with farmers’ receivable terms.”
“As the world continues to transitions to more ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ plans for goods and services we will continue to pursue similar agreements with our distribution partners.”
‘’We anticipate that this will assist in driving demand for our products in international markets.”
Roots is well positioned with a strong supply chain and it has number of initiatives underway to drive sales domestically and in a number of international markets where RZTO is being well-received and accepted.
If Roots can achieve success in Israel using ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ terms, the readily transferable model suggests the company can tailor this type of plan to other countries.