Food Impact Investing: A Case Study Analysis on the Transitions of a Major German Candy Manufacturer towards Impact Investing

Maximilian Antonius Busch

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the face of unsustainable growth coupled with geopolitical crises and climate challenges, international organizations and governments have increasingly acknowledged the need for action. In 2015, the United Nations passed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future. This has raised not just public pressure but also expectations on the business and investment community to rethink their business respectively investment practices. Moreover, consumers, primarily in the developed world, have fomented a consumer-led disruption, expecting businesses to satisfy their needs not only from an extrinsic (e.g. price) but also from an intrinsic (e.g. sustainability) perspective. In light of these macro and micro paradigm shifts, modern enterprises have started to strengthen their positive impacts to build a healthier and more sustainable environment, and in due course, a more stable societal structure. This study aims to provide a better understanding of impact investing from the perspective of a SME in the food industry. Impact investments are investments intended to generate a measurable social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. To address the knowledge and action gap of SME’s impact investment practices, an in-depth case study on Katjesgreenfood was conducted, compiling primary and secondary data. Katjesgreenfood – one of the three sister companies of the Katjes Group – entitled as the first European food venture capital investor pursuing impact investing. The analysis examines the company’s investment philosophy and strategy, the investment lifecycle and impact management scheme. Based on the findings, the thesis discusses and builds a hypothesis on the replication and scalability potential of the case company’s model to contribute to the SDGs while generating a financial return. On the basis of the discussion, the author argues that the case company represents an extreme, yet relatable case, and can serve as a role model for other SMEs to pursue impact investing.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages166
SupervisorsMaximilian Schellmann