In addition to the micropods cultivated in a closed environment, Dakoté also produces and sells wheatgrass juice and products derived from hemp. This helps the startup be part of the new consumer trends, which have accelerated since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
“Our company was developed around 3 pillars. With the urban farms for micropods, the initial objective was to offer production units of the size of a container and to sell these solutions to producers or people in professional reconversion. The different lockdowns slowed down this development, “because we wanted to make this product known through restaurants first, before turning to organic stores and mass retailers.” But the arrival of the pandemic and the closure of restaurants forced Dakoté to change its roadmap.
Aymeric Jahan, Guillaume Duvignac and Michel Darguy, the three founders of Dakoté / © Dakoté
Wheatgrass juice: detox and sports recovery
Rich in vitamins A and C, chlorophyll, enzymes, and containing no less than 92 trace elements, wheatgrass truly is a “superfood”. “In its raw form, wheatgrass contains a lot of fiber, so 95% of the fiber is extracted to keep only a pure juice that will then be frozen to avoid the loss of nutrients or the growth of bacteria.” Sold in the form of ice cubes that are equivalent in nutrients to 1 kilo of leafy green vegetables.
A “super booster” that has interesting advantages for consumers, and for athletes as well thanks to its “detox” effect on the liver, according to Aymeric Jahan. “Wheatgrass has a considerable effect on performance and recovery.” These arguments allow Dakoté to progressively integrate the professional sporting structures. “We had the opportunity to accompany the Montois stadium last year and many players still work with us today. We have also integrated the French championship.”
Developing a range of products from hemp
Hemp has many recognized benefits including muscle recovery, stress, concentration and anti-inflammatory properties. Products derived from hemp are gaining in popularity and the legislation is evolving. “Two months after the creation of Dakoté, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled illegal the prohibition of CBD in France.” Great news for Dakoté as the company planned to develop and sell products from hemp, especially phytocannabinoids. “We contacted the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region because we wanted to participate in the structuring of the sector in France. The region sent us two people who worked with us to create the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Hemp Association, which counts a dozen founding members.” The association now brings together nearly 100 actors: from producers to processing plants and distributors. The goal is to structure the sector, adjust the prices and promote the French know-how, from the land to the processing stage. This structuring also requires the writing of specifications that are “as organic as possible” for a clean and reasoned sector in France. Hemp has many properties for the body, but also for the soil, “which it cleans by attacking the heavy metals.”
Dakoté multiplies its partnerships
This year, the three founders of Dakoté are multiplying their partnerships. And the cultivation of hemp goes beyond the cannabinoids. Hemp is well-known for its use in textile, but it can also help manufacture oil and flour. “At the moment, we are working at the regional level with local authorities, restaurants and caterers because these products are not always easy to work with.”
Through Dakoté’s collaboration with the regional university (7 students in IUT Biochemistry this year), the startup works in a new partnership with Biolandes, which specializes in plant extraction. Another new partner is Agrolandes, a plant nursery for businesses which is supported by the region and department and conducts tests on new crops and new technologies. It is in this context that Dakoté joined a Photovoltaic Pilot to be able to offer different crop specifications to local farmers.
2022 also marks the acquisition of an industrial building of several hundreds of square meters in Mont-de-Marsan, with production and processing units for micropods and wheatgrass, and another part dedicated to research and experimental development on the new methods to grow hemp. The crop is attracting more and more regional producers, “the Dakoté Farmers”, who ask the company to support them with this new production. Dakoté also helps individuals and professionals via consulting to install cultivation equipment.
Better accessibility of the products
“We do not have all the possibilities for extraction and processing on site so we work with French laboratories that are in contact with ANSM to obtain pharmaceutical sub-licenses.” The collaboration allows Dakoté to continue its research and make its products more accessible. “We communicate with the association Endofrance, which fights against endometriosis and will soon receive CBD oil tests. We are also trying to approach associations that are dedicated to arthritis, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer.”