🥩 Carbon negative beef?

PLUS: Shroom doom for vertical farming startup, $45M FoodTech Fund, beanless brews in Asia

Venture Studios spin out high-impact startups across incubation, ideation and creation.

Moving capital and talent towards urgent solutions at a rate of knots.

So we caught up with 12 experts to get the low-down on how they can fast-track growth, minimize risk, and immerse you in a community of stakeholders, industry veterans and fellow founders.

Plus, discover 35 Climate Venture Studios across AgriFood and beyond, including: EMpact, EVIG Group, FoodLabs, Food Founders, Food Young, Fresh Ventures Studio, Frontier RNG and The Kitchen.

This week in FoodTech:

 💸 $45M Close: FoodTech Fund III
🥑 Beyond IV: Healthier and tastier?
🗺️ Market Map: Methane emissions

The Digest

Graphic by Green Queen Media, courtesy Oatly.

📈 What’s up? Swedish oat milk giant Oatly posted an 8.5% increase in year-on-year revenue in its 2023 earnings report, though its losses did grow by 6.2%.

📉 What’s down? Mushroom vertical farming company Smallhold has filed for bankruptcy, with court documents stating that it was “in substantially worse financial shape than previously disclosed”.

📉 Also down? The Vurger Co restaurants are shutting down after eight years in business - here’s why, from their co-founder Rachel Hugh .

🇦🇷 Argentina has become the first country to certify carbon-negative beef, with rigorous research and the adoption of cutting-edge practices, including the implementation of silvopastoral systems, the introduction of specific feed additives, and the exploration of gene-editing techniques and vaccines aimed at altering the digestive processes of livestock. Is there really such a thing?

🧫 The Alabama Senate has passed a bill prohibiting the sale of cultivated meat within the state, and is now advancing to the House for further deliberation to potentially become law. 

🍞 Good read: How companies are transforming surplus bread into innovative products.

📍 Useful: Marble shared a market map of all the companies working on solutions to reduce methane emissions from livestock agriculture.

Funds x Funding

Credit: Bluestein Ventures

💸 Chicago-based VC Bluestein Ventures closed its Fund III with $45 million to support early-stage startups working within consumer-facing technology across the food supply chain, including areas such as health and wellness, proprietary food tech, commerce and digital technology. Here’s what the close of this fund is for.

☁️ AtmosZero secured $21 million Series A funding to decarbonise industrial steam, used across sectors such as food and beverage and chemical manufacturing. Get the TLDR.

🐟 Pacifico Biolabs, based in Berlin, emerged from stealth to raise $3.3 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round. It will use the funds to further scale its “unique” biomass fermentation process to make mycelium-based whole-cut alternatives, starting with seafood. Catch up in a 1 minute read.

☕️ Singapore-based Prefer raised $2 million seed funding to build a larger facility to produce beanless coffee from food industry sidestream ingredients like waste bread, soy milk pulp and spent brewer’s grain, and to support its Asia expansion plans. Here’s where you can try it next.

🇮🇱 Israeli startup Day 8 secured $750,000 pre-seed funding from The Kitchen Hub. Day 8 produces upcycled plant-based proteins from Rubisco, found in green crops like duckweed, which is said to be the most abundant protein on the planet. How they’ll extract the ‘holy grail’ of proteins from Ag waste.

👀 Check out 13 funding announcements for mycelium shredded chicken, a microbial food hub and technology to outsmart resistant weeds.

New in Startups

Credit: Atlantic Fish Co

🐟 Californian biotech Atlantic Fish Co. is developing cell lines for cultivated halibut, and other overfished wild-caught species.

🤝 Israeli cultivated meat startup Aleph Farms has partnered with biomanufacturer BBGI and synbio research and manufacturing company Fermbox Bio to create the first production facility dedicated to cultured meat in Thailand.

✅ Netherlands-based Vivici, formed by Fonterra and DSM-Firmenich, achieved self-affirmed GRAS status for its animal-free whey protein, and will launch the first products containing its beta-lactoglobulin later this year.

🍞 US startup Base Culture unveiled its Simply Bread line, which is clean-label, fibre-rich and gluten-free, made with tapioca, coconut, almond, chickpea, flax and hemp.

Plant Based

Credit: Beyond Meat

🔝 Beyond Meat unveiled its ‘most significant renovation to date’, Beyond IV. The fourth generation of its plant-based beef is made with avocado oil, has reduced saturated fat, reduced sodium and increased protein, thanks to new, nutrient-dense plant-based ingredients like red lentils and fava beans. 

🍳 Singapore’s Float Foods, known for its plant-based OnlyEg products, introduced licensed technology for plant-based egg yolk manufacturing, designed to support food producers seeking to eliminate hen eggs from their production processes.

🇸🇪 Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University claim to have uncovered the best raw material combination to make the most appetising plant-based meat using extrusion: wheat gluten and hemp seed.

🥛 Califia Farms launched Califia Farms Complete, a plant-based milk made from a blend of pea, chickpea and fava bean protein, that it says is nutritionally comparable to dairy.

🛒 UK-based Oato is expanding its “category-first” fresh oat milk into bricks-and-mortar retail through a distribution agreement with Booths.

Big Food

Credit: Breyers x Perfect Day

🤝 Unilever is launching a lactose-free chocolate ice cream under its Breyers brand, made with Perfect Day’s precision fermentation animal-free whey protein.

🤖 Uber Eats is partnering with Mitsubishi Electric and autonomous robotics startup Cartken to launch a sidewalk robot delivery service in Japan.

🍔 Burger King unveiled the Million Dollar Whopper Campaign, in which patrons can design their ultimate Whopper to potentially win a $1 million prize, featuring the Impossible Burger patty to allow the option to create 100% plant-based burgers as part of the competition. 

🐶 Ocado is launching a ‘fine dining’ frozen food range for pets, made with ‘human-grade’ meat, fish and poultry, in a bid to appeal to more “younger, urban, mindful owners”.

📈 Mars and the Unreasonable Group have entered into a three-year partnership, called Unreasonable Food, to focus on rapid growth, sustainability-focused companies that are “redefining the food systems”.

💰 Oatly has agreed to pay a $9.25 million settlement following accusations of greenwashing, as a lawsuit alleged that the company’s promotional strategies had led to “artificial” inflation of its share prices by overstating product demand and environmental credentials.

HackTrends: Bioreactor Bottlenecks

🔎 Discover in the full HackTrends Report:
- 2x case studies (The Cultivated B., Planetary)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 32 companies filling the technology gaps in the scale of alternative proteins
- Expert insights from Matthew McCann of CPI, Daniel MacGowan von Holstein of Kynda, Hamid Noori of The Cultivated B, David Brandes and Julian Iacovelli of Planetary 

From the Community

Recent jobs in FoodTech:

📆 Come and meet your local community at a free FoodHack Meetup in Istanbul, Zurich, New York City, Paris, Berlin, Basel, Ljubljana and Tel Aviv.

🌽 Join the Sustainable Food Systems Impact Accelerator - Impact Hub Berlin have launched the Impact Accelerator. A 3 month hybrid program for startups addressing food system challenges. Apply here.

🪩 ICYMI: Meet the first 40 speakers headlining at the HackSummit.

⌛️ Final Call to join MassChallenge Switzerland and have their support in your startup journey.

🌈 Spot the Difference: 

Until next time - Stay Hungry

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