- FoodHack Weekly
- 🍫 Cocoa-free gold rush
🍫 Cocoa-free gold rush
PLUS: 27 companies behind alternative fertiliser and 21 funds and funding rounds announced this week
Whether your January flew by or dragged on, you’re likely finalising plans for 2024. Including which industry events to attend this year.
Here’s a handy list of AgriFood summits by Eatable Adventures to get you started.
And if you’re looking to surround yourself with 1,500 founders, funders and operators, not just in FoodTech but from across the wider Climate ecosystem, make sure to check out the HackSummit - tickets dropped this week.
This week in FoodTech:
👙 Simply greenwashing? Sprite gets naked
👀 Out of stealth: Cell-based coffee startup
🍦 Mood-inspired: Multi-sensory ice cream
📉 What’s down? Berlin-based Delivery Hero is selling its 4.5% stake, worth around £83 million, in UK delivery company Deliveroo, as the food delivery app sector continues to face challenges.
❌ New legislation proposed by two US Senators would see cultivated meat products banned from being served in school lunches across the country.
🌾 Thousands of European farmers have protested against what they perceive as unfair EU agriculture policies, including an obligation to devote a portion of arable land to non-productive features, and a requirement to carry out crop rotations and reduce fertiliser use by at least 20%.
🎧 Good Listen: A conversation with Martin Reiter, former senior manager at Airbnb and Wayfair about where are the Steve Jobs and Elon Musk of regenerative agriculture going to build companies, and how can we help more talent flow into the space. Listen here.
👀 Good read: Why fermentation is a fundamental process in the bioeconomy.
🍷 A 30-second reminder of your drink’s carbon footprint.
💰 Take note: 20 new ClimateTech funds announced this January.
New in Funding
Credit: Planet A Foods
🌾 Seed gene-editing startup Inari raised $103 million at a post-money valuation of $1.65 billion as it prepares for commercialisation. Its platform produces soybean, corn and wheat seeds that produce the same or greater yield as conventional while using fewer resources.
💰 Healthy fast-food chain Leon’s co-founder, Henry Dimbleby, launched Bramble Partners, a new VC firm on a mission to discover “better ways to feed the world”. Its £50 million fund will support startups making the food system more sustainable, healthier and more secure.
🍫 Californian CPG startup Voyage Foods secured $22 million to scale its portfolio of ethical pantry staples, including cocoa-free chocolates which it claims are the “most sustainable ever” after an independent life-cycle assessment. Hear how they are making alternatives accessible.
💸 Germany’s Planet A Foods, parent company of cocoa-free chocolate brand Choviva, raised $15.4 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round led by World Fund. Read which ingredient substitute might be next.
🤖 Saga Robotics closed $11.5 million to support the US and UK expansion of its AI-powered Thorvald 3 robots, which reduce plant diseases and promote sustainable food production with lower CO2 emissions and a 60-90% reduction in pesticides.
📦 UK-based Xampla secured $7 million from new and existing investors to advance the production of its biodegradable, plant-based packaging materials and expand its consumer packaging brand, Morro, into new markets.
👀 Check out all 21 FoodTech Funding rounds and Funds announced this week including seed funding to convert CO2 into ‘Climate Oil’ and Series B for coconut-based dairy alternatives
Next in Startups
☕️ Israeli startup Pluri launched a cell-based coffee business, which it will spin out into a new subsidiary focused on industrial-scale production to “revolutionise” the $132 billion industry.
🇮🇳 The Indian government is partnering with cultivated meat startup Neat Meatt Biotech on a landmark project to develop cell-cultured seafood for the world’s third-largest seafood consumer.
🇩🇰 Denmark’s 21st.Bio is opening up its precision fermentation platform to food and beverage ingredient manufacturers, to help reduce costs and time associated with product development.
🥛 Californian biotech Checkerspot unveiled its fat analogue, made by microalgae fermentation, that it claims mimics the human milk fat known as OPO (Oleic-Palmitic-Oleic or sn-2 palmitate), which could be a game changer for the infant formula industry.
🍅 Genomics company NRGene Technologies Ltd., based in Israel, launched its food tech subsidiary, Supree, which specialises in fruit and vegetable varieties that naturally self-dry on the vine while maintaining their nutritional value and flavour.
🧀 Leading dairy-free brand Daiya launched a new marketing campaign, “Fromage Forgery”, which plays off the ‘dupe culture’ trend to promote its newly-formulated dairy-free cheese.
🚀 Eat Just relaunched its vegan mayonnaise and ranch lines after five years off the shelves, citing pressure from fans.
🤍 New York-based Elmhurst debuted a vegan sour cream, made with oat milk and hemp protein via its patented “HydroRelease” method which “separates the components of a nut, grain or seed before reassembling them as a creamy, beverage-ready emulsion, maintaining the full nutrition of the source ingredient without added gums or emulsifiers,” by just adding water.
🥤 Coca-Cola is trialling label-less Sprite and Sprite Zero on-the-go bottles in the UK, replacing them with an embossed logo on the front of the pack and laser-engraved product and nutritional information on the back of the bottles, to cut overall packaging and simplify post-use packaging processing. But is it just greenwashing?
🍣 London-based private equity firm McWin acquired Danish-owned group of Japanese restaurants Sticks’n’Sushi, valued at €80 million, which operates 27 sites across the UK, Denmark and Germany.
👎 Danone has failed in its initial bid to stop a proposed class action lawsuit accusing it of misleading shoppers with a ‘carbon neutral’ claim on its Evian bottled water, after a judge determined that ‘Evidence shows consumers are confused by it’.
🥯 Cream cheese brand Philadelphia partnered with five bagel shops in North America to launch limited-edition, no-hole bagels, named Bagel Wholes, which provide a “first-of-its-kind solution that offers more space” for spreadable foods.
🍦 Unilever-owned ice cream brand Magnum released two new innovations that combine sorbet and ice cream in one product, based on two moods that consumers could experience whilst eating them: ‘chill’ and ‘euphoria.’
From the Community
6 new jobs this week:
📆 Come and join us this month at a FoodHack Meetup near you:
📍Is your city missing out on hosting Meetups? Apply to become a FoodHack Ambassador.
Just for Fun: The hardest, most rewarding job you’ll ever have?
Until next time - Stay Hungry