🍺 AI beer is here

PLUS: See who's going to the HackSummit, YC's 22 tips for founders, food waste's huge contribution to food system emissions

This week we caught up with Joanne Rodriguez at Mycocyle to hear how she’s using mycoremediation to close the loop on construction waste.

And also spoke to Eldad Arnon and Daniel Lock at Tupu to find out how they’re scaling a modular farming system to cultivate local gourmet mushrooms.

They’ll be at the HackSummit next month along with hundreds of other founders with fresh approaches to tackle the climate crisis.

Here’s a sneak peak of who else is going 👇

This week in FoodTech

  • $8B sales of plant-based in the US

  • Renewable energy-powered dining

  • China’s 10 certified vegan startups

The Digest

📈 What’s up? A new report from the Plant Based Foods Association shows that sales of plant-based foods in the US hit more than $8 billion in 2022.

📉 What’s down? Australian rapid grocery delivery startup Milkrun has shut down after 18 months in operation, having raised $86 million since its inception, leaving 400 people without jobs.

💡 A study published in Nature Food reveals that greenhouse gases from food waste contribute to nearly half of all global food system emissions, a far greater volume than estimates made by previous studies.

🎧 Good Listen: Ryan Little’s podcast, Sound Funding, features Green Queen’s Sonalie Figueiras this week, talking about how investing in the food system is the most important thing climate tech and impact investors can do.

🧡 Check out this pocket guide of essential YC advice.

New in Funding

🏭 New York-based Liberation Labs raised $30 million to advance the development of its first commercial-scale precision fermentation production facility in Indiana, which it says will have a fermentation capacity of 600,000 litres.

🌱 Carbon Robotics, based in the US, secured $30 million Series C funding for its LaserWeeder robot, which so far has zapped “500 million weeds across 40 different crops,” saving farmers time and reducing damage to soil health.

🌾 Biotech startup Andes raised an additional $15 million Series A funding, bringing its total Series A raise to $30 million. It aims to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into minerals in soil, to offer sustainable solutions for agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

🦟 University of Glasgow agritech spinout SOLASTA Bio raised £4 million for its “eco-friendly” insecticide, made from neuropeptides, that helps protect crops from damage caused by insects.

🧀 Californian biotech Climax Foods secured investment from French dairy giant Bel Group. The two companies are partnering to develop AI-powered plant-based versions of Bel’s popular cheese brands, including Baby bel, Laughing Cow, and Boursin.

💸 Read all 10 funding rounds including the plant-based seafood company that reeled in SEK 10M and pilot plant funding for CO2 protein.

Alt Protein

📖 Unilever-owned The Vegetarian Butcher has launched its first cookbook, “New Meat”, which features recipes from eleven highly acclaimed chefs, including several with Michelin stars.

🇨🇳 China has introduced its first domestic vegan food certification program and announced the first ten recipients, which include Hong Kong-based vegan pioneer Green Monday.

🇪🇺 Late last year, the European Commission registered a European Citizens’ Initiative titled ‘European Citizens’ Initiative for VEGAN MEAL’, to make vegan alternatives always available in private and public spaces selling food and drinks in Europe. The Initiative is now open, with the aim of collecting one million signatures.

🐟 San Diego-based cultivated seafood startup BlueNalu signed a LOI with longstanding strategic partner, Nutreco, based in the Netherlands, to establish a food-grade supply chain for cell-based seafood manufacturing.

🤝 Investment platform CULT Food Science is joining forces with biotech startup JellaTech to launch pet foods made with functional animal-free collagen under its new brand, Indiana Pets.

🤍 US-based plant milk brand JOI launched Hemp Milk Concentrate, made from blanched hemp hearts, which can be blended with water for instant, clean-label hemp milk.

Big Food

🍻 AB InBev has developed what it says is the world’s first beer made with artificial intelligence. New Beck’s Autonomous was selected by AI as its favourite among the millions of different flavour combinations it generated.

🍔 Burger King Colombia has partnered with Chile’s NotCo to offer a new vegetarian menu that uses the slogan “We declare ourselves Flexitarian!”.

🤝 ADM is partnering with cell-based startup Believer Meats to accelerate development and commercialisation of cultivated meat products, using ADM’s ingredients and nutrition expertise within Believer Meats’ technology.

🤖 Chipotle Mexican Grill unveiled a new all-electric restaurant design. Its new “responsible restaurant” concept is powered by renewable energy from wind and solar power through the purchase of renewable energy credits.

📦 Tesco has partnered with Faerch Group to launch an “industry first” ‘Tray 2 Tray’ initiative which recycles used plastic food trays back into chilled ready meals packaging.

Trends: Robotics and AI in Farming

🔎 Discover in the full FoodHack+ Report:
- 2x case studies (Meropy, Harvest CROO)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 50+ companies building futuristic farming equipment

Find out why robotics and AI are powerful tools to address the increasing complexity of modern agriculture, particularly with the growing threats of climate change. Support in nearly every step of the farming process improves efficiencies in the field, while some technologies learn to grow in less viable urban areas.

From the Community

Get hired in FoodTech:
- KOA (Switzerland) are looking for a Sales and Marketing Intern
- MeliBio’s Mellody (USA) are hiring a Foodservice Sales Manager

👀 See all 12 startups selected for ProVeg Incubator’s latest cohort.

🚀 Applications for Kickstart Innovation’s program are now open. Find out how to apply and what’s involved here.

💡 Here’s how AI can help with your next fundraise.

👋 The Big Meet is back. Taking place in Stockholm on 31 May - 2 June with the world’s largest test kitchen to dissect what’s new and what’s next. Use code BIGMEET20 to join.

👋 Always free: The next FoodHack Meetups take place in Valais (April 17th), Stockholm (April 19th), Tel Aviv (April 19th), Amsterdam (April 24th), Paris (May 4th) and Reykjavik (May 25th).

🏰 Just for fun:

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Curated by Nicola and Laura 

Until next time - Stay Hungry