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PLUS: Cultivated meat merger, Bezos backs alt protein, decarbonising coffee farming

Around the world in just 2 days 🌎

We’re building a global line-up of founders and funders for this year’s HackSummit.

Hot off the press, 6 talents from Asia-Pacific’s AgriFoodTech ecosystem are next to join us on stage:

  • David Chen @ AgriG8

  • Ann Limley @ Pivot Eat

  • Jonathan Ho @ Allium Bio

  • Mihir Pershad @ Umami Bioworks

  • Bharath Bakaraju @ PHYX44 Labs

  • James Petrie @ Nourish Ingredients

They’re all tackling key areas of the food system affected by the climate crisis across sustainable ingredients, alternative fats, rice decarbonisation and cell-based.

And because we’d love to see you there too, here’s 20% off your pass until the end of this month - use code FHMAR20. Hope you can join us!

This week in FoodTech:

🌶️ Pack a Punch: Spicy habanero honey
💰$60M for Alt Protein: Jeff Bezos’ Fund
🤝 Cultivated Meat Merger: A new entity

The Digest

Credit: AgFunder

📉 What’s down? AgFunder’s latest report shows that investment in agrifoodtech startups declined by 50% from 2022 to 2023, hitting its lowest ebb in six years.

💰 The Bezos Earth Fund is investing $60 million to establish the Centers for Sustainable Protein, which will target tech barriers to making plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated meat products cheaper, healthier and tastier.

🇮🇳 The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is setting a regulatory framework for the approval of cell-based foods, to help move forward the country’s sustainable food industry.

🔍 Contract research organisation NIZO opened its Sustainable Protein Innovation & Test Centre in the Netherlands, designed to help meat and dairy alternatives companies to scale their technologies.

👀 Good read: The problem with carbon negative food claims by Editor, David Burrows.

💡Join the debate: Can AI replace animal testing and help transition away from animal-based foods?

Funds x Funding

Credit: Tierra Biosciences

🇪🇺 A new European food innovation coalition launched the Regenerative Innovation Portfolio, a €30 million initiative aimed at advancing regenerative agriculture practices across the continent.

🧬 Tierra Biosciences, based in California, secured $11.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Material Impact. Its platform is designed to enable customers to order proteins online that can make anything from antibodies to growth factor for a food product.

🌻 Protein Industries Canada announced a $6.9 million project to grow the country’s supply of protein-rich ingredients derived from hemp and sunflower.

🇨🇭 Swiss startup Cotierra (formerly Terra Preta) raised €1 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round to decarbonise coffee farming. Its biochar solution is tailored to the Global South, and converts coffee tree residues into biochar which is then reapplied to soils to help store carbon and reduce emissions. 

🧫 Californian cultivated meat startup Orbillion Bio secured additional funding, bringing its total raised to date to $15 million, to scale production and further develop its biotech platform, which completed a 200-litre production run in September and for which it has developed an algorithm that can make low-cost manufacturing possible. Here’s what’s in store.

💸 See all the 12 latest funding rounds including AI-powered server robots, funding to prevent babies getting food allergies and a B2B marketplace for food ingredients.

New in Startups

Credit: Melt&Marble

🏭 Swedish precision fermentation company Melt&Marble opened new headquarters with expanded R&D and commercial-scale production capabilities for its ‘designer fats’ for use in food and other applications, as it works towards launching in the US next year.

🔬 Swan Neck Bio, a spinout of White Labs Copenhagen, launched FlexCell, a new tool which enables fast and affordable fermentation scaling. Hear from Mark-Emil at FoodHack Tel Aviv

🍓 Michelle Obama’s Plezi Nutrition is launching a line of lower sugar carbonated fruit drinks aimed at convincing tweens and teens to switch to healthier beverages and cut their sugar intake.

🍡 Interesting: Silicon Valley tried to mass produce fancy marshmallows. Here’s how it got messy, fast.


Credit: Umami Bioworks

🤝 Singaporean cultivated seafood startups Umami Bioworks and Shiok Meats have agreed to merge; the new combined entity will retain the Umami Bioworks name and be led by existing CEO Mihir Pershad while Shiok Meats CEO Sandhya Sriram will exit the company. Here’s why from Sandhya.

🧫 Israel’s Pluri secured a patent from the Israel Patent Office for its “System for 3D Cultivation of Plant Cells and Methods of Use”, which it claims is the first-ever patent approval for 3D bioreactor technology in plant cell cultivation.

🤝 UK-based BSF Enterprise and Ivy Farm Technologies are partnering to secure investment, produce and scale cultivated meat in China.

🎧 Good listen: What will happen to farmers when cultivated meat arrives?

Plant Based

Credit: Revo Foods

🐙 Austria’s Revo Foods closed its successful crowdfunding campaign and unveiled a new product, The Kraken, which it claims is the world’s first alternative to octopus tentacles, made from mycoprotein.

🥩 Swiss startup Planted launched a ‘first-of-its-kind’ fermented whole-cut steak alternative, made from soy protein, rapeseed oil, bean and rice flours, and microbial cultures and high in protein, fibre, and micronutrients. See it cooked.

🍄 Hong Kong’s OMNIFoods unveiled two new products this week: a vegan steak made from lion’s mane mushrooms and a range of sweet vegan baos filled with molten chocolate, matcha, red bean, and black sesame.

🌶️ MeliBio’s consumer brand, Mellody, launched a spicy habanero variant of its plant-based honey, which it claims is the “first-ever” vegan hot honey on the market. Try it first here.

🪄 Impossible Foods unveiled a complete brand refresh. Its new bright red aesthetic leans into the ‘carnivorous craveability of meat’ and highlights its products’ flavour and nutrition.

🥥 Bored Cow released a “first of its kind” range of drinkable yoghurt made with animal-free milk protein from fermentation, coconut cream, and cane sugar. 

Big Food

🍍 Del Monte Foods launched Precious Honeyglow pineapples, a petite version of their regular golden sweet pineapples, in a bid to reduce food waste and respond to the growing demands of single-person households.

🥫 The Campbell Soup Co. acquired Sovos Brands, Inc.for $2.7 billion, in a move which “adds several market-leading and scaled premium brands” to the company.

👀 How Google is trying to reduce food waste without irritating employees.

HackTrends: FOAK Infrastructure

FOAK can refer to any technology that’s newly created, or, as the name suggests, first of a kind. But in climate tech, when people talk about FOAKs they’re usually referring to pilot plants where products or formulas that might only have existed in theory or in very small doses, such as those used in Direct Air Capture technology, can be scaled up to meet commercial demand.

Building physical infrastructure for these technologies is a costly bet, partly because FOAK technologies cost significantly more than later generations of the same tech.

🔎 Discover in the full HackTrends Report:
- 2x case studies (H2 Green Steel, Liberation Labs)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 20 companies bridging the valley of death

Find out more about how bridging the "valley of death" between climate tech prototypes and commercial viability will require overcoming severe funding and operational gaps. 

From the Community

Recent jobs in FoodTech:

🔝 5 small details that make for a good pitch that almost never get talked about, according to Angel Investor, Ryan Grant Little.

🎬 5 takeaways on how to secure investment from binge-watching Shark Tank ABC.

💡 40+ rules for being a (good) Founder.

💚 Come and meet your local community at a free FoodHack Meetup next in Tel Aviv, Lausanne, Amsterdam and Milan.

🇩🇪 Deep Tech Momentum (May 14-16, Berlin) is an invite-only three day bootcamp designed to accelerate Europe’s top 100 early-stage Deep Tech startups. Applications are now open. Use code HACK for 50% off.

🔍 Looking for scientific, IP, regulatory or financial support to push your venture to success? biotope by VIB  offers access to a network of experts, state-of-the-art facilities, and a €250K in cash pre-seed investment. Applications close March 31. Apply now here.

🐈‍⬛ Just for fun: Engineering your startup’s growth with vanity metrics

Until next time - Stay Hungry

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