🥔 Gene-Editing Spuds

PLUS: FoodTech World Cup, cow-free cheese collab, a call to stop selling so much chocolate

It’s game ON in FoodTech.

Announcing the FoodTech World Cup 🏆 A global tournament to uncover the most impactful AgriFoodTech startups.

60 shortlisted Founders will pitch in their regional Demo Day to a top-tier Jury.
Then 12 selected finalists, 2 per region, will compete at the HackSummit. Where the winner will be crowned.

Ready to represent your startup (and country) on a world stage? Here’s how to enter.

P.S. Don’t you think a World Cup is worthy of a stadium? We think so.
Take a sneak peak of the Hack Arena.

This week in FoodTech:

🍯 AI Team-Up: For bee-free honey
🍫 Fava Bean: New choc on the block
🍷 7x Stronger: Aldi’s flat wine bottles

The Digest

Credit: James Ryall

📈 What’s up? Data from Jack Buck Farms shows that demand for celeriac is surging in the UK, likely driven by culinary experimentation with plant-based foods.

📉 What’s down? Unilever is spinning off its ice cream business and cutting 7,500 jobs in a bid to create “a simpler, more focused company.”

🥔 UK Research & Innovation unveiled a new project to investigate gene editing in potatoes, funded as part of its ‘National Engineering Biology’ programme to address challenges such as drought and secure a sustainable future for the industry.

🍬A new class action lawsuit has accused several major US sugar producers and others of artificially inflating granulated sugar prices.

💡 Opinion: Didier Toubia gives his two cents on transparent dialogue and responsible innovation in cultivating meat. Plus James Ryall’s overview of why the cultured meat revolution has only just begun with a logo map of the biomanufacturing B2B value chain.

👀 Good Read: Forbes posits why now is the time to reinvent processed foods.

Funds x Funding

Credit: Cauldron

💸 Californian VC Acre Venture Partners closed its Fund III with $140 million to invest in pre-seed to Series B agrifoodtech companies. To date, it has supported six startups, including agricultural robotics companies Bonsai Robotics and farm-ng. Read the exclusive by AgFunder.

🇦🇺 Australian startup Cauldron raised AU$9.5 million ($6.25 million) in a Series A funding round led by Horizon Ventures. Its continuous fermentation technology helps to improve the economics of large scale fermentation production, and it will use the funds to support plans for a 500,000 litre production facility.

🇳🇿 ANDFOODS, based in New Zealand, secured $2.7 million seed funding for its legume-based dairy alternatives, produced via fermentation to remove flavour off-notes while retaining nutritional benefits and functional properties.

🍫 UK-based Nukoko raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Oyster Bay Venture Capital to scale its technology to produce cocoa-free chocolate from fava beans, a nitrogen-fixing crop that can be grown in the UK. Here’s why they invested.

🇪🇸 Female-led Spanish startup Poseidona secured €1.1 million pre-seed funding to further develop its sustainable and cost-effective algal protein ingredients, made from algal side streams and invasive seaweeds, contributing to managing marine ecosystems.

🇰🇪 Kenyan agtech Farm to Feed has secured $1 million in equity and grant funding to reduce food wastage in the country by aggregating farm produce and selling it to restaurants and food processors through its sales channels.

🚀 Discover all 11 funding rounds including an AI-powered food and beverage platform and $50 million fund to support regenerative farming.

New in Startups

Credit: Oobli

🍭 Californian startup Oobli received a ‘no further questions’ letter from the FDA for its Oubli Sweet Protein made from precision fermentation, which is a sugar alternative that has no impact on blood glucose levels or gut health, meaning it can now be used as a sweetener in food and beverage applications. 

🐈 UK-based Meatly expects regulatory approval for its cultivated cat food within the next three months, which would make it the first company in the sector to go to market in the UK.

🐝 Bee-free honey maker MeliBio is partnering with Pow.Bio to further innovate the production of high-value bee proteins and enzymes, targeting the market for functional food ingredients.

🥤Interesting: Liquid Death is now a $1B+ company, selling water in aluminium cans. Here’s how.

Plant Based

Credit: Formo x Those Vegan Cowboys

🤝 Formo and Those Vegan Cowboys announced an R&D partnership to advance the production of their precision fermentation casein proteins, with the aim of “breaking through regulatory barriers in the EU” to bring their animal-free cheeses to market. Here’s why they’re teaming up.

🏭 French startup Umiami has opened the country’s first commercial-scale manufacturing facility for plant-based whole cuts, which is 14,000 m2 and has an annual production capacity of 7,500 tons. Take a look.

🌭 IKEA is launching its famous Plant Dog in the US. It’s made from rice protein, apple and onion, and priced at just 70 cents, so cheaper than its meat hot dog.

🛒 Meanwhile Jumbo Supermarkets in the Netherlands announced that it will cease all price promotions on meat in its stores and online.

Big Food

Credit: Aldi

🍷 Aldi launched the UK’s first supermarket own-brand flat wine bottles, made from 100% recycled PET, claiming they are seven times lighter and seven times stronger than standard wine bottles, whilst also optimising space in-store and in storage.

🛒 Germany’s REWE is opening its first fully vegan supermarket in Berlin, on the site of the former Veganz supermarket at Warschauer Brücke in Berlin-Friedrichshain which closed in December.

❌ A coalition of Nestlé’s shareholders has urged the company to “stop selling so much chocolate”, calling its heavy reliance on the sales of HFSS foods “disappointing and counterproductive.”

🥛 Kerry Dairy Consumer Foods unveiled Smug Dairy, a “category-first” range of blended products made with oats and dairy, designed to offer consumers “a healthier, more sustainable way of consuming dairy”.

🌾 Arla Foods Ingredients launched a new fermented beverage concept made from upcycled whey, aimed at reducing waste and increasing yield in its dairies.

🫵 UK MPs have accused CPG giants Kraft Heinz and Unilever of “gauging, greedflation and profiteering”, after their profits rose significantly through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Let’s meet IRL

Come and join us over in Lausanne for the unmissable HackSummit.

1,500 builders and funders in Food and Climate are gathering for 2 of their most impactful days of the year to network, make deals and have fun.

The line up is packed with new and familiar faces, novel food tastings and of course the finale of the FoodTech World Cup.

P.S. Prices go up on April 1st (that’s not an April Fool). Grab your pass.

From the Community

Recent jobs in FoodTech:

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

💥 Are you a FoodTech startup ready to make a difference? You have until March 29th to apply for the 2nd batch of FoodSeed, the Foodtech Accelerator by CDP Venture Capital SGR and Eatable Adventures. 

🚀 foodtech.ac is launching Batch 7 of its acceleration program for FoodTech and AgriTech startups from CEE. Apply by April 5th.

🌏 Are you a founder focused on decarbonising rice, palm oil, cocoa, fertiliser or food waste in APAC? Better Bite Ventures just extended the deadline to apply for an investment of up to $150K - until the end of April.

👶 Just for fun: When your VC board member sends an MBA intern to your startup’s board meeting instead.

Until next time - Stay Hungry

We read all your feedback! What did you think of today’s newsletter?

I love it 😁 Meh 😐 I hate it 🙁

Until next time - Stay Hungry