🥂 Ho Ho No Alcohol

PLUS: Ultimate list of non-VC investors, one of Silicon Valley's biggest flops, recipe for lab-grown coffee

2023, a year of unexpected twists and turns, extreme highs and lows.

500+ funding rounds and 800+ news stories later, we’ve covered them all these past 12 months (and digested 1,000s more articles to bring you the best).

Whether you’ll be building on your 2023 success or ready for a fresh start, we’re glad to have you as part of our fast-growing impact community. Onwards

This week in Food:

🥛 Spilt milk: Oatly’s legal win
🍦 Caul it tasty: Cauliflower ice cream
🥬 Lettuce try it: Techno fresh processing

The Digest

Credit: Digital Food Lab

📈 What’s up? Tesco is predicting “record demand” for no and low alcohol beer, wines and spirits this Christmas, having seen its strongest-ever sales in 2023.

📉 What’s down? Data from NIQ shows that meat-free is one of the worst performing categories in the UK in 2023, with sales having declined £34.8 million as shoppers “prioritise savings over sustainability”.

☕️ Researchers at the VTT Research Centre of Finland have released the recipe for their lab-grown coffee as a proof of concept, with the aim of supporting development and commercialisation of the novel ingredient.

🇪🇺 EU lawmakers and council of member states have agreed that large companies in the bloc will have to identify and take remedial action if they find their supply chains employing child labour or damaging the environment.

💸 Use this: The “ultimate list” of non-VC investors.

6️⃣ 6 mega trends shaping the future of food, and a graph of when you’ll see them on your table.

👀 Check out AgFunder’s good, bad and ugly of agrifoodtech in 2023.

Funding x Funds

Credit: Munch

💰 Apax closed its Apax Global Impact Fund with $900 million to support mission-driven companies tackling critical environmental or social issues, including health, wellness, environment, social and economic mobility, and enabling digital impact.

🌾 Ag biotech startup NewLeaf Symbiotics, based in the US, secured $45 million in a Series D funding round led by Gullspång Re:food to further develop its pink-pigmented facultative methylotroph technology for use in biologicals for row crops.

👩‍🍼 Brightseed has been awarded its second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will use the $1.6 million in funding to support undernourished pregnant and nursing mothers, by using its AI technology, Forager®, to identify natural bioactive compounds that target environmental enteric dysfunction in these women, ultimately impacting global birth and infant outcomes.

🇧🇷 Brazilian startup Future Cow raised almost R$2 million (approximately $410,000) in a funding round led by Antler and Big Idea Ventures. It will use the funds to scale its precision fermentation technology for the production of animal-free milk, having just produced its first prototype.

🥓 Spanish biotech Libre Foods received a €335,000 public R&D grant from Neotec, a program which supports technology-based companies. It will use the funds to develop a low-cost mycelium ingredient to enhance the texture and nutrition in meat alternatives. 

🔚 Check out all the final rounds of 2023 including prebiotics from upcycled carrots and a $40M fund for early-stage consumer brands.

New in Startups

Credit: Zume Pizza

🍕 Good Read: Fast Company shares the tale of pizza robotics company Zume Pizza, one of the “biggest flops in Silicon Valley history”.

🤖 US-based Pipedream announced the launch of its first underground delivery network in partnership with smart city development Peachtree Corners. Employees who work at The Curiosity Hub, an innovation centre in Atlanta, can order from local restaurants and stores and have their deliveries brought by underground delivery robots via the tube network.

🇯🇵 Japanese vertical farming company Spread unveiled its ‘Techno Fresh’ processing method to produce long-lasting cut lettuce. Its in-house developed processing technologies help to prevent bacterial growth, extending the shelf life of cut lettuce by up to two times without compromising freshness, taste or quality.

🍦 New Zealand-based EatKinda launched what it says is the world’s first cauliflower ice cream into 90 Woolworths stores across the country.

Alt Protein

Credit: The Vegetarian Butcher

🎄 Unilever’s The Vegetarian Butcher launched a plant-based stuffed Christmas turkey into its vegan butchery in Rotterdam.

🦆Nestlé’s plant-based foie gras, Voie Gras, is back with a new formulation. It contains miso paste, sea salt and a soy base to help achieve the authentic texture and flavour of traditional foie gras. ➕ 6 more alternatives to try.

🇫🇷 France’s Les Républicains party has submitted a proposal to ban cultivated meat in the country, calling it ‘junk food’ and arguing it goes against French tradition and hurts livestock farming.

🇺🇸 A US Republican representative from Nebraska has drafted a resolution condemning the FAO’s “anti-beef” recommendation to reduce meat in rich countries, claiming it would “shatter” global food security.

🐟 German startup Koralo, which is developing vegan seafood in South Korea, unveiled its first product, New F!sh, which it claims is a first-of-its-kind in the South Korean alt seafood market. The vegan fish fillet is made from microalgae and mycelium via a co-fermentation process. 

🍗 Rebellyous Foods, based in Seattle, is looking for proposals from food facilities to operate a continuous processing system it claims can slash production costs for plant-based meat by 60% compared to standard methods.

Big Food

Credit: Oatly

🥛 Swedish oat milk giant Oatly has won a High Court battle against Dairy UK, the British dairy industry’s trade association representing dairy giants such as Arla and Lakeland Foods, meaning it will now be allowed to continue using the word ‘milk’ on its packaging.

🌻 Lindt has joined forces with vegan chocolate brand ChoViva, which makes cocoa-free chocolate from fermented oats and sunflower seeds, to launch a limited-edition chocolate bar for Veganuary. ➕ 12 top vegan chocolates

🍸 Booze giant Diageo is planning to invest MXN 100 million (approximately $5.8 million) in water preservation schemes for its tequila brands in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, as part of its goal to restore over 100% of the water used in its operations in water-scarce regions by the end of 2025.

☕️ Greek yoghurt leader Chobani has acquired ready-to-drink coffee company La Colombe for $900 million, just a few months after the latter announced its $300 million sales and distribution deal with Keurig Dr Pepper. Read why they’re joining forces.

☕️ Danone North America brand International Delight launched limited-edition creamers and ice coffee inspired by the popular Netflix series “Bridgerton”.

HackTrends: Novel Food Authorisation

Novel foods – everything from cultivated meats to precision fermentation – must navigate rigorous sets of regulatory hurdles before they hit the plate. But with regulatory requirements varying from country to country, each market has its own considerations. A lack of harmonisation around the world means approval in one market does not guarantee approval in another. 

🔎 Discover in the full HackTrends Report:
- 3x case studies (ATOVA, Vegan Food Law, RSSL)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 20 companies supporting with novel food regulation
- Insights from Mathilde do Chi, Hannah Lester, Joe Humphreys, Brian P Sylvester, Alice Joubran and Daniele Leonarduzzi 

From the Community

Get hired in FoodTech

📆 Save the date: Join us on 17th January in Amsterdam OR Paris for the first FoodHack Meetups of 2024

📣 AgFunder GROW Impact Accelerator are calling for applications from global agrifoodtech founders to join their fifth cohort. Apply today

😴 Tired of your pitch deck, try this tear sheet template instead.

🔢 Is this page missing in your startup data room?

🧭 Instagram vs reality: The cap table maze.

❄️ Just for fun: Preparing to fundraise in 2024

Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday and all the best for 2024.

💚 the Hack Team

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Until next time - Stay Hungry