🥑 Laser Tattoo Avocados

PLUS: Cultivated unagi, desert-inspired coffee alternative, 17-year legal battle over Big Macs

Like many of you next week, the HackTeam has already arrived in beautiful Lausanne for the HackSummit. The countdown has officially begun 🎉

It’s fast becoming THE must-attend gathering for the Food and Climate communities and we can’t wait to let you in on what we’ve planned. Take a sneak peek.

Can’t make it this time? Why not come and join your local Meetup, next taking place in Berlin, Dubai, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Mexico City, Valais and Zurich.

This week in FoodTech:

  • 17-year legal battle over Big Macs

  • $55 million to develop novel proteins

  • 27,000 sq ft microalgae protein facility

The Digest

📈 What’s up? UK farmers say that a two-week delay in the nation’s strawberry harvest is set to prompt “bigger and riper” fruits.

📉 What’s down? Israeli cultivated meat startup Aleph Farms is laying off 30% of its workforce to maintain its ‘asset-light strategy’, reportedly due to difficulties in securing capital as it scales. And agricultural insights platform

📉 Gro Intelligence is closing down after failing to secure enough capital to stay afloat .

🇫🇮 Researchers at the Helsinki Institute of Life Science have developed a way to make cultivated meat without expensive growth factors, instead relying on stem cell metabolism, enabling precise control in bioreactors.

🥭 The governments of Queensland and Victoria have partnered with Hort Innovation Australia to develop an algorithm which has the ability to predict the shelf life of mangoes and stone fruit.

🌾The University of Essex has built a new facility to develop climate-resilient crops that can adapt to a hotter and drier planet, featuring AI-powered research, robotics, vertical farming and imitation suites.

👀 Exclusive: Meet the Swiss biotech teaming up with multinationals to build the bioeconomy at scale. And heading to the HackSummit.

New in Funding

Credit: ByHeart

🍼 New York-based ByHeart, which makes infant formula, secured $95 million to support its continued launch in the US, plus its plans for product development.

🧬 Californian biotech Prolific Machines raised $55 million Series B1 funding for its photomolecular platform, which uses light to develop novel proteins for the food and medicine industries at significantly lower costs.

💰 The Bezos Earth Fund awarded North Carolina State University $30 million over the next five years to establish the first Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein, as part of its $1 billion pledge towards food system transformation.

🇲🇦 Yola Fresh, based in Morocco, raised $7 million pre-Series A funding to further scale its platform, designed to directly connect the country’s small-holder farmers with fruit and vegetable retailers.

🍫 Israeli startup Kokomodo emerged from stealth with $750,000 in funding from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub and the Israeli Innovation Authority to produce cell-based cocoa and chocolate products.

👉 Check out all the latest funding rounds including a $20 million fund for Brazilian startups in ag and logisitics, and an Indonesian aquaculture startup’s $30m raise.

10 Trends, 100 Founders

Next week the HackSummit doors will open to 1,000 of the brightest minds in Climate. Before we do, here’s a roundup of the 10 top trends to look out from sustainable coffee and chocolate to rice decarbonisation and SynBio in FoodTech.

Dive into the full list here and 100 startups working on the solutions.

New in Startups

Credit: Forsea Foods

🐟 Israeli cell-based seafood startup Forsea Foods held a tasting event for investors, journalists, food manufacturers, opinion leaders and government representatives to try its cultivated unagi in Tel Aviv, and plans to launch in Japan by 2026. See it up close

❎ US functional soda brand Poppi is facing a class action lawsuit over false advertising, with allegations that brand has misled consumers by claiming to provide “prebiotic” benefits despite it being “basically sugared water.”

☕️ A new caffeine-free coffee alternative startup launched in the US this week. Kamana offers beverages made with mesquite, an ancient desert superfood that is packed with natural energy sources and fibre.

👎 US-based better-for-you kids snack brand Lesser Evil’s Lil’ Puffs have been found to contain ‘concerning’ amounts of lead’, according to research conducted by Consumer Reports.

Plant Based

Credit: Brevel

✂️ Israel’s Brevel opened its first commercial-scale microalgae protein facility, a 27,000 sq ft plant capable of producing hundreds of tons of protein for use in dairy alternatives. Take a look inside.

🔪 The newly-formed Ahimsa Companies has acquired plant-based food leader Wicked Kitchen, along with its associated brands Good Catch and Current Foods, as it aims to lead an “industry-wide consolidation effort”

🥚 Eat Just launched its newest Just Egg formulation in the US, and claims it is its most significant advancement in flavour, texture, and functionality since the product’s introduction five years ago. 

🍣 Berlin-based BettaF!sh unveiled its latest product, SAL-NOM, a plant-based hot-smoked salmon alternative made from European seaweed.

🤍 Hellmann’s has rebranded its vegan mayo to ‘plant-based’, in a bid to be ‘more inclusive’ to flexitarians.

Big Food

Credit: Tesco

🥑 Tesco UK is replacing the stickers on its extra-large avocados with barcodes drawn on by lasers in an effort to reduce its environmental impact. Have your say - what should be sticker-free next?

🍔 Irish fast food chain Supermac’s finally won its 17-year legal battle with McDonald’s, limiting the fast food giant’s usage rights of the term “Big Mac.”

🍜 Hong Kong-based instant noodle giant Nissin Foods acquired Korean snack company Gaemi Food in a deal worth $34.6 million to build its presence in the Korean and overseas markets.

👵 Nestlé is shifting its focus to products with nutritional needs for the older generation, due to falling global birth rates.

🍻 Heineken completed its first large-scale regenerative agriculture barley harvest in Europe, a major step towards its goal of reducing scope 3 emissions from agriculture by 30% by 2030.

From the Community

👀 Get hired by: Level Nine, Red to Green, ECBF, Umami Bioworks, Set Ventures and all these impact companies hiring today.

💡 Opinion: Why is there a lack of collaboration among R&D teams within companies?

💸 Take note: How to raise your impact startup’s first million.

🚀 Take part in the THRIVE Global Impact Challenge with a new focus on Nutrition & Health, along with Food Security, Soil Health, GHG Emissions, Water and Energy.

🎨 Unpacking the complicated landscape ahead for food manufacturers that use controversial artificial food dyes.

🙌 Join us at the next FoodHack Meetup taking place in Mexico City, Zurich, Dubai, Ljubljana, Berlin and Lisbon

🔥 Just for fun: What’s your startup’s burn rate?

Until next time - Stay Hungry

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Until next time - Stay Hungry