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PLUS: Food's carbon funding gap, animal-free heme for pets, €50M alt protein commitment
It’s high time food got a seat at the COP table.
As the 28th edition wraps up, there’s a lot to be hopeful for. Including the first COP declaration to draw a connection between climate change and the food we eat.
Yet at the same time, David Burrows points out that ‘it’s taken 28 COPs to get an agreement on a transition away from fossil fuels. It simply cannot take another 28 to form some kind of consensus on sustainable food systems.’
So as we near the end of 2023, here’s to you, the change-makers, risk-takers and go-getters on a mission to transform our food system. No COP-out.
This week in Food:
A first for fungi: Fynd yoghurt
Next country to ban meaty terms
Rise and fall of a FoodTech unicorn
📈 What’s up? Data from UK-based recipe box provider Gousto shows that its sales of meatless meals have doubled in the past four years.
📉 What’s down? Heather Mills’ plant-based food company, VBites, has gone into administration after 30 years, citing “corporate greed, misinformation, and rising costs”. Does this mean plant-based is doomed?
🔓 The Sustainable Markets Initiative’s agribusiness task force, made up of companies including Mars, McCain Foods, McDonald’s, Mondelez International, PepsiCo and Waitrose, is launching a new blended finance framework to help unlock trillions of dollars for regenerative agriculture and explore implementation projects in India, the UK and the US.
🐾 Good read: Michal Klar of Better Bite VC gives a run down on why food systems will (and must) be centre stage in all future COPs.
👀 Inside scoop: How INFARM went from startup to unicorn to bankruptcy.
🔄 Synonym, a financing and development platform for essential biomanufacturing infrastructure, announced LCA calculations are now available on its Scaler platform.
Funding x Funds
💶 The European Union has committed €50 million over the next year to aid startups and small businesses in scaling alternative protein production through its European Innovation Council Work Programme 2024, with a particular focus on technologies such as precision fermentation.
🍎 Indian startup Vegrow secured $46 million Series C funding, in a round led by GIC, for its B2B marketplace for fruits. It claims to have experienced a fivefold increase in revenue and reached operational profitability in the past year.
🔬 Spore.Bio raised €8 million pre-seed funding for the “world’s first” device that uses AI to detect bacteria in food, drink, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products faster, reducing sampling times from 20 days to only minutes and working directly on the factory floor.
🍋 US ready-to-drink alcohol brand Jiant secured $6 million, in a Series A funding round led by Natureza Growth Partners, to extend distribution of its fresh-brewed hard tea, kombucha and cocktail-inspired drinks.
🔍 Singapore-based ProfilePrint Pte. Ltd. announced the successful closure of its Series B funding round. Its food ingredient analysis platform uses artificial intelligence to detect quality, taste profile, and freshness.
👉 Here’s a roundup of all 14 funds and funding rounds including NBA star Chris Paul’s fungi investment and $3B to decarbonise sectors including food.
Drinks x Tech
Credit: Side Hustle Brews
🔘 US-based Frazy announced its plans to debut the “world’s first” robotic beverage machine, FrazyBot, capable of making fresh, customised speciality drinks at home at the press of a button.
🍺 Side Hustle Brews is opening a beer brewery in Abu Dhabi, making it the first company to legally produce alcohol in the UAE.
🍷 UK-based Nice unveiled its first lower ABV Session Wine, designed to “offer consumers the chance to moderate more easily”.
🥤 British startup Living Things launched with ‘feel-good’ probiotic sodas that are packed in fully recyclable cans.
Credit: Vital Meat
🍗 France’s Vital Meat has submitted a novel food pre-market regulatory dossier to the Singapore Food Agency, marking another step in its journey towards commercialisation of its cultivated chicken in the city-state.
🥚 Food Standards Australia New Zealand has concluded that Australian cultivated meat startup Vow’s cultivated quail is safe to eat, bringing it a step closer to receiving novel foods approval to produce and sell in both countries.
🤝 Two UK cellular agriculture firms, BSF Enterprise and CellRev, are set to join forces to launch a new company, Cultivated Meat Technologies Limited, focused on the mass production of cultivated meat.
📈 Cultivated meat growth media company Multus is partnering with AI bioprocess optimisation software company New Wave Biotech to use AI technology to scale the production of cultivated meat more quickly and effectively.
🧫 German startup Senara came out of stealth and claims to be the first cultivated milk company in Europe. It sources cells from milk itself, rather from cows, so does not have to separate its protein from biomass, making its process more efficient than cultivated meat production.
🤔 Will lab grown meat succeed? Have your say in this poll.
Fermentation and Plant Based
Credit: The EVERY Company
🍳 Californian startup The EVERY Company debuted its precision fermentation hen-free liquid egg at an exclusive event at renowned New York City restaurant Eleven Madison Park. Here’s how their CEO’s 9 year dream came true.
🐶 Belgian precision fermentation company Paleo has filed what it claims is the world’s first patent application for the use of animal-free, yeast-based myoglobin in pet food.
🇰🇷 South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has prohibited the use of animal food names such as “beef,” “pork,” “milk,” or “egg” on plant-based products, to “avoid confusion with traditional animal products”.
🍄 Nature’s Fynd, based in Chicago, will launch what it claims are the “world’s first” fungi-based yoghurts into Whole Foods stores across the US in January.
🧀 Canadian plant-based food maker Daiya Foods unveiled its reformulated line of dairy-free cheeses, made with its proprietary gluten-free oat cream blend, created using traditional fermentation techniques to more accurately mimic dairy cheese.
🇨🇭 Swiss startup Cultivated Biosciences unveiled its dairy-free coffee creamer prototype, the first proof of concept for its yeast-based fermented fat.
🍗 Perdue unveiled Air Fryer Ready Crispy Wings, designed specifically for at-home air frying.
💸 Labatt Breweries of Canada is investing CAD 6 million in a new heat recovery system, which will convert previously unused heat expelled from its refrigeration systems and use it within the pasteurisation process in brewing, reducing energy consumption and helping to decarbonise the brewing process.
🗑️ Lidl UK has ditched the ‘use by’ dates on its own brand milk and yoghurt to help its customers reduce food waste at home.
🌴 The UK government has introduced new legislation to ban supermarkets from selling goods linked to illegal deforestation, potentially affecting products made with palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather and soy.
From the Community
🚀 StartLife has opened applications for its 11th (equity-free) Accelerator Program. The program is tailored for agrifoodtech startups contributing to the transformation of our global agrifood system, offering support in market validation, fundraising and accelerated market entry.
👀 Apply to take part in Google’s Startups for Sustainable Development program supporting impact startups focused on one or more of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
🔮 Will the world be vegan by 2075? ChatGPT weighs in.
💰 6 takeaways about the return profile of VC funds.
The 7 laws of honourable leadership.
🍌 Just for fun: Consultants who have never built anything giving startup advice.
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Until next time - Stay Hungry