🍫 Naked snacking

PLUS: Inside a space culinary lab, TIME's 20+ best Food and Drink innovations of 2023

Plant cell culturing refers to the process of growing and maintaining plant cells or tissues in a controlled environment, like a lab.

And it’s hotting up.

This week Ayana Bio expanded its Plant Cell Advantage ingredient portfolio with the addition of plant cell-cultivated dog rose, hedge nettle and sage ingredients.

And Amatera closed 1.5M to accelerate plant cell culture and molecular biology with their non-GMOplatform for perennial crops. Starting with coffee.

The startups have a latte potential to speed up the natural evolution of bioactive ingredients and crops globally.

And similar to all emerging trends, there are pros, cons and remaining questions, which we unpack in this 5-minute readwith HackTrends.

This Week in Food:

  • 3 APAC startups funded by Better Bite

  • 6 politicians’ ties to agri lobby groups

  • 10x more affordable Human Prolactin

The Digest

Credit: Joey Grostern & Clare Carlile, DeSmog via Green Queen Media

 📈 What’s up? Ukraine’s agriculture minister confirms that around 700,000 metric tons of grain have been exported through the country’s “humanitarian” Black Sea export corridor since it began operating in August.

📉 A new investigation by climate media outlet DeSmog and Politico reveals the “deep ties” between agriculture lobby groups and a group of six influential EU politicians, who are pushing against the bloc’s green agriculture reforms around pesticide use, ecosystem restoration and the Farm to Fork strategy.

🇰🇷 South Korea has become the second country to embrace a national plan for plant-based foods with a comprehensive plan to boost the country’s plant-based food industry and encourage the adoption of animal protein alternatives.

🇪🇺 The EU Commission’s proposed caged farming ban is now on hold, despite support from EU citizens, and an investigation has revealed that this is due to aggressive pressure from the meat lobby.

🌾 Former members of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization allege that they were “censored, sabotaged, undermined and victimised” for a decade after reporting on the hugely detrimental effect of livestock farming on methane emissions, owing to pressure from the animal agriculture industry.

👀 Good Read: Check out AgFunder’s Asia-Pacific AgriFoodTech Investment Report.

New in Funding

Credit: GoodBytz

🤖 Hamburg-based GoodBytz secured €12 million Series A funding in a round led by Oyster Bay. It will use the funds to produce 100 of its Robotic Kitchen Assistants, which can make everything from ramen to Caesar salads.

🦟 German agritech startup FarmInsect raised €8 million Series A funding. Its end-to-end solution allows farmers to build their own modular insect farms, supplied with weekly shipments of Black Soldier Fly seed larvae, which are then fattened on site using waste materials, such as fruit and vegetable peels, to produce a high-quality, protein-rich animal feed.

🌾 French startup Amatera secured €1.6 million pre-seed funding to accelerate development of climate-resilient perennial crops, including a new coffee variety with the “resilience and yields of Robusta and the taste of Arabica”. Here’s why they stood out.

💰 Better Bite Ventures announced investments into three APAC food tech startups - Singapore’s Fattastic, Australia’s Pivot Eat, which is is working on a novel process to enhance the structure and South Korea’s Everything But. Find out why they invested.

💨 Get up to speed on all of this week’s funding rounds including Series A for New York bagels and a grant for university researchers’ 3D printed packaging.

New in Startups

Credit: Smashmallow

💰 Snackable marshmallow brand Smashmallow has been awarded $21 million after a lengthy legal battle over defective equipment, after its equipment manufacturer, Dutch firm Tanis Food Tec, “failed to deliver on its promises” on delivering a proprietary specialised machine, leaving it unable to meet production capacity requirements.

🧫 Ayana Bio further expanded its Plant Cell Advantage ingredient portfolio with the addition of plant cell-cultivated dog rose, hedge nettle and sage ingredients, designed for use in food products and dietary supplements.

🔝 GOOD Meat’s cultivated chicken was among 20+ Food and Drink companies to earn a spot in Time Magazine’s annual roundup of “The Best Inventions of 2023”. Check out the full list.

🎁 New sustainability startup One Good Thing (OGT) launched with what it says are the world’s first wrapperless protein and snack bars, made from raw cold-pressed, low-carbon ingredients and coated with a completely edible, natural film.

🤝 Tiamat Sciences and BIOMILQ joined forces on a project demonstrating that a plant-based recombinant protein, Human Prolactin, is just as effective as the commercially available alternative, and is 10x more affordable. 

🪐 San Francisco-based Nonfiction unveiled its Space Culinary Lab, part of NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge, in which it creates tasty treats astronauts can grow and grill while on a long flight to Mars. Take a look inside.

Plant Based

Credit: Redefine Meat

🥩 Israel’s Redefine Meat announced its commercial launch in Switzerland through its exclusive distributor, Fredag AG, marking the 13th country where its products are now available.

🍁 Canadian alt dairy startup bettermoo(d) announced a significant retail collaboration with Whole Foods Market which will see its plant-based Moodrink land in retailers nationwide.

🍫 UK-based WNWN Food Labs, which makes cocoa-free chocolate, unveiled three new bars which “riff on UK favourites”, including Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

🌱 US duckweed ingredients company Plantible Foods and ICL Food Specialties, a leading functional ingredients manufacturer, debuted ROVITARIS, a “revolutionary” clean label binding solution for plant-based meat and seafood applications, designed to replace chemically processed binders such as methylcellulose, without compromising taste or texture.

Big Food

Credit: Hotel Chocolat

💰 Hotel Chocolat unveiled its ‘Better Way’ chocolate bars, and will donate 100% of the bar sales to support sustainable cacao farming practices.

💵 ADM is rethinking the scope of its $300 million plan to expand production of alternative proteins "to better match the expected lower growth demand environment".

🤝 Arla announced a series of new UK commercial partnerships, including agreements with supermarket giants Aldi, Asda and Morrisons, designed to accelerate sustainability work on dairy farms.

HackTrends: BioTech for Soil Health

Soil is the very basis of food security, storing water, a home to millions of microbes and boosting biodiversity. We can’t live without it. But our soil is far from healthy. Polluted and farmed with toxic chemicals, it needs our help. Which is where biotech innovators are stepping in…

🔎 Discover in the full HackTrend Report:
- 2x case studies (Loam Bio, Biome Makers)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 20+ companies leveraging biotech for soil health and crop yield
- Expert insights from Hadar Sutovsky of ICL Planet, Franco Martinez Levis of Puna Bio and Jamie Nix of Biome Makers

From the Community

Want a job in FoodTech? Try here
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🦒 What to do, if your cap table looks like a zoo.

💰 Check out this AI VC finder to build a top tier VC list in minutes.

🛒 Carbon Equity’s Co-Founder shares why you should start by selling your solution.

👋 Join us at a FoodHack Meetup in Singapore (2nd November), Lisbon (9th November) and Boston (16th November). See what happened last week.

⏰ Last chance to apply for Japan’s business matching program at Next Kitchen 2024.

🎟 FoodTech Pitch Lounge is taking place online on 31st October. Use code FOODHACK31OCT to watch live and connect with founders and investors.

🏆 Meet the winners of MassChallenge Switzerland from last night.

 🏀 Just for fun: Closing a round in a market downturn

Have a fang-tastic Halloween 🍅

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Curated by Nicola and Laura 

Until next time - Stay Hungrys