🍄 Shroom boom in robotics
PLUS: A bill to ban cultivated meat production, a cat vs investor attention span, the rise of camel milk
This week 36 alt seafood startups spanning 14 countries o-fish-ally joined forces to create the Future Ocean Foods Association.
They’re making waves with plants and cells to help create seafood alternatives including whole-cuts, sushi-grade tuna, smoked salmon, shrimp, crab and calamari to take a (bigger) slice of the $700B global seafood industry.
By teaming up, the association hopes to unite global stakeholders, deepen market penetration, share knowledge and increase education of alt seafood to turn the tide on ocean health and food security. Let’s sea if they can.
This week in Food:
THC-infused chocolate bars
Pilot plant for single-cell protein
Food giant shares ice cream patents
📈 What’s up? A new report from payment processing company Square shows that the number of restaurants offering a form of active subscription plan (think wine club, or a taco lover’s pass) to its customers has grown by 54% over the past year.
📈 Also up: Camel milk’s popularity is on the rise, according to a new report from market research firm Fact.MR. Product sales are currently valued at $1.34 billion and are expected to increase at a CAGR of 4.1% to 2032, thanks to its “digestive and nutritious” properties. Here are the pros and cons.
📉 What’s down? Tyson Foods is set to shutter two more of its plants as it reduces its operations in response to current consumer demand.
❌ Florida House Republican, Tyler Sirois has introduced a bill proposing to ban the production, sale and distribution of cultivated meat in the state which would come into effect in July 2024 if signed into law.
🇪🇺 The European Food Information Council has launched a new platform to debunk misinformation and support consumer understanding of food and food labels.
🚬 A study by the UK’s Durham University shows that pictorial, cigarette-style warning labels showing the impact of climate change on food could cut meat consumption by 7.4%.
🎥 Good watch: Better Bite Ventures’ Michal Klar talks to AgFunder about alt protein funding.
New in Funding
🇨🇦 Canada’s TechBrew Robotics announced its rebrand to 4AG Robotics and raised $17.5 million in equity financing for its autonomous harvesting robot, which it says can significantly alleviate labour challenges in the mushroom industry, since mushrooms grow so quickly. See it in action.
☀️ US-based Aigen Robotics raised $12 million Series A funding, in a round led by Australian VC ReGen Ventures, to scale its fleet of solar-powered autonomous agricultural robots, which have sensors, cameras and software that monitor and manage plants in the field.
💸 Protein Industries Canada is pouring $11.4 million into the advancement of novel food options for Canadian consumers. Its newest project will combine the expertise of New School Foods, Liven Proteins, and NuWave Research to commercialise a plant-based whole-muscle salmon product, described as a category first.
🌾 French biotech Toopi Organics has been awarded €8.4 million from Europe’s flagship innovation program, the EIC Accelerator. The startup develops plant fertilisers derived from the fermentation of human urine, which it collects using waterless urinals in motorway rest areas, theme parks, music festivals and agricultural events.
🧬 Canadian startup Fody Food, which produces low-FODMAP pantry staples for those with gut sensitivities, closed its Series B funding round. It will use the funds to support its US expansion plans.
➡ Head this way for a round up of all 12 funding rounds including the ‘Beyond Meat of carbs’ and the startup saving 1M bottles from landfill.
New in Startups
🏭 Germany’s MicroHarvest launched a pilot plant in Lisbon, enabling it to produce single-cell protein samples through biomass fermentation, and scale to one ton/day production at “record speed”.
🇺🇸 Californian food tech Yali Bio unveiled its new solid dairy fat alternative, made via precision fermentation, during the MISTA Growth Hack event in San Francisco this week.
🍫 US-based functional food brand Amia launched a line of migraine-friendly snack bars, made with a blend of gluten-free oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax and pepita seeds, and free from common migraine-triggering ingredients like soy, nuts, dairy, cocoa and gluten.
🇵🇱 Polish company Fresh Inset is “turning ordinary packaging into a smart tool” with its Vidre+ technology stickers, which are a delivery system that provides 1-MCP [1-Methylcyclopropene] freshness protection to fruits, vegetables and even flower, extending their shelf life and reducing waste.
🤝 German biotech BIOWEG is partnering with Bayer to develop and test sustainable formulation materials for seed coatings and the encapsulation of bio-based and biodegradable controlled-release plant protection products. Here’s why it matters.
💡Opinion: Why VCs should be actively discouraging portfolio companies from building out private lab space unless they've raised significant capital in a Series B round.
🇮🇹 The Italian government has passed a bill banning the production and marketing of cultivated meat in the country, and signed another bill preventing the use of meat-related terms like ‘salami’ or ‘steak’ for plant-based meat alternatives.
🇨🇦 Protein Powered Farms, which owns and operates Canada’s largest plant protein extraction facility, has acquired Lovingly Made Ingredients, a subsidiary of UK plant-based meat brand Meatless Farm which operates an extrusion facility for plant-based products.
🍙 French algae innovator ZALG launched crispy seaweed sticks, made with locally-grown seaweed and macroalgae.
✂️ UK-based vegan meat producer THIS launched a new and improved version of its plant-based chicken pieces, cutting the ingredients list by half and removing various additives.
🤖 Chipotle founder Steve Ells is opening a new fast-casual meatless restaurant concept, Kernel, which will use robot chefs in spaces of around 1,000 sq ft or less to make to-go food orders, and which will reduce food waste by design. Is it the future of dining?
🍦 Unilever has granted a free non-exclusive license to the ice cream industry for 12 reformulation patents, enabling manufacturers to reformulate products to remain stable at a warmer freezer temperature of -12°C, instead of the current standard of -18°C, a move which should lead to more energy-efficient freezer cabinets on a global scale. Here’s how it can tackle emissions.
🥗 PepsiCo announced a new nutrition initiative, aiming to reduce sodium in at least 75% of its products to meet or be below category sodium targets by 2030, and to deliver important sources of nutrition with more diverse ingredients, as part of its PepsiCo Positive or (pep+) program.
🤝 AB InBev is partnering with global sustainability solution provider South Pole to establish a renewable electricity group buying initiative, as part of its efforts to support decarbonisation within its value chain.
🛍 Discount grocer Lidl UK has reduced its food waste by almost half (43%) since 2016, and remains on track to hit its 50% reduction target by 2030.
💰 Mars has acquired British premium confectionery brand Hotel Chocolat for £534 million, and will support its international expansion plans by streamlining manufacturing, distribution and logistical intricacies.
🥔 Crisp giant Walkers has teamed up with Pizza Hut to create a limited-edition ridged crisp-shaped pizza, topped with crisps (of course).
🍫 New York City bakery chain Magnolia Bakery is joining forces with cannabis producer Green Thumb Industries to debut THC-infused chocolate bars in Banana Pudding and Red Velvet flavours.
HackTrends: Heat pumps
🔎 Discover in the full HackTrends Report:
- 2x case studies (Gradient, DREM)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 20 startups advancing heat pump technologies
Find out how heat pumps are rapidly becoming smarter, more efficient, and accessible - especially given the innovations and initiatives to reduce the cost for consumers.
They’re going to change the way we heat our homes - controlling the indoor climate and improving the effects on the planet’s climate in the process. of growth, particularly in North America and Europe, but scaling up and convincing governments to ease regulation remain a challenge.
From the Community
🔥 Get hired in FoodTech:
Libre Foods (Spain) are hiring a Bioprocess Engineer
KOA (Switzerland) are recruiting for a Marketing Intern
Good Food Institute are looking for a Prospect Research Manager
👋 Join us at a Meetup next in Kigali, London, Melbourne, Mexico, Paris, San Juan, Vienna, Zurich. Sign up for free here.
💡 No Evil Foods’ Co-Founder shares her thoughts on how to create a successful plant-based business.
🐈 A cat-astrophe: A cat has a longer attention span than the average investor.
💸 Good read: How to approach an investor if you’re doing it for the first time.
🎸 Proof: Why the consumer isn’t always right.
👹 Just for fun: Watching a portfolio startup spend its seed funding.
Have a great weekend ahead ☀️ 🍂
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Until next time - Stay Hungry