🥓 ChatGPT creator backs cultivated

PLUS: 150+ OceanTech Founders to know, Infarm quits Europe, 12 hottest funding rounds from the week

Marine ecosystems are under threat from pollution, overfishing and man-made disruption. And the ocean plays a critical role to mitigate climate change.

So for yesterday’s World Ocean Day we celebrated the founders working to regenerate, restore, conserve and clean up our ocean.

Check out these 150 founders who are turning the tide with impactful technologies in:

🌿 Sustainable seaweed farming
🐟 Whole cut seafood alternatives
🤖 Real-time analytics and robotics
🎣 Sustainable fish farming and feed
🌊 Biodegradable alternatives to plastic
🪸 Marine construction and conservation

This week in Food:

  • 58,000 tons of food waste

  • Green ammonia on demand

  • Edible 3D sugar sculpting pen

The Digest

📈 What’s up? Researchers at TU Delft and the Swiss technical university EPFL have used ChatGPT to design a robot gripper for harvesting tomatoes. Next up: Skynet.

📉 What’s down? Vertical farming company Infarm, once the largest in Europe, is quitting the continent altogether, and says it plans instead to expand into the Middle East, where it is “better suited to indoor farming”.

📉 Mycelium meat maker Meati Foods has laid off 5% of its workforce, but says it remains “as bullish as ever” about its future prospects.

❎ Amir Weitmann at Champel Capital explains why investors often say no to entrepreneurs.

💡Good Read: Inc 42’s roundup of why impact investing is so important in emerging markets is worth a read.

New in Funding

🍄 Leading mycelium technology company Ecovative Design LLC secured $30 million Series E funding. It will use half to scale its Forager business into a world-class supplier of sustainable textile and foam products, and the other $15 million is being reinvested into its subsidiary MyForest Foods, which makes whole-cut bacon alternatives from mycelium and has just appointed a new CEO, food industry veteran Greg Shewchuk.

🥩 British cultivated meat startup Uncommon, formerly Higher Steaks, raised $30 million Series A funding, marking one of the largest rounds in the European cell-based sector. The startup is harnessing RNA technology to produce cultivated bacon and pork belly, and will use the funds to build a pilot facility. Here’s the TL;DR.

☕️ The Green Coffee Company, which claims it is “Colombia’s largest coffee producer,” secured $25 million Series C funding and expects to grow its revenue to $27 million in the next year, up from $10 million last year and $1 million in 2021.

🇹🇷 Turkish waste management company Fazla secured $6 million at a valuation of $43 million, having already successfully saved over 58,000 tons of food from being wasted and prevented 83,000 tons of carbon emissions.

💚 Nium, based in the UK, secured $3 million in a seed funding round led by AgFunder to develop its “Green Ammonia on Demand” system. Its tech enables onsite synthesis of ammonia, commonly used in fertilisers, to cut costs and carbon emissions.

💰 Check out all 12 latest funding rounds including the 3 female-founded startups backed by a UK-based VC and the startup Quorn Foods made a minority investment in.

3D Sugar Pens

🍭 Wobbleworks unveiled the ChefDoodler, an innovative device which lets you draw with sugar to decorate baked goods or make stand-alone three-dimensional creations.

🧈 Israeli startup Gavan Technologies has developed FaTRIX, a range of alternative protein-based fat substitutes designed to replace butter and other commonly used fats in bakery products.

Alt Protein

🥓 Unilever’s ​​The Vegetarian Butcher unveiled its plant-based bacon, “NoBacon 2.0”, which it says comprises a new patented fat tissue technology that mimics the texture, oil release and translucency of real bacon. Here’s what happened when the photographers came.

🥯 Oatly Group AB is launching Oatly Creamy Oat Spread, a cream cheese alternative, in plain and chive and onion flavours. They’re expected to roll out to retailers later this year.

🏭 Spanish company BioTech Foods has begun construction of “the world’s largest cultivated meat plant”, capable of producing more than 1,000 metric tons of cultivated beef per year, set to open by mid-2024.

Big Food

🌮 Taco Bell has finally developed its first fully vegan menu item, the Vegan Crunchwrap, which features its proprietary plant-based beef and cheese.

🥖 Subway is planning a significant expansion in China, having signed what it says is the largest master franchise agreement in its history and one of the largest in the entire QSR industry with Shanghai Fu-Rui-Shi Corporate Development Co., Ltd. to open approximately 4,000 Subway restaurants in China over the next 20 years.

🥣 Cereal and breakfast company Seven Sundays has joined forces with SunOpta to develop a cereal made from upcycled oat protein leftover from oat milk production.

🍪 Oreo flavours of chicken Wing, Wasabi and Jelly Donut are earning Oreo Millions of dollars. Even though nobody is buying them. Find out how.

🍕 Papa John’s International, Inc. has acquired 91 restaurant locations across London and other parts of the UK, which were previously operated by the M25 division of Drake Food Service International, in a bid to reposition its UK portfolio.

Trends: Seaweed Packaging

Seaweed is compostable, biodegradable and 100% natural - which is why alt packaging companies in their droves are turning to the power of this sea vegetable to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics.

🔎 Discover more in the full FoodHack+ Report:
- 2x case studies (FlexSea, B’ZEOS)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 25 companies working seaweed packaging

From the Community

💡Find your dream job in FoodTech:

🏆 Here are the 10 finalists of the first Haagen Dazs Startup Innovation Challenge.

👋 Meet your local community in Singapore (9th June), Boston (13th June), Mexico City (21st June), Ljubljana (June 26th), Lisbon (July 4th)

🍄 Apply today for the Future is Fungi Awards, honouring and uncovering cutting-edge science using fungi for environmental solutions.

🇺🇸 Do you live in (or have you recently visited) one of the most food-forward cities in the US?

♟ Just for fun: How it feels to run a startup

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Curated by Nicola and Laura 

Until next time - Stay Hungry