🥬 CRISPR summer salads

PLUS: Why Beyond Meat is being sued by investors, who won Givaudan's Innovation Task Force Prize, a VCs playbook on due diligence

The HackSummit was already one week ago, but thanks to all your posts we can relive the highlights. And we’ll share a full recap next week.

I’ve been re-fuelled by your positive energy and inspired by your determination to scale, fund and accelerate the most critical technologies in Food and Climate. And can’t wait to hear about the partnerships that began in Lausanne.

An update we can already share: Givaudan announced a winner and runner up of their Innovation Task Force Prize. Here’s who they chose and why.

Check out the HackSummit highlights in 60 seconds 👆

This week in Food:

  • Milk-free, cocoa-free ‘milk’ chocolate

  • Funds for leaf-level farming platform

  • 8 free Meetups taking place near you

The Digest

📈 What’s up? Data from the Organic Trade Association shows that organic food sales in the US reached $61.7 billion in 2022, up 4% year-on-year despite inflation, supply chain disruption, and labour shortage.

📉 What’s down? Californian startup Cana, which was building an appliance to create and customise any beverage, has shut down, having been unable to raise any more funding despite having a working prototype and brand partners in place.

📖 Leading impact investor Lever VC has released its internal playbook for benchmarking the scientific progress of cultivated meat and cell-based dairy startups, designed to support investors’ due diligence with technical expertise.

🍭 The World Health Organization has released a new guideline that recommends against the use of non-sugar sweeteners to lose weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, and suggests that long-term use may potentially have undesirable effects.

New in Funding

🍖 California-based Prime Roots secured $30 million Series B funding, in a round featuring Monde Nissin and SOSV/IndieBio, for its deli-style meat alternatives, made with koji mycelium.

🌾 UK-based Resurrect Bio closed a £1.61 million seed round. It uses gene editing to strengthen crop immune systems and make them more resistant to disease, and will use the funds to further develop its underlying disease resistance trait-discovery platform.

🇳🇬 Nigerian cold-chain startup Figorr raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Atlantica Ventures. Its founder was motivated by post-harvest losses from his fresh agro-produce venture, and developed IoT-powered solutions that provide businesses with key data such as location, humidity and temperature of highly perishable products, helping to reduce losses.

🌱 US- and Germany-based startup ingarden raised €500,000 for its hydroponic technology, which enables the cultivation of fresh, nutrient-rich microgreens at home in just seven days.

🍃 Proofminder, based in Hungary, secured €400,000 from Impact Ventures. Its leaf-level farming platform is designed to offer micro-level actionable insights on every leaf and plant, providing growers with the information they need to improve their yield with fewer resources.

🔦 Check out the 9 funding rounds from this week including 2 investments from EIT Food which went to startups in the HackSummit spotlight last week.

AI for AgTech

🚀 Former Impossible Foods CFO David Lee has launched a new B2B agtech startup, Inevitable Tech, to be “the AI for agtech”. Its proprietary hardware-software grow system uses a combination of AI, automation, and plant sciences to help growers manage plant health and overall operations.

🥃 Australian startup Reactory’s tech can mature spirits much more quickly than traditional methods, while maintaining product quality. Its stainless steel reactors carefully control temperature and pressure to age the spirit quickly and precisely, and the end results hold up in blind taste tests.

🥬 Pairwise’s first gene-edited greens, a blend of purple and green mustard greens under the brand name Conscious Greens, have officially launched into US foodservice, marking the first food product launched in the US to be developed with CRISPR technology.

🍫 Portfolio Co: UK-based WNWN Food Labs has developed milk-free, cocoa-free “milk” chocolate. Having tasted it at the HackSummit, I confirm it’s 👌.

🌱 Plenty has opened what it says is the world’s most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm in California, designed to grow up to 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens annually thanks to its 3D vertical architecture that can yield up to 350 times the yield per acre of a conventional farm.

🍼 EXOSOMM, based in Israel, has developed an innovative technology that upcycles byproducts of the traditional cheese making process to isolate exosomes, which are natural elements of breastmilk that play an important role in the healthy development of the immune system.

Alt Protein

🍗 TiNDLE unveiled its first whole-cut plant-based chicken product, TrueCut, which has what it says is the same taste, texture, and experience as whole-cut meat thanks to its latest production technology.

👩‍⚖️ Beyond Meat is being sued by investors who claim that it misled them about its manufacturing capacity and growth outlook, which “artificially inflated the price of Beyond Meat stock and operated as a fraud or deceit”.

🇮🇱 Israel’s Aleph Farms has partnered with bioproduction company Enzymit to develop insulin substituents which have the potential to reduce the cost and development time for producing cultivated meat at scale.

🍕Californian startup New Culture is launching its animal-free mozzarella, made via precision fermentation into renowned LA restaurant Pizzeria Mozza, run by Chef Nancy Silverton.

Big Food

🍻 Constellation Brands, Inc., parent company to alcohol brands such as Corona, has acquired a minority stake in zero-proof sparkling beverage brand TÖST to “optimise its higher-end portfolio” and break into a new market segment.

🏭 ADM is partnering with Air Protein to commercialise food products made out of thin air. The strategic agreement includes a jointly built and operated commercial-scale Air Protein plant that will “support a secure and sustainable food system for the future”.

🤝 Bunge and Nutrien Ag Solutions announced a strategic agreement to support US farmers in their transition to sustainable agriculture, including practices such as cover crops, reduced tillage, nutrient management and responsible pesticide use.

🥭 Kraft Heinz unveiled its customisable and IoT-enabled digital sauce dispenser, Heinz Remix, which offers over 200 personalised sauce combinations. Mango Ranch, anyone?

Trend Report: Cell Lines

Finding the right animal cells is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. If scientists choose the wrong cells, the resulting lab-grown meat will turn out inedible. And even if the lab does hit on the right cells, producing these at the scale needed to produce enough meat to run a business around is an even trickier challenge.

🔎 Discover in the full FoodHack+ Report:
- 2x case studies (Roslin Tech, Opo Bio)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 15 companies on the hunt for cell lines

From the Community

💡Get a (new) job in FoodTech:

Check out the full jobs board here

👋 Enjoyed the HackSummit? Let’s meet again at a local FoodHack Meetup in Lisbon (23rd May), Reykjavik (May 25th), Bologna (25th May), Madrid (29th May), Zurich (30th May), New York (8th June), Boston (13th June) and Mexico City (21st June).

⏳ Today’s the last day for alt protein founders in APAC to apply for $50K investment from Better Bite Ventures

🕺🏻 Fundraising in 2023

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Curated by Nicola and Laura 

Until next time - Stay Hungry