🍔 R.I.P to the PLT?

PLUS: 15 new FoodTech funding rounds and funds announced this week

New analysis from Nectar shows that most plant-based products fall short of meat-eaters’ taste expectations, but that blended meat could be a game-changer.

So can blended options help to increase consumer acceptance of meat alternatives, reduce prices and tackle rising demand for meat?

Quorn is one of a rising number of companies who thinks so, as it just announced it is mixing its mycoprotein with conventional meat as part of a new line for foodservice operators.

If these products prove to have more persuasion power than fully plant-based alternatives, expect to see more brands follow.

This week in FoodTech:

 🛵 $665M for speedy groceries
🥜 Dairy-free cashew creamers
🐄 First carbon tax on agriculture

The Digest

Credit: McDonald’s

📉 What’s down? McDonald’s says that its McPlant trial has been unsuccessful in the US, with little demand for healthier options meaning that even salads have been discontinued due to poor sales. Here’s why it didn’t work out.

📈 What’s up? AgFunder has taken over investment management of Zurich-based Blue Horizon’s $100 million growth-stage fund. Catch the TL;DR.

🇩🇰 Denmark is set to introduce the world’s first carbon tax on agriculture, meaning that farmers will need to pay $100 per year for the greenhouse gas emissions from each of their cows. But is it enough?

✂️ The Bezos Earth Fund opened its second Center for Sustainable Protein at Imperial College London, a month after unveiling the first in North Carolina, and is planning to open a third in Southeast Asia soon.

❎ Ohio representative Warren Davidson has introduced the REAL Meat Act of 2024, to prohibit using federal funds for any activity related to cultivated meat, arguing that cultivated meat “poses health risks and threatens the livelihood of traditional meat producers”.

🎥 Tuck in to the highlights of the HackSummit menu in <30 seconds.

New in Funding

Credit: Foray Bioscience

🛵 Speedy grocery delivery company Zepto, based in Mumbai, secured a whopping $665 million, more than doubling its valuation to $3.6 billion. The rapid-delivery model is thriving in India, and Zepto is aiming to expand its network of dark stores to over 700 by March 2025.

🥖 San Francisco-based Hero Bread™ secured $21 million Series B funding to support the expansion of its better-for-you bakery items, made with 0-2g net carbs, 0g sugar, fewer calories and more protein and fibre per serving.

🇦🇺 Australian agtech VC Tenacious Ventures raised $18 million at the first close of its second fund, with which it will support early-stage Australian startups working in agri-food with a positive climate impact. Here’s why their GP didn’t want to celebrate.

💰 The Illinois Advanced Research Center at Singapore received a $14.8 million grant from the city-state’s National Research Foundation to establish the Centre for Precision Fermentation and Sustainability.

🇺🇸 US startup Foray Bioscience raised $3 million in a seed funding round led by ReGen Ventures. Its database-driven platform uses plant cell culture to deliver harvest-free molecules, materials, and seeds, helping to restore the planet’s resources.

🔝 Head this way for a recap on all 15 FoodTech funding rounds from this week including $250M for a food delivery giant, making juice from ‘ugly’ citrus and the DeepTech startup that won $3.3M on a business reality TV show.

New in Startups

Credit: Turtle Tree

🇸🇬 Strive Nutrition has joined forces with Singapore’s TurtleTree to develop an immunity beverage and protein powder made with TurtleTree’s LF+ ingredient, a lactoferrin protein made from precision fermentation, as part of a multi-year partnership.

🧫 US cultivated meat startup UPSIDE FOODS hosted a free, one-night-only pop-up tasting in Miami, ahead of the Florida ban prohibiting the production and sale of cultivated meat on Monday. Here’s what they served. Plus 7 highlights from their CEO and Founder, Uma Valeti’s latest Ted Talk.

Plant Based

Credit: Revyve

🥚 Netherlands-based Revyve unveiled its high-performance, clean-label, yeast protein-based egg replacer, designed to enhance the texture of plant-based burgers.

🌭 Beyond Meat launched the Beyond IV iteration of its sausage lineup, featuring a cleaner ingredient list, less saturated fat, and slightly more protein.

🥜 Elmhurst 1925 launched what it says are the first dairy-free cashew creamers on the market, in four varieties.

Trends: AI for Nature

MRV is now one of the hottest areas of carbon tech, with startups devising ways to measure — and prove the value — of “ecosystem services” through AI, satellite imaging, and remote sensing, among others.

🔎 Discover in the full HackTrends Report:
- 2x case studies (Pivotal, Albedo)
- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of companies using tech to restore nature

Find out more about how applying AI tools to protect nature — even if indirectly, by proving the value of carbon market products — is a literally life-affirming area of green tech.

From the Community

Get hired today:

🌸 Why WFG is the new WFH.

📸 Highlights from 13 recent FoodHack Meetups.

🔦 The ultimate VC List of 2024 launched by Serena.

💰 Back to the basics, a handy explainer on ‘What is Venture Capital'?’

💥 Just for fun: Nothing to see here 

Have a great weekend ahead ☀️
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