A look back at Food Tech Matters. 

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2 July 2019 See the latest Tech Talk newsletter

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Industry news

Mung bean-based egg substitute debuts in Chinese market
Vegan mung bean-based “eggs” by US food tech startup JUST Inc. (previously known as Hampton Creek) have launched in China, following rollouts in the North American and European markets. The plant-based product was innovated to “scramble and taste just like conventional eggs,” while yielding a lower environmental impact.

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Source: Food ingredients First

Food robotics market to reach $3.1 billion by 2025

The advancement in the robotic systems for food industry has not only improved the productivity, but also the food quality standards. The use of robots for various applications like palletizing, processing, pick and place, packaging etc. has proven the significance of robotics in food industry. The rising cost of human labor has relatively fueled the growth for robotics in the food industry. With the advancement in technology, the launch of collaborative robots and its adoption in the food industry has propelled the market for robotics in the food industry. Owing to this, the demand for food robotics is also on the rise.

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Source:  Meticulous Research

‘Worlds first’ SMS food ordering system launches

Food and drink start-up Matcha Works has launched what it believes is the world’s first SMS ordering system for food products. The company launched the new technology to allow customers to register via the website then order Matcha via a text message.  To demonstrate how the new tech works, co-founders Harvey Hodd and Rory Jeffries have also launched the ‘world’s first’ Text to Try vending machine, in which consumers text the machine, choose their flavour then it dispenses their Matcha for free.

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Source: Business Cloud

Ikea works on new plant-based meatballs

IKEA are working on a vegetarian version of their famous Swedish meatballs that look and taste just like the classic dish. The popular flat pack furniture company already launched veggie balls made from chickpeas, carrots, peas, peppers, sweetcorn and kale back in 2015.  But now the Scandi retailer is eyeing up the growing meat alternative market and plans to serve up meals that are nearly identical to the original – just without any animal products. 

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Source: Daily Mail

Clara Foods secures series B funding

Clara Foods has announced its Series B financing (amount undisclosed), led by global ingredient solutions leader Ingredion. A trailblazer in the food technology space, Clara Foods is a market leader in engineering, manufacturing and formulating animal-free, animal protein ingredients . The announcement comes after four years of Clara Foods quietly developing its recombinant animal protein production platform and raising a $15 million Series A from several high-profile agtech and life science investors.

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Source: Forbes

Beyond Meat files for initial public offering

Beyond Meat, the company created by vegan Ethan Brown in 2009, is planning to go public to raise the money it needs to grow its line of plant-based meats.  The maker of the Beyond Burger, which is sold at Whole Foods  and restaurant chain TGIF among others, set terms for the deal on Monday, saying in a regulatory filing that it plans to offer 8.75 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each. The company would raise $183.8 million at the top of that range and be valued at $1.21 billion. It has applied to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “BYND”.

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Source:  Market Watch


Mondelez partners with Israeli food tech incubator

US snacking giant Mondelez International is partnering with Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen as part of an internal venture to expand global opportunities in snacks.  Mondelez said today (25 April) it has formed a collaboration agreement under its SnackFutures programme launched last year with an objective to focus on “venturing with start-up entrepreneurs to seed new businesses”.  The Nasdaq-listed US firm noted how the tie-up will give it “unparalleled access and visibility to one of the world’s leading food-tech ecosystems”, while the Cadbury chocolate brand owner will provide its “technological and commercial expertise” to entrepreneurs from The Kitchen. 

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Source:  Just Food

Nestle launches food and beverage accelerator

Nestlé has launched a new research and development (R&D) accelerator programme, as the company aims to accelerate the development of innovative new products and systems.

Selected Nestlé scientists, students and start-ups will be able to use dedicated ‘hot desks’ at the Nestlé R&D Accelerator, and will be given access to Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens, bench-scale and pilot-scale equipment.

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Source: Food & Beverage Media

Innovation and geographical expansion to boost Danone’s plant-based businesses

French dairy giant Danone’s plant-based business, which includes the Alpro brand in Europe, expects to accelerate growth trends, propelled by innovation and expansion into new markets.

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Source: Food Navigator

The first gene edited food is now being served

A new gene-edited soybean oil has just hit the market, and it was designed with consumers in mind. Minnesota-based Calyxt, Inc. announced the first commercial sale of the product on March 1, touting its new high oleic oil as a healthier alternative to commodity soybean oils that contain trans fats.

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Source: Forbes

Tel Aviv based See Tree secures $11.5m in funding

SeeTree, a Tel Aviv-based startup that uses drones and artificial intelligence to bring precision agriculture to their groves, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A funding round led by Hanaco Ventures, with participation from previous investors Canaan Partners Israel, Uri Levine and his investors group, iAngel and Mindset. This brings the company’s total funding to $15 million.

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Source: Tech Crunch

Food tech start-up investment data: Online platforms and meal kits attract cash in Q1

FoodNavigator, in partnership with investment data and analysis provider Tracxn, brings you a quarterly round-up of the latest wheelings and dealings in the EMEA food tech start-up space.

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Source: Food Navigator

Farm to table delivery service raises $25m

GrubMarket, a kind of on-demand farmer’s market that will deliver goods right to your door, announced it has raised $25 million in an oversubscribed C1 round (hat tip: TechCrunch). The round — originally meant to be $15 million — was led by WI Harper Group and Digital Garage, with participation from Evolv Ventures, Arancia International Inc., University Growth Fund, and CentreGold Capital. Existing investors also participated: ACE & Company, GGV Capital, Fusion Fund, Bascom Ventures. This latest round brings GrubMarket’s total funding to $89.1 million.

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Source: The spoon

Bühler reveals tech to combat Salmonella and E. Coli

Hannover (Germany) April 1, 2019 – At the Microsoft booth at the Hannover Messe, Bühler is introducing leading-edge technologies to increase food safety standards. Laatu is a breakthrough technology to reduce microbial contamination in dry goods, and Tubex Pro, a smart, self-optimizing scale system. These solutions are connected to the Bühler Insights IoT platform to ensure a new degree of traceability and transparency along the food value chain.

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Agfunder publishes AgriFood Tech Report

AgriFood Tech startups, those innovating all the way from farm-to-fork, raised $16.9 billion in 2018, a 43% year-over-year increase, in-line with the overall VC market globally. In contrast to all VC industries there was an 11% increase in deal activity, particularly at the seed stage where levels have contracted in other industries. While the US still dominates the sector, China, India and Brazil contributed some of the year’s largest deals.

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Source: Agfunder

Bill Gates invests $306 million into agriculture

DAVOS, Switzerland — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a $306 million package of agricultural development grants designed to boost the yields and incomes of millions of small farmers in Africa and other parts of the developing world so they can lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty.

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Source: Bill Gates Foundation

Mathys & Squire talks IP and patents for the food industry

Food and drink companies face a multitude of challenges in their quest to attract and retain customers. In the search for a competitive edge, companies invest heavily in research and innovation in order to produce items with the requisite taste, mouthfeel, appearance and nutritional value whilst simultaneously controlling production costs.

Mathys & Squire associate Laura Clews provides a closer look at the world of patents and intellectual property rights.

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Vegan start-up secures $30 million investment

Chilean vegan startup NotCo has secured a $30 million investment from the office of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.

The funding comes by way of the Craftory, a new fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, and Bezos Expeditions.

“We were looking for the perfect first investment since the creation of The Craftory last summer,” Sceti said in a statement. “NotCco are at the beginning of their journey, and can become a global brand.”

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Source: Live Kindly

Starbucks invests 100m into food start-up venture

Starbucks announced it will invest $100 million in Valor Siren Ventures, a new venture fund from Valor Equity Partners. Valor Siren Ventures will serve as an incubator for food and retail tech startups. According to a press release, the investment is the first of its kind for Starbucks.

The incubator will focus on companies developing technologies and products related to food and retail. Valor Equity Partners counts Eatsa, Fooda, and Wow Bao among its portfolio companies, which is to say it’s had its hands in foodtech for some time now.

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Winnow raises further $7.4m for smart kitchen tech

Winnow, the U.K. startup that has developed smart kitchen tech to help commercial kitchens reduce food waste, continues to be on a roll. It counts the likes of IKEA, Compass Group, and AccorHotels as customers, and estimates its 600-plus clients are saving 4,300 tonnes of food waste annually through the use of the Winnow system.

To support this growth, the company is disclosing it has raised $7.4 million in further funding, in a round co-led by Circularity Capital, and existing backers Mustard Seed, and D-Ax. It follows a $3.3 million Series A round in January 2016.

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Source:  Tech Crunch

Nestle launches system technology hub in China

Food and beverage giant Nestlé is looking to increase its capacity to innovate in China by opening a new research and development (R&D) centre in Beijing and a system technology hub in Shenzhen. 

The Switzerland-based group said the R&D centre will enable it to “accelerate trend-based innovation in China to meet fast-changing consumer demand”, while the system hub will “strengthen collaboration with Chinese partners and suppliers in the area of beverage systems.

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Source: Just-Food

WeWork to launch food tech accelerator

Named WeWork Food Labs, the project will offer a food-centric co-working space and innovation lab for food technology startups.  Additionally, it will also contribute $1mn in equity investments to a range of startups. On its website, WeWork Labs said the accelerator will “support early-stage innovators across the food ecosystem, including companies working in AI, robotics, kitchen appliances, supply chain, ag tech, distribution software, consumer goods, hospitality, and beyond.”

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Source: Gigabit Magazine

FDA approves GM salmon farm in United States

The only genetically modified animal approved by the FDA to be sold as food to humans is about to swim onto shelves in the United States. After years of debate from US policymakers laying the framework for regulations on bioengineered food, the proper label design expectations have been determined. The FDA announced Friday the rescinding of an import alert which had prevented aquaculture company AquaBounty Technologies from importing the genetically engineered (GE) salmon eggs, according to the Associated Press. The company required the GE salmon roe in order to begin growing genetically modified salmon.

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Source: Futurism.com


Are CBD infused packaged foods to come?

Cannabis is poised to disrupt virtually every consumer industry. Whilst the total global market for cannabis, both legal and illegal, stands at USD150 billion today, Euromonitor expects the legal market to grow to 77% of total sales, at USD166 billion in 2025. Within the next decade, some form of cannabis will be a part of consumers’ daily routines, either as a functional ingredient in foods, beverages and beauty or as a wellness mood enhancer in health. But what is it? Where is it? What industries will be most impacted?  Euromonitor white paper that explores the effects this ingredient will have on FMCGs. 

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Source:  Euromonitor

EIT to invest 56.4m into AgriFood projects

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food has announced today that in 2019 it will be investing €56.4m into innovative projects contributing to its mission of transforming the agrifood system.

In its work EIT Food focuses on six strategic objectives to help guide their responses to the key demographic, environmental and health challenges threatening the future of people and the planet, via the transformation of the food system.

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Source EIT Food

AgFunder publishes Agrifood Tech Report

In 2018, agrifood tech investment reached $16.9 billion across 1442 deals, that’s a 43% year-over-year increase in funding volume, and a 10.5% growth in the number of deals. This followed an increase in seed stage activity and a growth in the size of later stage deals. Investment in startups upstream, closer to the farmer, grew 44% in the fastest growth rate on record.

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Source AgFunder

Investors develop a taste for radical thinking on food

Agriculture is responsible for a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimates putting its share as high as 30 per cent. One company has found an unusual way of addressing the problem: California-based Kiverdi is turning carbon dioxide into oils, proteins and other bio-based products.

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Source FT.com

Beneo invests 4.3m into new production plant

Functional ingredients manufacturer, Beneo, has invested €4.3 million into a new production plant for vegetal protein in Wanze, Belgium. The move comes following growing demand for plant-based proteins worldwide as consumer interest in meat-free alternatives continues to rise.

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Source: Food & Drink Technology

Zomato to raise $62.5m in funding

Online restaurant discovery and food delivery platform Zomato has said it is raising $62.5 million (about Rs 441 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Naspers-backed German food-tech major Delivery Hero.   The capital infusion is part of Zomato’s ongoing Series I round, and is likely to value the Gurgaon-headquartered company at about $2 billion. Also participating in the round are Chinese investors Shunwei Capital and Saturn Shine.

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Source: Economic Times

Genetics companies partner to improve hemp

Genetics company California Hemp Corporation and crop improvement startup Benson Hill Biosystems have entered into a new sponsored research partnership with UC Davis to breed improved cultivars of industrial hemp that are well-suited for Central California and similar climates.

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IMB’s annual list of top food technologies

IBM’s annual 5 in 5 list is here, where the company outlines five key technologies that it believes will radically reshape the world in the next five years. This time the focus is on the food supply chain, which is already stressed by a growing population and climate change and will no doubt get worse. All five technologies in this year’s list are designed to fix problems in every step of that process, from seed to your plate.

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Source: New Atlas

Will food technology change farming as we know it?

It is meat of all kinds produced from ranches and small farm producers like Crowd Cow to plant-based and cell-based meats like Meatable and Moving Mountains in the UK to Beyond Meat. And, growing food movement has brought new kinds of VCs and investors to the table such as Quadia Fund which focuses on funding for regenerative economy/sustainability/Foodtech startups in Switzerland and Paris-based Five Season Ventures that invests heavily in Foodtech. In 2018, Five Seasons Ventures released the State of European Food Tech to look at the growth of the market across Europe.

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Source: Withers Worldwide

Big Food and Non-Profits Are Promoting Organic Conversion, So Why Aren’t There More Organic-Focused Technologies?

Organic grain production in the US is not growing fast enough, according to a new report from the US Organic Grain Collaboration in partnership with the Organic Trade Association.

The amount of US farmland devoted to the production of organic corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and barley grew by over 20% from 626,000 acres to 765,000 between 2008 and 2016. During roughly the same timeframe, however, the US organic livestock products industry nearly tripled in size from $1.2 billion in sales to $3.3 billion.

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Source: Agfunder 

Healthy microbiome from food processing waste

New research from Maastricht University (UM) has uncovered a novel use for waste from the food processing industry: boosting the microbiome. Using the TNO in vitro model of the colon (TIM-2), research by Carlota Bussolo de Souza has shown that fermenting fibre from fruit and vegetable peel can help improve the gut flora of people with obesity.

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Arabella Advisors on food system opportunities

Arabella Advisors talks investment in technologies that support transparency, supply chain innovation and connect eaters to the producers of their food.

“Many of our clients dedicate a tremendous amount of attention, effort and resources to making sure our food systems are healthy and sustainable – and biodiversity is a meaningful component of that. For example, some of our projects have involved supporting sustainable biofertilizer development, clean-meat products and policy initiatives that advance a healthy more biodiverse planet”.

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60 AgriFood tech start-ups to watch

From machine vision technology to robots that seed and care for individual plants, take a look at the innovators nominated for the Agfunder Innovation Awards.

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Unilever snaps up healthy snack brand Graze

Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever has acquired British healthy snacking brand Graze from Washington-based buyout group Carlyle, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. The company did not disclose how much it paid but a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said Unilever paid below £150m for the business*. The sum is a sharp discount for the £300m Carlyle had expected for the business. But the person added: “It was a very competitive process.” The consumer goods giant beat bids from rivals including Kellogg’s and PepsiCo, which had expressed interest in the business. 
Read the full article

Source: FT

“The time for food tech is now”, says VC investor

Plant-based alternatives to animal proteins and crop gene editing tools are among the most promising areas for food technology investment right now, but the highly exciting field of cellular agriculture may be just too far down the horizon for traditional venture capital investors. This is according to Niccolo Manzoni, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Five Seasons Ventures, a Paris-based venture capital firm focusing on the food and agricultural technology space. He also singled out pet food and personalized nutrition as platforms that the investment company, with a fund size of more than €75 million, is looking towards.
Read the full article.                                                                            

Source: Food Ingredients First

UPM Raflatac completes pilot for e-commerce smart label solution

UPM Raflatac has completed the first pilot of its new smart label solution for e-commerce that uses internet of packaging technology to log and share information about packages during the delivery process.

Called RafMore for e-commerce, the label is said to add transparency, reduce inefficiencies and waste, and improve the user experience for e-retailers, logistics providers and consumers.
Read the full article

Source: Foodbev Media


Tech investors are dumping millions each year into food start-ups, but their appetites are changing

Thousands of gadgets and gizmos were unveiled at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but the product taking top marks wasn’t made of silicon or running on electricity.  It was a hamburger.  It turns out, the win is an apt metaphor for the growing presence of food companies in the tech space. Impossible Foods, creator of the meatless burger that Digital Trends named the Top Tech of CES 2019, debuted its second-generation recipe alongside considerably more “techie” products.
Read the full article

Source: CNBC

The Agtech VC View: European Agriculture 2019

What does 2019 hold for the agtech sector? This was my question to Richard Smith, Managing Partner at Earth Capital UK, who looks at the fields of agriculture and energy through a sustainability lens. Richard is a mentor for the SME Leaders Programme at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub, is a Chartered Engineer, and has a background in industrial management, private equity transactions and financial advisory services.
Read the full article

Source: Forbes

Alchemy Foodtech launches Singapore lab & announces partnerships with food firms

Singaporean start-up Alchemy Foodtech has moved its proprietary glycaemic index-lowering technology a step further with the opening of a dedicated laboratory, as well as new pilot partnerships with food manufacturers.

Read the full article

Source: Food Navigator Asia


Crop Enhancement Firm Secures Funding

Cavallo Ventures invests in US-based firm Crop Enhancement, innovator of sustainable agrochemical products for enhancing crop yields.  With the investment, Cavallo aims to accelerate the development of Crop Enhancement’s breakthrough crop protection technology in the US, particularly for the production of high-value fruit and vegetable crops.

Read the full article

Source: Foodbev Media

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Developed by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, the report identifies emerging technology innovations that have the potential to drive rapid progress in the sustainability, inclusivity, efficiency and health impacts of food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

View the report

Source:  World Economic Forum

SIG creates control solution for filling plants

Plant 360 Controller is the new digital monitoring and control solution to help food and beverage manufacturers optimise the production process. SIG Plant 360 Controller is a modular solution that can be scaled to suit a manufacturer’s needs. It features open software that’s compatible with equipment and machinery from any supplier.

Read the full article

Source: Food & Drink Technology

Nestle accelerates action to tackle plastic waste

Last year, Nestlé committed to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, with a particular focus on avoiding plastic-waste, and has now laid out its plans to achieve it.  Nestlé, who owns more than 2,000 brands, has pledged to phase out all plastics that are not recyclable or are hard to recycle for all its products worldwide between 2020 and 2025. 

Read the full article

Source: Food and Drink Technology

Top food technology trends you will see in 2019

From ghost restaurants filled with robots to smart ovens that can read recipes, food technology will continue to evolve in 2019. Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be an important part of the industry next year. In addition, consumers will be able to influence food technology trends through their preferences and shopping habits.

Read the full article
Source: Forbes


AeroFarms on using tech to diversify crops

Below, I speak with AeroFarms co-founder and CMO Marc Oshima about how the indoor agriculture company is using growing technologies, data science, machine vision, machine learning and IoT technologies to grow a diverse variety of crops. Using their patented indoor vertical farming technology, Aerofarms has grown over 700 different crops, including 250 different leafy greens, by replicating their ideal environment. 

Read the full article

Source:  Food Tech Connect

A world without slaughter? Inside the “clean” meat revolution

The new era of cultured meat production is well and truly underway and a world without slaughter could be the future. Lab-grown meat is about more than just saving animals’ lives, although animal welfare and ethics are strong drivers for shifting consumer preferences. The clean meat revolution represents a seismic technological shift for humanity, with strong potential sustainability messages.

Read the full article

Source:  Food Ingredients First

The State of European Food Tech Report

Are we fully ‘in the know’ when it comes to investment stats, the market potential and the hugely exciting opportunities in the food tech space?  Which VC funds are on the lookout for the next best food tech unicorn and who are the next generation of food tech investors?

Download the full report 

Tea party time for Tetley following six-figure investment in packaging system

Tata Global Beverages has revealed that it has brought its new Tetley fruit tea product line to market, following a six-figure investment in a bespoke secondary packaging machine for its flagship UK plant.

The Tetley brand – which operates across 40 countries worldwide and celebrates its 180th anniversary this year – is now able to pack 2,000 tea bags every minute with the new automated system.

Read the full article

Source:  Food & Drink Technology