The weekly round-up of international food tech news

TECH TALK 19 Feb issue 

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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Source:  Food & Drink Technology

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