This Week in FoodTech: Protein in space, Meati's retail launch and Series C and Skittles in hot water

3 weeks into my time at FoodHack and last night I attended my first ever Meetup. I’ve heard so much about them, so it was time to see them IRL.

In a room with 30 like-minded foodies we listened to the stories from Heura Foods, Plant Futures and Zebra, exchanged notes on what we’re all excited by next and even took part in a live cooking demo.

I headed back home to Brighton, buzzing from the evening's conversations and with a full stomach from the plant-based tastings.

This Week In FoodTech:
  • Meati Foods' $150M Series C
  • A €200 million carbon-neutral brewery
  • Why this exited founder is investing in alt protein

📈 What’s Up: Crop One Holdings and Emirates Flight Catering opened what they claim is “the world’s largest vertical farm” in Dubai this week, with the capability to produce over two million pounds of leafy greens annually.

📉 What's down? Just Eat Takeaway is scaling back its French operations after seeing its market value drop by 84% in just ten months.

✉️ Pope Francis released a letter encouraging young people to consume less meat to help save the environment, and “make strides towards a kinder future”.

🇺🇸 The US FDA is set to review its entire Human Foods program structure for a potential complete overhaul. Could this be the start of commercial cultivated meat in the country?

👀 Good read: This Washington Post article on genetically modified cropsexplains why they’re the foods of a sustainable future. 

💡 Exclusive: Exited founder, Dan MacGowan reveals why he began investing in FoodTech, what's got his interest now and what he's working on next. 

🍄 Something cool: Listen to mushrooms - pretty much exactly how I thought mushrooms would sound.

Protein's Space Mission and Upcycling Seafood Waste

Nature’s Fynd’s Fy vegan fungi protein bioreactor is now in orbit aboard NASA’s SpaceX-25, to help develop new ways to provide sustainable protein for space exploration.

Robotics startup Tortoise is partnering with Sodexo to bring its mobile smart store (aka a vending machine full of burritos and Gaterade on wheels) to Comic-Con this year.

New York-based upcycling startup Re-Nuble is partnering with California’s CruzFoam to repurpose waste from seafood operations into its farm-nutrient production cycle.

Singapore’s Umami Meats is joining forces with Israel’s Meatech 3D to bring cell-based seafood to the city-state, incorporating Meatech’s 3D printing capabilities into its technology platform to widen its product offer.

🛒 Meati Foods’ Eat Meati mycelium-based chicken and steak made its retail debut this week at Sprouts Farmers Market, and the startup is further scaling its production.

🇮🇳 The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has introduced its first-ever production and labelling regulations for vegan foods, applicable for both homegrown and imported products.

🍤 The Plant Based Seafood Co. launched its new Mind Blown vegan crab cakes, seasoned with traditional crab cake flavours like celery and onion, and coated with panko breadcrumbs.

🌭 Meatable, based in Holland, unveiled its cultivated pork sausages this week, and is working towards commercialisation within the next three years.

🍗 Vegan poultry brand Skinny Butcher’s “Stranger Things” plant-based nuggets are the top-sellingplant-based item across all US Walmart stores, and the third most popular frozen poultry substitute in the country, according to data from IRI.

Big Food

🍭 Mars has been hit with a lawsuit alleging that its Skittles candies are “unfit for human consumption” due to containing an artificial colouring, Titanium Dioxide, which is “a known toxin”.

🍺 Diageo announced its plans to build a €200 million carbon-neutral brewery in Ireland, powered using 100% renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions by up to 15,000 metric tons each year.

🏭 PepsiCo Beverages North America is set to construct a “massive manufacturing plant”, which will be its largest, most sustainable plant in the United States, with the aim of achieving 100% renewable electricity, best-in-class water efficiency, and reduced virgin plastic use.

Trends: Diversifying plant protein sources

Variety is the spice of life, so they say. And certainly where plant protein sources are concerned. They’re appearing on the alt protein scene in all manner of flavours, shapes, colours, and sizes - anything is ripe for the picking. 

🔎 Discover in the full FoodHack+ Report:
- 2x case studies (InnovoPro, EverGrain)

- The why, the challenges and the figures behind the space
- List of 50+ companies improving the next generation of plant-based ingredients

Find out more about how diversifying plant protein sources could improve accessibility to meat alternatives. It also improves the sustainability of the protein ecosystem - increasingly a key requisite for consumers looking for plant-based meals.

New in Funding: 

💸 Valor Equity Partners closed its Valor Siren Ventures II fund at $595 million, way over its $400 million target, and will support startups working on sustainability within food and retail markets.

🍴FreshRealm raised $200 million from unnamed investors for its ready-to-cook and ready-to-heat meals and meal kits that are sold in grocery stores, having seen significant growth through the pandemic.

🛒 In the same week as its US retail launch, Meati secured $150 million Series C funding, which more than doubles the amount it’s raised since its inception five years ago, to expand its mycelium-based production and accessibility.

⤴️ US-based agritech investor SVG is launching a $50 million fund and its flagship THRIVE Accelerator program to support startups in Melbourne working to advance food and agriculture innovation.

🌱 Canada’s Fieldless Farm raised CAD 17.5 million Series A funding to expand its line of leafy greens grown using highly-controlled environments and renewable energy, without herbicides or pesticides. 

📲 Argentinian agtech raised $3.1 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Yugen Partners and The Yield Lab LATAM. Its platform tracks farmers’ adoption of more sustainable farming techniques and connects them to downstream buyers interested in sustainably-grown products.

🍛 Indian plant-based company Shaka Harry secured $2 million seed investment from impact investor Better Bite Ventures and Blue Horizon, among others. The startup is one of the fastest growing alt protein companies in the country, and offers a range of meals and snacks designed around the local cuisine and palate.

🍽 Former CEO of McDonald’s Steve Easterbrook has invested an undisclosed amount into London-based vegan quick-service restaurant chain Clean Kitchen Club, to help it open 40 more sites across the UK.

🌾 Green-On, based in Sweden, scored investment from AAK to support its technology designed to produce fats and oils without the need for arable land, bypassing traditional agricultural production to create raw materials from carbon dioxide, renewable energy and water.

📈These five key trends from PitchBook that depict the state of the venture market in an inflationary market and a tightening monetary environment is worth a read.

🤝 GlassWall Syndicate and the Good Food Institute have joined forces to launch the Emerging Growth Consortium, a first-of-its-kind investor group for on plant-based and cultivated protein investors.

💵 Leading impact accelerator Brinc and DayDayCook announced their plans to invest $10 million in 45 animal-free startups over the next three years through the new Good Food Accelerator Program.

From the Community

👀 Dream jobs:

- Ark Biotech (US) are hiring a Process Development Scientist and Lab Technician 

- Cultivated Biosciences are recruiting for a Founder Associate and Food & Biochemistry Intern

- Foodji Marketplace are hiring both a Sales Representative and Chief of Staff

- KitchenTown are looking for a Food Scientist

- Planted (Switzerland) are recruiting for multiple roles including Lead Project Manager, Industrial Mechanic and a Social Media and Community Manager  

👋 Meet IRL: FoodHack Meetups coming up in Cape Town (July 27th) and Berlin(September 1st). 

🎉 New Team Member: Coline Jeannet joins us as Community Manager.

🧢 Early members have been proudly wearing their swag - doesn't it look great!


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