Changing the way protein is produced

This foodtech startup is changing the way protein is produced on their mission to fix the food system

 

As World Agri-Tech Innovation South America Summit marketing partners we had the pleasure of interviewing one of the speakers; Matias Muchnick CEO & Founder of Notco, one of the most disruptive foodtech startups that is currently changing the way protein is produced.

Matias described NotCo as a foodtech company that combines science, technology and the unexplored plant kingdom to recreate products that taste, smell, and look  just like real animal products. “With this combination of machine learning technologies and breakthrough science we could crack one of the most challenging enigmas of humanity: creating amazingly tasty food that can also be good for our bodies, the environment, the animals and that would help us distribute nutrition using exponentially less resources than what we have today.”

 

 

COVID HAS BROUGHT IMPORTANT CHALLENGES

Matías told us that the current pandemic has brought some important challenges, both in the company’s environment and in it’s internal functioning. But he added that as a disruptive young company he feels it is their duty to reinvent their business structure in order to overcome these challenges. As well as to adapt and integrate all the opportunities that come with it. “Today we are facing different incentives, signs, stimuli; and we are learning to incorporate them.”

One important factor he pointed out was that he believes people’s values are changing, and one relevant aspect of this change is the considerable increase in food awareness. 

“The contact we have with food today is completely different, we are reinventing ourselves in every way and it will never be the same as before.”

There’s no doubt that new trends are arising, especially concerning animal-based food; people are seeking increased transparency, sustainability and better nutrition, etc. And this is something they are trying to tackle with the help of AI.

 

 

DELIVERING A MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD INDUSTRY

Matías confirmed that the plant-based trend is growing and this has helped Notco focus its resources to further its expansion and development.

He explained that part of this growing trend has revealed an important change in the startups behavior, which is to transform many of their activities into more digitalized actions. It has shown them the importance of partnering with companies that share the same direction, “to deliver what people need and ask for today; a complete, affordable and more sustainable food industry.”

 

 

 

WORKING WITH STARTUPS AS A SOLUTION

Matías believes that startups like Notco are bringing disruptive solutions with the application of technology:

“I think we’ve made it clear that a startup today can turn what we thought impossible only a few years ago into a fact.  We’re developing a technology and science that will allow the species to live on (human and non-human).

In their case, the combination of machine learning technologies and breakthrough science could crack one of the most challenging enigmas we now face: creating great tasting food that is also good for our bodies, the environment and the animals as well as help us distribute nutrition using less resources. In fact, they have already overcome one of the biggest challenges: “to be able to imitate the food we really love, but instead of coming from inefficient and environmentally aggressive sources based on animal farming, obtaining it from plants.”

 

 

COLLABORATION AS A KEY FOR GROWTH

He told us about the brands relationship with corporations as he believes collaboration to be important in building special relationships:

“If we want to continue conquering the world with mouth wateringly delicious food, we need to collaborate, we need to change the industry from the inside.”

Their first big partner was Papa John’s and last year they started working on a partnership for the launch of their new Vegan Royale pizza. Then came Burger King’s alliance for their Rebel Burger. He added that it’s important to work with companies that are also willing to take these big steps together, to accomplish the most important turnover of our feeding system that the planet so desperately needs.

 

AGRI-FOOD SECTOR BEGGING FOR CHANGE

Matías believes that “it is no surprise that the food system has become the major environmental ill known to humankind..all starts and ends with raising and breeding livestock for meat.”

The industrial production of animals is the single most aggressive form of creating nutrition for a growing population. If we could go back and ask science what is the best and most efficient way to feed the 7 billion people that inhabit our planet, the answer certainly wouldn’t be animals. 

He explained that the biggest theory Notco is trying to prove is:  “could we make our milk, cheese, eggs and meat just from plants and take the animal out of the equation? Cut down the middle man?”  the founder certainly believes this would mean a healthier and more sustainable food system, but the challenge remains the taste… and now we’ve proven that it is possible in over 4 countries, next? The world.

 

 

We are Partners at World Agri-Tech South America Summit

Partners at World Agri-Tech South Summit America

 

 

As World Agri-Tech South America partners, we had the pleasure of interviewing Innovation representatives from Raízen and Adama, two companies that are currently disrupting the agri-food system and developing solutions by partnering with startups across the Agritech space.

Raízen is an energy company that operates in all stages of the process, from the cultivation of cane, production of sugar, ethanol and bioenergy, to the commercialization, logistics and distribution of goods. They invest in solutions based on only the best innovation and sustainability practices, acting as a reference in the production of renewable energy.

Adama is a company dedicated to the production of agrochemicals, but they also offer AgTech and crop protection solutions in their services portfolio. They work with a purpose: to listen, learn and deliver integrated solutions for farmers to increase their productivity with sustainability.

We had the opportunity to talk to Jose Massad, Director of Information Technology at Raízen, and Roberson Marczak, Innovation Manager at ADAMA Latam

 

 

Covid-19 induced challenges 

Jose explained that the main challenge that people have felt during this time has been the unexpected changes thrown at them by the crisis. There was no time to prepare for the challenges ahead and Raizen, for example, quickly established actions to directly combat covid induced impacts, through partners and full team collaboration. From a technology perspective, it was a major challenge when the whole team had to self-isolate and work from home.

Roberson told us that him and his team also had to adapt to the new reality of teleworking and social distancing. He also raised an interesting question: How can we keep in touch with our customers, when we are faced with social restrictions?  In fact, ADAMA digital services have proved to be very resourceful tools for farmers during this time, in order to maintain communication with their technical consultants and sales reps, despite contact and visit restrictions within farms. For Roberson, digitalisation of this kind is here to stay, as farmers adapt increasingly more with ease to these technologies

 

Transforming the agrifood market with technology

Jose said that in Raizen, they currently have an ongoing digital agriculture transformation that includes the use of disruptive technology such as on-board computers, precision agriculture, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), drones for application of inputs, artificial intelligence for prediction and optimization of production, among others. 

In ADAMA? Roberson explained that AgTech services are part of ADAMA´s core business and portfolio strategy. For him; “The integration between farming and digital technologies is the key to taking agriculture to a new level of productivity”. The adoption of AgTech tools will have a similar effect on traditional farms, like the effect of digital technologies on entertainment, banking and travel, for example. It offers many benefits, including:

  • Supporting agronomic decisions with quantifiable data.
  • Reduction of operating costs and uncertainty while increasing peace of mind for farmers.
  • Minimizing potential negative environmental impact and agronomic risks.
  • Increase efficiency of products, by applying it the right spraying.

 

 

Working with startups to accelerate the agriculture industry

Jose asserted that innovation is one of Raizens main foundations and in 2017 they launched Pulse, one of the biggest hubs in Brazil that promotes open innovation, and which has helped to generate a strong agribusiness ecosystem across the country.
“Initiatives like Pulse will be increasingly used as key partners in solutions for the agricultural sector.”
The hub currently collaborates with more than 28 startups, and over 50 projects have already been tried and tested, 6 of which have signed a contract to be incorporated in Raizens technological environment and to start working as solution providers.

For Roberson, “startups are a powerful way to speed things up for AgTech”. The key is to select startups that are working on farmers pain points and that always put them first through their technologies. To work with startups is to inject agility into your company, but beware, a lot of the time they also require extra direction in terms of solutions development. Such a large company like ADAMA can act as this guide during the development process to increase their chances of success.
ADAMA boasts several partnerships with startups in Brazil, but mainly in Israel; their country of origin. After working with various startups, they have learnt that the most important factor is trying not to change the way a startup works. “We let the startups come up with the idea and we refine together the agronomic and financial aspects.”

 

 

Changes in the agriculture sector

For Jose, the increased use of technologies is generating major changes in the sector, with an impact on the entire production process. It’s these kinds of synergies that allow a once traditional sector  to optimize processes and contribute directly to the discovery of new solutions.

For Roberson, there is something missing in the agriculture space, and that’s the ability to move to the next technological level and experience a new revolution; data integration. “The challenge is how to bring data from rural areas to communication networks, to be processed and transformed into useful information”, allowing farmers to make future decisions and not only passively contemplate what has already happened in their farms that can no longer be modified.

Do not miss the chance to listen to them at World Agri-Tech South America July 29th and 30th!!

 

 

Webinar Investing in Agri-Food Tech

Last Thursday, July 2nd we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into the power of agtech investment to building a more resilient food system amid the covid crisis. In our latest offering Investing in Agri-Food Tech: Building Resilient Food Systems we were joined by some of the agtech industry´s biggest experts including Anne Greven, Global Head of F&A Startup Innovation at Rabobank, John Friedman, Director of AgFunder Asia & our very own José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who offered their insights into the keys behind investing in agtech, the main drivers of change and which companies are currently leading this new agricultural revolution.

 

As the covid crisis affects every part of the food industry, investor and entrepreneur mindsets are changing and the pandemic has uncovered a fragile and overly traditional food supply chain that begs for change. Agtech offers new power and possibilities to leverage disruptive solutions. In 2019 startups raised approximately 20 billion worth of investment as they develop new solutions towards redesigning a more active supply system across the industry including in blockchain, automation and robotics.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

What are the main drivers for agtech investment?

For John Friedman there has been a significant increase over the years, specifically compared to the year 2015 when agrifood made up only 5% of VC funding, which is miniscule if you consider the industry employs 40% of the world’s population. John stated that “we all rely on food and sustainability” and the lack of awareness and attention the sector has garnered is what motivated AgFunders founders to launch the initiative. He added that we are currently facing massive challenges as a food supply chain, including in population growth, climate change and changing consumption patterns.

This is something Eatable Adventures Jose Luis agrees on, adding that these factors were definitely the kickstarters to realising the need for quick actions towards producing a kinder way to make food for our planet. We´ve also seen a spike in agtech players enter the market. For example, when plant-based pioneers Beyond Meat announced they were going public people realised that agtech investment was accelerating and a space definitely worth investing in.

Another driver for investment has also been the outbreak of the covid crisis, as it uncovered a stressed-out supply chain begging for change. Anne Greven added that just now we are truly beginning to see more investors and entrepreneurs interested in the space, including governments and universities who are also recognising the need for change.

Singapore is a small country which relies on 90% of food imports to feed its population. With covid restricting everything from transportation to social distancing, importers were left with tonnes of food waste after supply and demand issues, which is another reason for creating a more nimble food system, and John Friedman believes agtech has the power to do so.

“Perhaps one of the silver linings from this experience is a sort of awaking around the fragilities of how we as a society live our lives and how we have taken so much for granted” – John Friedman.

 

How is agritech innovation adding value to the more traditional farming and agricultural practices?

 

“More and more is moving faster than we realise–more tech is being implemented” – Anne Greven.

The agtech space is definitely considered one of the more traditional spaces in the food industry. For Anne Greven one of the benefits of agritech innovation has been “creating greater efficiencies in the farms”. Technology offers more margins for farmers and those are the innovations poised to take off to help create a more sustainable food system.

It was agreed between our panelists that the main factor we are seeing, and that is securing the most support and funding, is low tech but high impact development and there are many corporations looking to help their farmers implement such technologies. John offered community farmer apps as a prime example, which help in a small way by
“putting the power back in the farmers hands..and cutting out the middleman”.

 

How do they compare in terms of profitability, complexity and availability of quality deal flow to other areas in foodtech?

“It’s a complex space that requires some solid engineering” – John Friedman.

The agrifood space is implementing increasingly more technology making a bigger market year on year. Jose Luis believes that even more doors of opportunity are being opened and that the “return is similar if not better, we think, than other areas”. He assures that the technology implemented doesn’t need to be that strong; “you can make big things with very simple solutions”.

In Rabobank the volume of applications are growing each year, and many agtech startups are able to secure financing when other spaces haven’t. In fact, this years 300 alumni alone bagged 120 million in funding. People are recognising this is a growing area worth investing in, and the greater implementation of tech, the greater return for the investor. John adds that although AgFunder has always been typically focused on the upstream, he has started to recognise the commercial opportunity of downstream areas like CPG, alternative proteins and foodtech over the past few years and admits the investment landscape has shifted across the food system.

 

What are the most relevant and promising areas worth investing in?

For Anne, one of the most exciting emerging areas is that of carbon trading soil; “the farming and agritech impact (to) reduce carbon emissions..there will be a lot of people looking to invest there”. But she adds that anything offering greater efficiency for the farmer as a general goal will be an area worthy of investment. Since margins are razor thin for farmers across the world, there is a huge need to manage this and give back dollars to the people actually producing our food.

Predictive analytics was also an area of interest, since despite being present in the industry for some years now, data sources are always getting bigger and with more predictive measures now available there are more efficient ways to help farmers than ever before. This goes for artificial intelligence, too. Jose Luis states he’s seen a few companies already giving back to farmers, even a solution as simple as through a phone app where they can download real time data on crop performance and weather patterns. The CEO of Eatable Adventures also believes that products offering higher nutritional values are one to watch.

“We also believe that this industrialization approach is going to be a great area getting production closer to consumers”.

 

 

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

Investing in Agri-Food Tech: Building Resilient Food Systems

Investing in Agri-Food Tech: Building Resilient Food Systems

As the world begins to pick back up the pieces after Covid-19, investor mindsets are changing & the global business landscape is accelerating digital transformation and unlocking opportunities for innovators offering solutions to new challenges we now face in the food supply chain. One bright spot has been the increase in agri-tech investment due to the opportunities and power it offers to a now fragile food supply chain as we search for ways to adapt through recovery and growth.

Andy Ziolkowski, Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox, which invests in innovative food and agriculture technology says that; “Given the disruptions in food supply due to the pandemic, we have been looking at areas including indoor farming, logistics, food safety and traceability. Software businesses in both  agtech  and  foodtech  are more attractive. In general, it seems these businesses are less disrupted by social distancing and changes in their business operations.” 

Without the effects of covid, farmtech has seen an uptick in investment; according to Agfunders 2020 Farm Tech Investment Report agtech funding is up 370% in the last 6 years but as COVID19 uncovers a fragile supply chain with food shortages, production halts and transport restrictions at the forefront new trends have been emerging to gain investor interest. Agtech startups are developing disruptive new solutions to redesign a more resilient food supply system for our future across the industry, including in robotics, blockchain and automation

 

 

Challenges & solutions in post-covid agtech

With agriculture renowned as being a more traditional sector, what challenges are startups currently facing in breaking into the industry? 

 

 

 

 

 

From agriculture to agtech: farmers first

Although for many robotics and automation may seem like a futuristic concept, farmers have been powering technology for years. Even traditional farmers are used to working with machines. However, as technology becomes faster and more complex, the farmer must always be at the forefront of its implementation. Is it easy to understand & adopt? Does it really solve the problem at hand? Its for this reason that many larger companies are seeking collaborations with more agile-minded startups that always start with the farmer. VC Spero was impressed with agtech startup Tortuga, as they focus solely on working hand-in-hand with farmers and adapting to their feedback.

“The tech industry has not had much to offer farmers, frankly. Farmers are really good at what they are doing and it’s only recently that tech has gotten to the point that we can do very fancy machine vision stuff to help, whether it’s identifying disease via drones or finding perfectly ripe strawberries and picking them.” – Marc Tarpenning, co-founder of the renowned electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla & part of the board at Tortuga. 

 

 

Localized supply chains

Globalization will be challenged and this is pivoting thinking (and funding!) to a more localized supply and distribution system. The main trends supporting this shift are supply chain assurance, food security, and geopolitical reliance. 

The Agricultural Outlook report 2018-2027 published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations states that of the total land area of the MENA region only one-third is agricultural land (cropland and pastures), and only 5% is arable (cropland). The rest is either urban or dry desert. This means a strong dependency on import.Singapore is the second most populated country in the world yet relies almost solely on importation to feed its population. Southeast Asia food tech accelerator GROW recently announced the launch of a new program focused on food security. Branded Singapore Food Bowl, the program invites startups working to build a more decentralized agrifood ecosystem.

 

 

The digital revolution

With clients and farmers further away from each other than ever, there is an increasing need for more digital solutions across the industry. Startup Farmobile sells hardware to aggregate data coming from farm equipment and stores it for farmers to share with advisors or even sell it to third parties through its data store. In recent months the startup has seen a spike in demand and CEO Jason Tatge believes this is directly tied to Covid19, with farmers wanting to follow a digital strategy better positioned to deal with the long-term effects of the pandemic. 

“In times of social distancing, there are some aspects of technology that will be more suitable than others. For instance, our technology is very low-touch and built for virtual data collection and sharing between farmers and trusted advisors. It removes the need for an agronomist to go out in-person to get a jump drive,”  Tatge told AFN.

 

Fortifying a fragile food system

With food supply being stretched across the world, now is the time for agtech to have its moment. The need to do more with less has never been greater. With many restaurants and foodservice establishments closing amid covid, many farmers who relied on this supply chain were left in limbo, with tons of produce going to waste.

Startup Clean Crop technologies that aims to prevent crop loss and extend produce shelf life recently secured $2.75 million in seed funding. Their sustainable powered solution zaps the air around food after harvest with electricity to create ionized gases and after processing, the gases revert back to the air without leaving any harmful residues on produce.

The company is part of a collective of emerging startups raising funds in an effort to reduce food waste. Tropic Biosciences recently raised 10 mil to use its gene-editing technology including CRISPR to optimize coffee and banana crops.

 

 

Corporate input

It isn’t just startups making a B-line for agtech, increasingly more corporates are seeking to give back to the land with more sustainable practices as consumers care more about the environment than ever. The good news for agtech startups is that their target end-users provide an essential function: growing food. There will always be demand for food and now larger brands want to work with these startups to offer the added benefit of sustainability to their consumers. 

Multinational food manufacturer General Mills recently partnered with farmers and suppliers in an attempt to implement more sustainable practices on 1 million acres of soil, including for oats, dairy and wheat by 2030.  

“It’s a big deal for food companies because we make food that relies on agriculture. So when we think about what we need to be doing, and the fact that so much of the landscape is actually being degraded right now, it’s an opportunity to do it differently,”Shauna Sadowski, head of sustainability for natural and organics at General Mills.  And General Mills isn’t the only company promising to carry out more sustainable operations, a handful of big industry players such as Hormel Foods and Danone North America are promising their clients to focus more on practices that are nicer to our planet by investing more in regenerative agriculture. 

Danone recently partnered with food tech startup Brightseed for example to research the health potentials of some of its key plant-based ingredients, starting with soy. Brightseed is a biosciences and precision nutrition startup that’s looking into plant nutrients for human health using AI.

 

In our next webinar we will be delving into all things agtech, including the keys of investing in the space & the companies leading this change. We’ll be joined by industry experts Anne Greven, Global Head of F&A Innovation Startup Rabobank, John Friedman, Director of AgFunder Asia & our very own Jose Luis Cabañero CEO of Eatable Adventures. Secure your place this 2nd of July at 15.00 (CEST) 

SIGN UP HERE!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Webinar Open Innovation

Last Thursday, June 18th, we added another edition to our series of international webinars as we delved into open innovation in the food industry, to discover and analyse the benefits of startups and corporates working together.

In our latest episode “Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation” we were lucky enough to host Sejal Ravji, Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual ; Maria Paula Rios, Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods and José Luis Cabañero, CEO and Founder of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights from their professional experiences with open innovation.

 

 

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

Constant changes in the agri-food sector

For Sejal Ravji, one of the changing aspects in the agri-food space is the introduction of technology, and with it comes the need to develop innovation quickly and efficiently. “Technology is accelerating all changes. The great challenge now is to predict where the changes are going and where value is generated in the ecosystem. It is in this space where innovation is born”, he stated.

José Luis Cabañero, who said that there has been a wave of disruptive new startups in the past few years, commented that “they are daring to develop new models with technology, such as artificial intelligence, which can be very beneficial for companies who want to present a unique and differentiating product.”

For María Paula Ríos, “Big companies have to start looking outside of their own teams to challenge themselves. We have begun to realize that those companies, which have a longer history, have to look beyond where there is greater knowledge and to work hand in hand with other agents,” said María Paula Ríos.

 

Corporations and Startups: a profitable collaboration

 

For both Sejal Ravji and María Paula Rios it is essential for a corporation to choose the right startup to work with carefully but the most important thing is to know what the objective of the collaboration is. According to the Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual, the purposes of a company can be many: “What new technologies do you want to incorporate? What new markets and businesses do you want to reach? Do they need a venture capital fund to invest in other businesses?” He stated.

As for José Luis Cabañero, “it is essential that both parties understand the limitations of these relationships. Startups have to understand the rigidity of corporations, just as these companies must understand the fragility of startups. ”

 

Startup & corporation collaboration

Collaborations between startups and larger companies are not as simple as one may think, due in part to the structural differences and clashes in business culture between both parties. However, if a mutual commitment has been established the end result can be promising.

“I have spoken to many startups, and we know that collaborating with a corporation is not easy because there is a different speed involved. In a company, the processes are usually slower than in a startup,” Sejal Ravji acknowledged.

For María Paula Ríos there is no single collaboration model to choose from, it all depends on the characteristics of each company, but what is common to all models is the need for flexibility on both sides. She stated that there must be full cohesion between both teams and this is exactly where the success in her companies open innovation strategy lies “What we want is to be able to work with a startup since it has a differential knowledge that contributes value and enhances our products. Only by doing this will we get to the next level, together.”

 

KPI´s in open innovation

José Luis Cabañero highlighted two classes of KPIs to measure the effectiveness and the final result of open innovation between startups and larger teams: there are KPIs that are associated with business growth; while there are other KPIs that are more difficult to measure such as the number of products launched.

Sejal Ravji and María Paula Ríos agreed. The Director of Open Innovation at Calidad Pascual added that “when the corporation is clear on its objective, it is easier to identify and measure the KPI”. The Director of Innovation and Strategy at Team Foods also added that “if there is a project that does not generate value, it won’t survive”

 

 

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation

Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation

Open innovation is a formula that is gaining increasingly more strength and traction as a model for attracting talent, technology and disruptive business models. By embracing open innovation companies can tap into new powers to transform their organizations, reaching objectives that would otherwise be unattainable without the use of these methodologies.

One of these methodologies is what we call Corporate Venturing, the streamlining of innovation processes within larger corporations, through the introduction of agile startups in the development of new products. It offers larger teams the opportunity to closely understand the needs and demands of consumers and provide untouched know-how for a more flexible and efficient adaptation to said needs, in both production and distribution capacities.

We held our own webinar on Open Innovation with our partners Eatable Adventures, who invited some of the leading companies in the industry such as Mondelēz International and Sainsbury’s. In the insightful webinar episode Gil Horsky, Innovation Director of SnackFutures from Mondelēz International, and Milena Lazarevska, Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s explained the advantages of working with startups from their direct experience. Horsky acknowledged that “working with startups is very important,”adding that within the last few years it has been growing as a “top priority”. Lazarevska agreed, stating that establishing agreements with startups allows corps to gain a quicker turn around on product tweaks and consumer needs.

At Eatable Adventures we understand the importance of open innovation and would like to delve further into this topic to gain even more insight into the impact of corps working with startups and vice-versa. We have the pleasure of working with two of the largest corporations in the food sector: Alianza Team® and Calidad Pascual

 

Alianza Team® and their experience in the lipids sector

Alianza Team® a leading Colombian company in the food sector, is committed to the well-being and future of food and works to develop lipid-based food-tech products and solutions with high nutritional components for a range of food spaces like bakeries and restaurants.

Alianza Team® aims to nurture a better future and has established three business units: Team Foods, Team Solutions and Breden Master. Located in Colombia, Alianza Team® also boasts a significant presence in Chile and Mexico while working on developing ambitious expansion to wider markets. They are currently launching their next mission in a call for projects; Hack the Food System, which focuses on seeking the most disruptive foodtech startups across the lipids ecosystem which are capable of providing innovative responses to the new challenges we face in the food system, including new processes and technologies for nutrition improvements, food functionality and production sustainability.

Alianza Team® invests in startups through albora ™; its corporate private equity fund.

 

Calidad Pascual: building the future of food

Calidad Pascual aims to “Give their all for the future of food”. A company with a strong family essence, led by solid values and a certain sense of transcendence, which provides consumers with food products and services that help improve the well-being of society.

Pascual Innoventures is a Calidad Pascual open innovation vehicle to immerse yourself in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and create alliances with startups that share their philosophy; all while anticipating global food needs. For them, this philosophy is fundamental; a culture that begins with the premise of creating value wherever they can. Its about giving the consumer a memorable experience and, at the same time, contributing to the survival of our planet.

 

In Eatable Adventures next webinar “Accelerating the growth of the Food Industry: The power of open innovation”, which takes place next Thursday June 18th at 17:00 (MAD), 10:00(BOG), 11:00(SCL), we will be joined by Sejal Ravji, Open Innovation Director at Calidad Pascual; María Paula Ríos, Innovation & Strategy Director at Team Foods and José Luis Cabañero, CEO & Founder of Eatable Adventures, to share their companies experiences in open innovation.

SIGN UP HERE!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Webinar Riding the Plant-Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution

On Thursday June 4th, we launched the latest edition of our series of international webinars on innovation in the food sector, with an aim to discuss the most relevant initiatives facing our food system today.

In the webinar “Riding the Plant-Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution” we were joined by industry experts Nir Goldstein, Managing Director-Israel of The Good Food Institute; Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Managing Director, Alternative Protein at Cargill and José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, who shared their visions and insights into the present and future of alternative protein.

 

 

Nir Goldstein explained that one of the main goals of The Good Food Institute is to work on increasing the production of plant-based meat substitutes, to ensure they offer sustainable products that mimic the taste and texture of their animal protein counterparts. 

Elizabeth Gutschenritter stated that for Cargill an important objective is to offer clients and their customers food in a more sustainable and safer way. “We work throughout the supply chain to meet this need, and we have seen that protein consumption has increased worldwide for years,”.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar in case you missed it:

 

Increased demand for plant-based products in recent years

For Nir Goldstein, there are four main reasons for this increase: economic, health, environmental and animal welfare awareness. According to his forecast by 2030, these products may occupy 10% of global meat market consumption. “This sector has attracted more investment this year than in all of last year,”.


Elizabeth Gutschenritter agreed and added that this increase resides in the interest of consumers demanding more sustainable and healthy products on shelves, although 93% still continue to eat meat.

Startups as an innovation engine

Innovation continues to be vital for corporations which increases the need to collaborate with startups, which offer more agile mindsets and increased ability to adapt faster and more efficiently to consumer demands, essential if wanting to achieve competitive advantages in an often crowded market.

For José Luis Cabañero, mutual support between corporations and startups is imperative to satisfy new consumer demands, adding that innovation and speed are the most important tools today to survive in the market.

 


Success stories of collaboration between startups and industry in plant-based

One of the collaborative success stories that stands out for José Luis Cabañero concerns the University of Berkeley, which launched alternative protein training programs along with incubation programs for startups in the sector

“There have been a lot of investments in the sector, especially in marketing and in the R&D departments in cell-based and plant-based. Our partners are helping us to bring the product closer to the market ”, acknowledged Elizabeth Gutschenritter.

For Nir Goldstein, the best success stories come from experience and learning that one internalizes when discovering how to move forward in the future. “There are a significant number of products that are in the initial phase of flavor texture adaptation, but are not developed on a large scale. Startups must move from pilot tests to more industrial developments to find out if they like their products on the market or not. ”

 

Effects of the pandemic on the plant-based boom

Nir Goldstein stated that despite the effects of the pandemic we are still seeing startups securing significant investments which represents a positive trend in terms of funding and growth. “For example, Impossible Food got a half-trillion dollar investment during Covid-19. We see growth in the food sector of 200% that is partly driven by the consumption of alternative protein products,”

Elizabeth Gutschenritter predicts that plant-based consumption will increase in the coming months. Why? Consumers are seeking healthier and more sustainable-driven food and this will remain post-covid. To keep up with the squeeze of new consumer behaviour, companies are developing and launching fast solutions, like KFC in China.


 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

Webinar Israeli Startups Showcase: Solving New Challenges in the Food Industry

We recently launched a series of international webinars with the aim of providing a scope of insights from the main pioneers of the food tech industry where we cover the most pressing challenges our food system now faces amid the current covid crisis. In our latest episode we travelled (virtually!) all the way to Israel where we hosted our webinar in collaboration with the Economic and Commercial Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Spain and the Israel Export Institute.

 

We were joined by four of the most disruptive startups across the Israeli startup ecosystem as we dug into the various solutions young companies can offer across a range of different disciplines during this time through the application of their innovative food technology:

 

 

Evigence sensors 
This innovative startup provides food freshness information through a small visual chip device which enables the user to see blind spots in the supply chain and can help reduce food waste and offer suppliers and consumers alike ease of mind regarding the safety of  food amid the current pandemic. The solution can be applied across the complete supply chain from the producer, to the supplier right to the end user. It’s easy to use and facilitates freshness indication of a range of food stuffs including meat, fruit and even frozen foods. The company have worked with a number of important brands like Mcdonalds, where they designed a number of sensors specially for their frozen buns so they knew when and how to store and serve them.
COVID: In times of covid its important that the full potential of food is activated. Consumers are becoming more cautious about the quality of food they eat – how do they know it’s fresh? How do they know it was stored correctly? This solution offers an easy to use and deployable solution that applies transparency across the food supply chain  including remaining shelf life. The added advantage is that it also helps promote more sustainable operations, as sustainability is more on the agenda than ever “waste is becoming even more of an issue”..”using our sensors you can reduce waste dramatically”.

 

Kitchen robotics
Traditional restaurants haven’t changed dramatically for the last 300 years, gathering ingredients, mixing, chopping, cooking, cleaning…but even before covid first buckled the food industry we started to see a shift in the way restaurants were running their operations. How? Many companies were turning to delivery options like Ubereats and Grubhub, which in turn borned a new trend: dark kitchens. These are off-premise, delivery only operations and Kitchen Robotics was developed in the midst of this shift, offering an automated robotic solution to create a variety of dishes.
The startup offers a four-way solution:
1.collecting 2.cooking 3.serving 4.cleaning with Its hardware capable of creating between 30 to 40 dishes an hour.
“If we solve the issue for dark kitchens the solution will be suitable for other industries as well”
COVID: “Almost every dining solution is trying to make a shift towards dark kitchens”. As restaurants close their doors many owners are looking for new business models to keep afloat amid covid, and this startups solution offers the answer to delivery-only, off-premise and take-away devoted business. Restaurant robotics offers a range of benefits including more efficient and automated operations, reduced labor necessity and increased consistency which is perfect for not only restaurants but other players in the food space like supermarkets, universities and hotels.

 

SRP analytics
In the business of grocery this startup is providing big data solutions to manufacturers. When you look at local neighbourhood stores you’ll notice they are lacking one thing: technology. They don’t have anything to manage consumer or manufacturer relationships. SRP analytics noticed this white space in the market and built a three-way platform that connects all the stakeholders in the supply chain. The platform collects information like recommendations on what goods the store owner needs to buy or what promotions manufacturers need to follow to sell more orders, and transforms them into insights. Utilizing this technology makes their day-to-day operations easier and helps create new revenue streams.
COVID: With more consumers in lockdown we are seeing an increasingly more digital world. Going online offers consumers a different approach to ordering food. “E-commerce is the king for consumers”. This solution offers the deployment of “different processes with minimal physical interactions.” With larger retailers suffering from extended delivery times, this app provides smaller local stores with more digital abilities and more options for consumers to avoid leaving the house.

 

Vertical Field
The vertical farming market is growing into a 10 million pound market with increasingly more investment interest and limited spaces for land to deal with overpopulation. This solution offers businesses the chance for a greener transition.
Vertical field has created a vertical farm in a 40 feet container which is controlled by an IT system to help optimize the plants environment. They shorten the supply chain and reduce intermediaries in order to bring the agriculture directly to the retailers and end user. Through this food supply chain short cut, they offer an easy to use platform which facilitates the complete management of the farms and allows establishments like supermarkets a long arm in price and quality, without the need to worry about weather conditions or logistics.
COVID: During the current climate the food supply chain has been frozen, with labor shortages and transportation halted, this solution offers a “grow your own” alternative. You know that the food you will consume has been produced safely and cleanly avoiding human touch and ensuring proper sterilisation. They avoid the use of pesticides and therefore provide fresher and cleaner produce which offer higher nutritional values. It also offers a more sustainable “touch”; these solutions help lower waste to roughly 5-10% for a more efficient supply chain as well as higher yields and constant supply.

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

Riding the Plant-Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution

Identifying plant protein as a major source of future foods is what we like to call the protein revolution: perhaps because the way in which we produce our protein cries out for change, and during the current covid crisis this has become increasingly more important.

The underlying sustainability, efficiency and food security of our food supply chain has been somewhat of a tightrope throughout the current pandemic. Despite the EU declaring that there is a lacking of scientific evidence to prove the virus is transmitted through food, the UN has expressed concern over the link between extensive livestock farming and the virus, in part due to the increased demand for animal-based foodstuffs which is projected to double by 2050.

 

Protecting our planet and minimizing damage to its ecosystem has been an important part of our agenda for many years, but since the outbreak of the covid19 increasingly more consumers or seeking more sustainable-based solutions as well as “better for you” products that offer some advantage to their health and well-being. The European Commission has just pledged 10 billion euros to help further our green transition with the aim of solidifying and advancing the researching of alternative foods.

“This is a major step forward. Alternative proteins, such as plant-based and cultivated meat, play a critical role in Europe’s transition to a more sustainable, healthy and just food system ”, acknowledged Alexander Holst, GFI Europe Policy Manager of the European Commission.

Plant-based; a booming market:

In recent months, the need for new, innovative startups with disruptive solutions have spiked. For example, plant-based pioneers like Just and Grounded Foods have increased their demand from food producers. “The alternative proteins industry was already a hot market before covid-19 hit. My prediction is that these terrifying times will propel the sector’s growth even faster, ”says Veronica CEO of Grounded Foods.

In the sector of cultured meat, the barriers come in the forms of reproducing the taste and texture of  the “real” thing and then commercializing it at a reasonable price. Some cell-based meat producers estimate that the COVID crisis will boost this type of alternative production.

Future meat technologies, the first company to open an industrial farmed meat plant, has announced that it will sell its technologies to the protein industries in order to reach commercialisation. In addition, a recent article from the University of Maastricht reported that consumers are willing to pay more for this meat. 

Large companies are showing great interest in getting a foot in the plant-based door. Just look at industry pioneer Cargill, which is focusing on marketing alternative products in the US and China, two countries with huge consumer potential. The brand announced an investment of up to $100 million in food tech startup Puris back in 2018 and has since benefited from this partnership with the dwindling production of pea protein. Cargill has also invested in the “protein of the future” with fundings in cell-based meat-producing startups like Aleph Farms and Memphis Meats

 

As you can see, investments in alt protein startups has spiked in recent years with larger names aching to be a part of the new protein revolution. And the movement continues, Swiss fund, Blue Horizon, has just acquired 35% of Spanish startup Cubiq Foods. This just goes to show that the plant-based wave isnt only affecting larger countries like the US or Asia but even Europe, and seems like even consumers and investors want to be a part of it

 

 

In our next webinar Riding the Plant Based Wave: Leading the Food Revolution“,which will take place on Thursday, June 4 at 5:00 p.m CET., we will be joined by Nir Goldstein, Managing Director Israel at The Good Food Institute and Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Managing Director Alternative Protein at Cargill who will offer their insights into the world of plant-based and the companies leading this new food revolution. Secure your place!

 

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Israeli Startups Showcase: Solving New Challenges in the Food Industry

One thing that the COVID19 crisis has undoubtedly highlighted is the need to build a more resilient food system. These learnings have been uncovered throughout the crisis due to new pressures at labor level, obstacles with goods transportation and logistics and stock breaks in supermarkets across the globe. This panorama of pressures and tensions are provoking some irreversible changes in our consumers needs and behaviours. Users are becoming increasingly concerned about the transparency of goods; where they come from, how they are made and the way in which they are delivered.

 

The question is; how can we improve our food system in order to adapt to these recent challenges posed to us by the post-COVID era?

The Israeli entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem is the second most renowned in the world, coming closely behind Silicon Valley of course. During these times, its ecosystem has been offering us various solutions to adapt to this new reality by applying food technology across the board:

More sustainable production systems:

During the current climate its almost imperative that we require a more sustainable production system that ensures the right production and supply of food without harming the planet.

Established in 2006, Vertical Field aims to transform the way we consume food and make shifts in the food supply chain, which shorten the distance from the consumer to the edible plant while also largely removing transportation expenses. The young company brings all the benefits of plants into the urban ecosystem including air and noise filtering, waste reduction, as well as pesticide-free and naturally bug-free plant walls. They are now developing a smart farming technology that allows for the integration of nature into our urban lifestyle – in both indoor and outdoor environments – while also enhancing human health and environmental conditions in urban settings.

Facilitating food delivery:

Technology can greatly facilitate management when delivering products to consumers.

Kitchen Robotics specializes in the development of automated programmable cooking appliances for commercial kitchens. They focus on automating the cooking process for delivery only kitchens (AKA “dark kitchens”). These refer to food that is prepared at seperate takeaway locations rather than a restaurant, and is currently the preferred way for minimizing contact between clients and operating staff. This solution is ideal for multiple types of cuisines such as Italian, Asian and various other fast casual markets. The hardware is easily deployable between locations, and integrated with multiple delivery service providers that operate across international markets.

SRP Analytics is a mobile-first merchandising platform which revolutionizes relationships between FMCG brands, small retailers and consumers to increase sales, reduce costs and improve loyalty. The SRP platform helps brands and manufacturers regain market leadership, as well as providing the segment of small grocers with similar tech and digital capabilities as those of large retailers, all accessible from a mobile app. SRP is currently working with leading food manufacturers and distributors in Israel which are using SRP’s unique platform on a daily basis in more than 1,500 stores. And guess what? The use of SRP has proven to increase the revenues of both parties by 10%!

Avoiding food waste:

New food preservation and freshness control technologies can help us minimize food waste.

Evigence Sensors is a startup solving the challenges of the freshness lifecycle in the brand-through-consumer delivery chain. By moving away from the antiquated and arbitrary use-by-date system and developing the next generation of visual freshness sensors, they empower handlers and users to make far more informed decisions as to the freshness of their products, which helps reduce waste and save money.

 

In our next webinar “Israeli startups Showcase: Solving New Challenges in the Food Industry” in collaboration with the Economic and Commercial Mission in the Israeli Embassy in Spain and the Israel Export Institute, we will delve into these solutions and how they help to solve the next challenges that we face from the food system.

 

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