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.

 

SIGN UP HERE!!

 

 

 

Webinar Accelerating food growth: the power of open innovation

We recently launched our series of international webinars where we delve into the main challenges facing our food system during the crisis and welcome some of the most disruptive companies in the foodtech space to offer their insights and solutions

 

This week we were joined by two companies at each end of the value chain; Mondelez International  as a manufacturer and Sainsbury’s as a retailer, in our latest webinar episode  “Accelerating Food Industry Growth: The power of Open Innovation“. We hosted Gil Horsky – Director of Innovation Snacks Futures at Mondelēz International and Milena Lazarevska – Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s who offered insights into the keys to collaboration between corporates and startups, as well as the plethora of benefits for both sides. 

 

At Eatable Adventures we believe that startups are one of the main agents leading the new food revolution, as the food system is changing so is consumer demand, and during the current crisis it seems to be happening at unprecedented rates. To properly embrace these new challenges and offer viable solutions powering open innovation between corporates and startups is an efficient way to whether the shifts appropriately.

For Gil Horsky working with startups is “very important” and has been “growing as the priority in the last few years”.

 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar

 

How companies engage with startups

 

There are a number of ways that startups can engage with corporates across the food chain, including through technology advancement, investments and licencing agreements.

Sainsbury’s works with startups “across the business” relishing the search of more distinctive brands to add to their product portfolio. Being the second biggest retailer they offer one of the first opportunities for commercialisation and market traction to new companies through their Future Brands initiative which scouts and incubates new brands.

 

Positive outcomes from startup/corp collaborations

 

Collaborations are win-win as corps attract more customers while offering incremental sales for young companies.

While corps add value in the form of investment and R&D support, and just generally tapping into corporate knowledge, startups help address a consumer pain points. Just like Sainsbury’s, it can help establish you as a destination for more exclusive brands as they offer out-of-the-box thinking and refreshing new perspectives. Milena Lazarevska stated that the real benefit is how efficiently they react to consumer feedback and then “how quickly they turn around a new idea”

“Exclusive agreements with startups lead to benefits for the corps such as consumer attraction and rapid answer to consumer demands” – stated Milena Lazarevska.

 

Working with startups in a crisis

 

The key to working with startups during this time, as Milena Lazarevska stated is to “be a good partner”be flexible where possible and offer more preferential payment terms, or just be there to help with in issue if you can. It’s important you show you are committed to your partnership and that you are a trustworthy brand that doesn’t run away when the going gets tough.

Gil Horsky said when working together ensure you “set up the relationship in the way you have a big chance of success” – be clear on your objectives, KPIs and future plans. Transparency is the biggest gift – be honest with the startup, if their idea isn’t viable, don’t waste their time. 

Covid has accelerated a shift in trends and companies now need to respond and adapt faster than ever. Trends currently making waves amid covid19 include immune boosting, e-commerce, well-being, food safety and traceability and digitisation across the supply chain. Solution? Find the relevant startups that can help you accelerate these trends in your company. 

Gil Horsky said it’s okay to ask for help in a crisis – reach out to the ecosystem and scope the startups already working on potential solutions. Mondelez recently launched a challenge scouting startups working on antimicrobial surfaces for their packaging as consumers look for safer to eat products.

Startup contributions

 

How do startups valuably contribute to corporations? Sustainability remains an important issue to be addressed across the spectrum as larger companies become increasingly more responsible, but in order to create a more efficient supply chain corporations must rely on the efforts of the smaller brands they work with for more sustainable operations and incremental improvements to help the planet. Sainsbury’s aims to go net zero by 2040 and as Milena  Lazarevska stated they require “the help of startups in this effort.”

As larger brands currently struggle from staff shortages and logistic constraints smaller companies hold access to an alternative supply base which has offered them a new wave of visibility. Consumers are now interacting more with new brands thanks to increased online presence and bigger in-store baskets. As Gil Horsky said the “inspirational” and “cultural” shift that smaller teams can contribute to corporations is often overlooked. Working with startups allow companies to experience a dose of motivation when they work with more agile minded entrepreneurs and see a product being created and marketed to a supermarket shelf in less than a year.

 

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

 

 

Accelerating Food Industry Growth: The power of Open Innovation

It has been several weeks since the coronavirus disrupted the global economy, and almost all businesses on the face of the earth including all facets of the food industry. There is no doubt that the changes we are experiencing are here to stay. Let’s think of the virus as a catalyst for the transformations already taking place. As a catalyst for innovation. Not only in the economy, but in the food industry, too.

 

 

Is your business model going to remain the same even when the pandemic ends? Will the products you market be the same? And the way you market them?

Your action post-crisis have to start taking shape even today. Flexibility, creativity and collaboration should all be part of your strategy, starting yesterday, it might be the glue to keep your company together and help you come out even stronger than before.

What collaborations exist for us as large corporations?

 

Undoubtedly, there are collaboration with startups. Companies must explore what is called Open Innovation or more specifically Corporate Venturing, where the startup agent is seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. This includes the incorporation of new technologies and external ideas to support your own business and increase your competitiveness in the market. Open Innovation not only encourages creativity within corporations, but also helps reduce internal investment in the R&D process by obtaining new knowledge from external sources.

 

 

Some corporations, such as AB Inbev, which have already collaborated with startups from their investment arm ZX Ventures and which boasts a $1 billion investment, already recognizes the great contribution that working with startups can offer, which include greater agility and increased focus on the consumer.

When established corporations form alliances with startups, problems find solutions. Startups are essentially looking for the “pain” point to solve.

At Eatable Adventures we firmly believe in the strong synergy between startups and large corporations. Generating this type of alliance is the best way to drive corporate innovation and keep it alive. Its something fundamental in these times of crisis where only reinvention and innovation remains.

We understand that the key is to combine agility and flexibility and those are characteristics that mold the startup world, together with the experience and vast resources of corporations it’s a win-win for everyone involved. At Eatable Adventures we help organizations understand the complexity of new companies and select the best approach for successful partnerships.

Together with our clients we have managed to reduce their R&D costs, generate better knowledge management, reduce the launch times of new products, reduce manufacturing costs, incorporate new technologies that shorten production processes and open new distribution channels, all while increasing financial performance. We have carried out acceleration, incubation, scouting and Venture Building programs. All the tools that help us drive and sustain innovation over time

It is clear that the future we imagined is not the future to come, and it is now up to us to create it ourselves There is a phrase that summarizes this article which is: “When there is a storm, the little birds hide, but the eagles fly higher.” .

 

Don’t miss our webinar on “Accelerating Food Industry Growth: The power of Open Innovation” next May 21st, in which we will discover the power of Open Innovation and the different tools that food companies are promoting and contributing to their growth. Learn from top pioneers of the industry including Sainsburys and Mondelez who will offer us valuable insights into their learnings during this time, we will host Gil Horsky, Director of Innovation SnacksFuture at Mondèlez and Milena Lazarevska, Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s who reveal their secrets to the win-win of working with startups, including the tools to help companies boost growth to adapt both quickly and efficiently with ensured optimized visibility for your brand. Dont miss out, sign up

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Webinar The rise of D2C Food Startups

Last May 7th we celebrated the first of many in a series of international webinars with the aim of providing our community with opinions and insights from the main leaders in the food sector, covering the most relevant topics facing the industry at the moment. 

 

In our first webinar we had the pleasure of hosting two of the most relevant agents in the food industry, to discuss and share insights on a business model that is here to stay and the role that food startups play in its propagation: Direct-To-Consumer

 

 

 

In the “The rise of D2C FoodstartupsEmna Neifar, Chief Commercial Officer at Cortilia and Ivan Farneti, Founding Partner of Five Seasons Ventures, shared their visions and perspectives with José Luis Cabañero, CEO of Eatable Adventures, on the present and future of the D2C model.

For Emna Neifar, the model is “fascinating in terms of the amount of data these models provide and how they help us obtain fundamental insights for daily decision-making applied from a new product to new features of the service offered.”

“Direct to consumer food has managed to do well for businesses and well for society” these were the words of Ivan Farneti, who emphasized the lack of flexibility of large global corporations to adapt to this new reality and also stressed the opportunity that this now represents for startups.

José Luis Cabañero added that this growth in D2C models is a trend that has already been recognised and embraced by Eatable Adventures: the “food industry is becoming what the internet was 20 years ago and is a tremendous set of opportunities lane ahead for the companies that take the step and go forward “

 

Some relevant insights from the webinar

 

Defining D2C models and how startups are innovating

 

D2C models are the answer to a now more demanding consumer: It is delivered through storytelling on things like origin, process, environmental & social impact.

In these models the service part is just as important as the product part: this will make a resounding difference with competitors.

They have contributed a lot of techniques and mindsets from the digital world into the physical. 

We can highlight 5 types of D2C models; from the most engaged to the least: DNVB Digital Native Vertical Brands (e.g. Butternut Box), DVNR Digital Vertical Native Retailer (e.g. Cortilia), D2C as a secondary channel (e.g. Soylent), selling in big digital platforms (e.g. products in Amazon), social media awareness creation (e.g. Impossible Burger).

Benefits and barriers of D2C models

 

A great benefit is the ability to offer high traceability and freshness: Direct means a shorter supply chain. In the current situation it has offered consumers extra confidence on where their food is coming form.

They allow us access consumer information in an era where data is essential: “Optimization will become a religion” according to Ivan Farneti.

“The experience is 10 times better”, because the flexibility of startups has allowed them to develop services with a real focus on the consumer.

Startups overcome consumer mistrust barriers by developing a solid relationship with producers, creating consumer communities, and applying the correct communication.

 

How is COVID19 affecting the development of these models?

 

These models have gained market share in recent months.

The experience of convenience and quality will have an inelastic effect. People who have used these platforms for the first time will use them again in the future.

D2C Food Startups have applied three different phases: React, Adapt and Disrupt.

 

Missed this webinar? Check out the video 

 

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