Pink Albatross

Pink Albatross, Interview with Co-Founder, Pepe Biaggio

We know that behind every startup there is a mission to accomplish and we would like to know a little more about what is behind Pink Albatross.

1. Tell us briefly what Pink Albatross is. Describe the main milestones throughout your development.

In Pink Albatross we make delicious, indulgent ice cream, with plant-based ingredients, so natural you can even draw them. With no additives, no ultra-processed, no shortcuts. Gluten-free. Creamy, tasty, and suitable for all consumers.
For those with a demanding palate and who are conscious consumers, those who can’t eat ice cream because of diet restrictions (lactose intolerance, vegans, celiacs), or consumers concerned for the environment and animal rights.

Milestones:

  • 2018:
    • Pink Albatross is born
  • 2019:
    • launching the product with 5 flavors
  • 2020:
    • product reformulation, channel goal focus
  • 2021:
    • 5 new flavors
    • we arrive at SPAR in the Canary Islands, to Ametller, and to Getir
    • rebranding
    • we arrive in Portugal and the Philippines
  • 2022:
    • we arrive at Glovo
    • we arrive Carrefour, La Sirena, El Corte Inglés and Costco,
    • Pink Albatross arrives in Germany, The Netherlands, and Greece
    • new format 90 ml
    • winners of the Carrefour Plant-Based Contest and 2 Great Taste Awards
    • we multiply our sales by 3 compared to last year

2. ¿ What were the main difficulties or barriers that you found along the way to moving forward with this business? How did you go through with it?

We had to overcome 4 difficulties:

  1. Good product. The hard part was that the product was an ice cream ‘without being it’ not using the traditional processes and ingredients. Creating a plant-based ice cream wasn’t hard, what was difficult was achieving the texture and flavor, also doing it only using natural ingredients, clean label processes, and for it to have a reasonably useful life to work in a supermarket or convenience store. It’s hard to find providers with clean-label products and find a formula that guarantees optimal flavor and texture. But in addition, the revolution is that there’s no resignation: everyone at home likes it because of several reasons, it’s good, it doesn’t make you feel bad (even if you are lactose intolerant for example) and its sustainable with the environment (comparing it to a dairy-based ice cream).
  2. A good product does not guarantee anything but it’s a good start! It must be combined with a brand that connects with consumers and is creative and attractive. Especially in a saturated market. There’s a huge amount of work to do in brand awareness and brand affinity. Network, special campaigns, contests, media, communications…
  3. All of this, mixed with a good distribution: when you are small company, the market doesn’t trust you. The shelves are small, so filling them with a product without knowing whether it will work is difficult. It takes a while and a big effort to get support from the market and merchants.
  4. To do all this you need people. People who are in love with the project, who believe in what they’re trying to achieve, who want to change things, who are involved, and that have initiative and desire. Because there is a lot of work
    and many hours to be able to do everything we said.

3. Taking into account the importance of ecosystems to be able to develop innovation, how would you describe the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spain? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in this ecosystem?

As time passes, Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem grows, different organizations and funds make mentors, advisors, and consolidated players with great experience and knowledge available to startups. The key points to learn to analyze certain metrics better and learn to pay attention to those aspects that allow you to grow faster, stronger, and in a sustainable way.
There is more and more development in the food world. Cases of success like Komvida or Smileat help us understand some paths that can be followed. I think what is truly beautiful about entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem is that everyone wants to help each other, we work together to make this change happen. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of room for improvement. A great percentage of startups born in Spain never get to consolidate. Additionally, moving to other locations is not easy and there is little knowledge about internationalization. For this is necessary to go to international accelerators and funds that help you to strengthen the business.

4. What opportunities for improvement do you think can come up?

A clear one is that there is little interaction between startups of different sizes and experiences. Learning from the more advanced ones is far more helpful than talking to an expert since they live the business as you do, inspiring you to help those who are behind you with pleasure (pay it forward).

We have created a small group and we try to meet and catch up every now and then, grab dinner, and talk. We also take the role of psychologists; being an entrepreneur is problematic on a personal, familiar, and financial level. Talking with people who are
walking your same path helps you not to feel that lonely and to support each other.

5. Do you think it has changed in the last few years?

Without a doubt! A few years ago communication was not encouraged. Accelerators like Eatable Adventures or Lanzadera help to build and promote this ecosystem of positive feedback. Spain, with its culinary culture, still can be more of a benchmark at a
European level for new trends in food. In addition, I think there’s still methodology missing, understanding the tools and using them to improve the productivity of each person working in a startup. There is still lots of work to uplift courage and desire to learn from new generations so that they want to start a business, and know what to do to raise it from the ground up and the sacrifice it takes.

6. In the past few years, we heard the word AgriFoodTech as the revolution of the food industry. Let’s talk about what this word means to you. How would you define it?

It’s exactly that, the revolution of the food industry. What is missing is, for what purpose? The basis for my decision is either the sustainability factor or inclusivity of the proposal at the consumer level (allergies, etc.) or the minimization or elimination of exploitation of living beings (animals, humans). For us to do something without any further objective simply because it’s more profitable is not AgriFoodTech.

7. Do you think its development can change the Spanish food industry? How so?

Without doubt. We want to eliminate dairy from the ice cream world. There is no need to use it and exploit animals. Without products, we can improve the digestion of many people and at the same time make less environmental impact. This is achieved first with a TOP product, then communicating the benefits, making people try it, and when they try it wanting to repeat it.

8. What do you think should be the fundamental support for this to happen?

There is a lot that can be done:

  • Access to short-term financing lines to finance working capital. In food industries there is more or less seasonality but there is a need to buy stock (raw materials and finished product), hold it for a period of time and then, when selling it, wait a few months to get paid. This can be a process of 2 to 6 months. Today it is financed with investors, so both they and the founders lose part of our stake in the company when we finance working capital with long-term investors who enter the capital.
  • Personnel: having greater support for hiring by supporting the hiring of employees in startups, for example with lower social security contributions or lower personal income tax. If we grow and incorporate more personnel, we are creating wealth. We need something that encourages hiring and that does not cost so much. In this way we encourage both that a person wants to work in a startup and also to be able to hire more and better people.
  • R&D&I projects: the current existing lines are restrictive, support large investments and are designed more for SMEs than for startups.
  • Promote, on the part of public entities, certain basic objectives as a society to which the distribution channels must subscribe (so that there is a real impact). For example, sustainability objectives that are so important for the subsistence of the planet and the species itself, in addition to the diversity of flora and fauna that we are destroying.
  • Facilitate entrepreneurship with less onerous regimes than the existing self-employed. And that, therefore, it is attractive to undertake.

 

Meet the EAA Alumni: COCUUS

Cocuus Javier I. Zaratiegui

Javier I. Zaratiegui – CTO & Partner of Cocuus.

We had the opportunity to interview Javier I. Zaratiegui, the CTO & Partner of Cocuus, a Spanish food tech company that develops industrial solutions for the production of plant- or cell-based animal protein analogs (mimetic food) using 2D/3D laser printing, bioprinting, and robotics. 

The company has just won the international Quality Innovation Award (QIA) in the category of Innovation in Microenterprises and Startups. 

Find out all about his experience in the Eatable Adventures Acceleration Program, and some of his secrets as you read on. 

1. What is the future potential of 3D food printing according to your vision?

 

Regardless of which technology is used to create a “new” food, the important point to us is its background and potential. 

There are two sides to this equation, on one hand, current methods have a carbon footprint that needs to be reduced, and on the other hand, the technology will help us create better foods, by balancing nutrients or encapsulating them, which results in products that are more sustainable for the environment and healthier for our bodies. 

Cocuus uses 3D printing, extrusion, thermoformed molds, laser cutting, food ink printing, and a lot of ingenuity and creativity. In recent years, new technologies for food manufacturing are making their way into the food industry. Unsurprisingly, this coincides with the time when extensive research into alternative proteins is bearing fruit. 

Today, new manufacturing techniques can and ought to be used to develop these new proteins into new products, taking into consideration fermentation, mycelium, insect proteins, algae, and even cells grown in laboratories and multiplied in bioreactors. This is already a reality and provides consumers with more choices.

2. How have Eatable Adventures helped Cocuus achieve its goals?

 

Eatable Adventures has been a turning point in our roadmap. Among other things, it inspired us to change the mentality necessary for our startup to transform into a business. At the very beginning, we saw that our knowledge was very focused on creating machines, and Eatable Adventures showed the potential we could have if those machines were directed toward solving the problems of large food industries. It was a before and after. 

Before we met Eatable Adventures, we were also making technologies but focused on chefs, restaurants, catering companies, and events, among others. We provided our clients with tools to create new dishes, decorate or combine them with technology to impress their guests. That’s how we began, with laser cutting machines, printing, and food ink.

3. What is the most valuable piece of advice José Luis has given you during our Acceleration Program?

 

We have had some memorable moments with José Luis. Perhaps the best one was when he “challenged” us to manufacture a machine that could be able to make large parts (whole cuts) since that was what the industry demanded. 

Saying to someone from the Navarra region like Patxi Larumbe “I bet you can’t make a printed cutlet…” meant to set the flame to this project. As a result, a new chapter began in this whole acceleration process: large corporations, large international investment funds, and also many media outlets started to contact us. José Luis has been very helpful to us in facing this whole process, which was completely new for us, and he has provided us with knowledge about his perspective and experience before making some important decisions.

4. What is your vision for Cocuus in the short, medium, and long term?

“Focus Cocuus. In the short term, we are focusing on a few projects before tackling other bigger challenges. We know there is a lot of competition in our field and we want to finish our machines in the short term and test their robustness and reliability before offering them to new customers. The same goes for us in international markets. We hope to learn and resolve any necessary adjustments to these first pilot lines on the mainland and later jump into Asia as well as America and Europe, in all three areas at the same time. For this, we must strengthen some departments of the company and continue with the contacts we have been making to understand what each of these markets demands. We don’t go in with a solution or a product and look for someone to buy it from us; what we do is find out what our customer needs and then offer him an adapted solution. It’s the same for us to make a shrimp machine or a steak machine. What we are very clear about is that we only take on large production projects. We have already left behind the projects for a few restaurants, now we are targeting large manufacturers or distributors in the food industry. 

In the medium term, when all the projects are already on the market, we will then be able to assess which ones are more interesting for the company. With each step, we learn and evaluate what the next step will be. At the beginning, we made salmon from bio-gels and food dyes, although we were told that there would be more marketable if we made tuna or shrimp. Because of this lack of market knowledge, what we decided to do and continue doing is to let ourselves be advised by experts like Eatable Adventures, and shift when we decide to do so. 

In the long term, I don’t know what we will do at Cocuus. What is clear to me is that the future of cell reproduction will be marked by factories that produce mass quantities of cells in short periods of time by just passing through bioreactors. There is where Cocuus wants to be, making these technologies to convert those cells into final products. At least today, we don’t contemplate making final products for the consumer; our focus is exclusively on developing machines and technologies for others. We are happy with what we do, but the door is always open to a “Refocus Cocuus”.

 

Mylkcubator’s First Demo Day Features Four Startups Developing The Dairy Of The Future Through Cellular Agriculture Technologies

demoday mylkcubator

The first edition of Mylkcubator, the incubation program launched by Pascual Innoventures in collaboration with Eatable Adventures, has held its eagerly anticipated Demo Day event showcasing the advances of the first cohort of startups, at its headquarters in Manoteras, Madrid.

The program not only showcased pioneering dairy projects around the world but also laid the foundation for a new path of development and innovation for the industry to face some of its greatest challenges.

As a culmination of the six-month incubation program, the participating startups presented their final pitches, paving the way for future funding rounds that will allow them to pursue their innovative development and research:  

  • De Novo Dairy, a startup based in South Africa with a mission to create the future of nutrition, the company uses precise fermentation technology to produce animal-free dairy proteins that provide the same sensory experience and nutrition as traditional dairy counterparts. De Novo Dairy is currently developing high-value proteins for the dairy industry.
  • Spanish startup Real Deal Milk develops casein and whey proteins through precision fermentation technologies with the same functional properties as traditional dairy components, with the aim to produce dairy substitutes equivalent to traditional dairy. 
  • Using bioengineering & microbial fermentation, Zero Cow Factory is reinventing dairy ingredients with India’s first milk and milk products (certainly the world’s first A2 milk protein) using bioengineering the microbes & microbial fermentation. The Zero Cow team is developing a proprietary technique to recreate milk proteins to develop real dairy products that are ethical, safe, delicious, and identical to cow milk.
  • Pure™ Mammary Factors based in the USA are accelerating the state of the art in cell-cultured dairy by crashing the cost of production by the development of growth factors used in culture media. The startup aims to make cell-cultured human milk affordable and accessible by selling food-grade off-the-shelf growth factors around the world.

Pascual Innoventures is committed to driving innovation to create a more sustainable future for all, anticipating the current trends that will shape the foods of the future. Due to the success of the first edition of Mylkcubator, Pascual Innoventures has already announced the call for the second edition of the program.

According to Sejal Ravji, director of Pascual Innoventures, “the success of the Mylkcubator Demo Day not only reaffirms the great response this program has had in the sector worldwide but also confirms what we at Innoventures already knew, in order to develop the dairy products of the future we have to continue to invest in transformational innovation and ambitious technological projects, as is the case with the four startups that have been working with us since the start of Mylkcubator six months ago”.

Furthermore, according to Jose Luis Cabañero, founder and CEO of Eatable Adventures, “In the coming years, we expect to see increased innovation in the alternative protein space, with breakthroughs in cellular agriculture and precision fermentation technologies. Mylkcubator is a pioneering global program that is and will continue to be at the forefront of developing the dairy of the future.”

Webinar: El sector FoodTech español – Estado y oportunidades para su internacionalización 2021.

El pasado viernes 29 de enero, Eatable Adventures formó parte de un increíble evento virtual organizado por ICEX; hablamos del webinario: “El sector foodtech español: situación y oportunidades para su internacionalización 2021”.

El objetivo del webinar fue la presentación del Informe Anual de FoodTech de ICEX España Exportaciones e Inversiones. Un informe que se desarrolló con la finalidad de generar el primer análisis del ecosistema alimentario del país, que además pretende fomentar el diálogo entre protagonistas de la cadena agroalimentaria, aceleradoras y empresas foodtech para que toda esta fuerza innovadora se transforme en un elemento diferencial que posicione a las empresas en los mercados internacionales. En esta apasionante jornada además se destacó el papel fundamental que poseen las diferentes herramientas que ICEX España puede ofrecer a las empresas para impulsar su internacionalización durante este año 2021

A lo largo del webinar se puso en manifiesto la relevancia de España como potencia emergente y sólida en tecnología agroalimentaria, líder mundial en la producción agroalimentaria y con una sólida trayectoria gastronómica. Nuestro país ha logrado combinar el trabajo y la investigación tecnológica para impulsar nuevas innovaciones alimentarias, nuevas startups emergentes y la aplicación de la más alta tecnología en los últimos años. 

Para mantener un prestigio mundial es necesario el desarrollo y aplicación de nuevas tecnologías que estén a la vanguardia y que aporten eficiencia, valor y sostenibilidad a la cadena de valor alimentaria, despertando así el interés de los inversores tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. El sistema alimentario español continúa no sólo adoptando la innovación y aumentando la producción de alimentos resilientes, sino también impulsando la colaboración de centros de investigación, nuevas empresas innovadoras, empresas consolidadas, universidades y, por supuesto, medios de inversión, para así ofrecer una visión clara para el futuro y su consolidación como una próxima potencia en tecnología alimentaria.

Importantes expertos de la industria se unieron a este evento virtual y ofrecieron sus opiniones y conocimientos sobre las claves detrás de la inversión en la tecnología alimentaria española, su desarrollo y el papel de los diferentes agentes de la industria, junto con la importancia que tiene promoverla a nivel global. 

El Director de Financiación y Relaciones con Inversores de Invest in Spain, Alberto Sanz, profundizó en la importancia de tener programas nacionales que agrupen ecosistemas a nivel sectorial para facilitar el contacto con inversores internacionales, destacando los servicios que el país ofrece a los inversores extranjeros que deseen establecer su negocio en España y contribuir al posicionamiento de España como la nación de tecnología alimentaria en la que invertir.

También se presentó el nuevo portal FoodTech de Food and Wine Spain, por parte de la Directora de Alimentos, Vinos y Gastronomía,  Maria Naranjo, afirmando que se trata de un paso fundamental en la visibilidad internacional del sector. Y, Jorge Alvar, Director de Infraestructuras, Sanidad y TIC, analizó una serie de programas de innovación y acompañamiento para ayudar al crecimiento internacional del sector.

¿Quieres saber más? Puedes descargar este informe exclusivo, “Foodtech en España: impulsando un sistema alimentario más sostenible y eficiente”.

 

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