If you’re adventurous with your food or just like to keep up with the fast-moving food tech industry, here’s a roundup of TechCrunch stories and some notable news we weren’t able to cover.
A few weeks ago I came across an interesting story from Vox that debated the merits of harnessing cultured meat technology to produce more exotic meats and what that could mean for the animal kingdom.
Maybe we have to blame Vow, who made headlines earlier this year for announcing that she made a woolly mammoth meatball.
To that point, NewScientist published a story this week emphasizing that it was time to “stop making lab-grown meat weird.” The author’s point is that if cultured chicken and beef are common, companies won’t have to resort to tricks like meat made from exotic or even extinct animals.
Now that the government is on board with cultured meat and restaurants are leaning toward it, maybe it’s time. Cultured meat companies just need to solve that pesky scale challenge.
Perhaps the animals themselves inspire us: BioCraft Pet Nutrition is manufacturing a line of cultured chicken for pet food. The company said this week that it is leveraging artificial intelligence to make its technology faster and cheaper to develop.
As seen on TechCrunch
Bon Vivant toasts raising $15.9 million to make versatile, animal-free dairy proteins
My colleague Natasha Lomas wrote some stories this week. The first is about France-based precision fermentation startup Bon Vivant, which announced €15 million (~$15.9 million) in new funding to continue developing its biotech techniques to reprogram yeast microorganisms to produce proteins. animal-free dairy. The vision is to produce these proteins with a substantially smaller environmental footprint than traditional dairy products.
Heura adds ‘York ham style slices’ to its 100% plant-based vegan mix
Natasha also wrote about Heura, based in Spain, which makes 100% plant-based “ham” slices. The product is expected to be in stores in Spain and France soon. Now, even if you wonder if it tastes like ham, you must admit that it is very similar to traditional sausages.
Wanda Fish sails through VC waters to capture $7 million for farmed bluefin tuna production
Meanwhile, I wrote about Wanda Fish Technologies, an early-stage company producing farmed bluefin tuna. The Israeli company recently closed new financing of $7 million to launch its production. Bluefin tuna is a popular meat option and Wanda Fish is working on whole cuts of fish fillets. The core of their technology is the use of muscle and fat cells to replicate the texture, flavor and nutritional value of wild fish.
BlueNalu is also working on farmed seafood and this week also announced $33.5 million in Series B funding.
Khosla-Backed HealthifyMe Introduces AI-Powered Image Recognition for Indian Food
A fun one for you from my colleague Ivan Mehta: Indian health and wellness startup HealthifyMe created an AI-powered feature that automatically recognizes Indian food from images to track calorie intake, allowing users to make a Track your food intake more efficiently. It’s not technically food technology, however, it reminded me of that episode of “Silicon Valley” where Jimmy O. Yang’s character created the app to tell if a plate of food was a hot dog or not.
Pow.bio says biomanufacturing isn’t working and its continuous fermentation technology will fix it
Earlier I was referring to the challenges of scaling cultured meat. Well, last week I wrote about Pow.bio, a company that aims to help synthetic biology companies make their products with cost parity. He secured $9.5 million in Series A financing to get it off the ground. I got some advice that this market is hot and heavy so expect to see more. For example, Twig, a UK-based company, signed a £3 million seed funding round to develop bioengineering capabilities in that region.
What else am I reading?
For the next time you’re hungry: Meati Foods, which makes meat alternatives using mycelium (mushrooms), entered the snack industry with a line of plant-based mushroom root jerky. This follows a $50 million Series C, which was its second round this year. Read all about Meati’s previous round and what he does.
New identity: Tindle Foods, formerly Next Gen Foods, introduced a new line of plant-based meat and dairy products, including a breakfast sausage. See more.
Our plate is getting interesting: Meet the 11 companies in the new ProVeg Incubator cohort.
This is our cup of coffee: Atomo Coffee introduced a coffee without coffee beans. They are not the only ones experimenting with coffee. Check out Compound Foods, which also makes grain-free coffee, Chamberlain Coffee, and Green Coffee Co.
Delicious berry: Novella is developing a line of bioactives derived from berries.
Partners: The Every Co. said it and Grupo Nutresa in Colombia will jointly develop pilot and industrial trials with EVERY EggWhite on Nutresa’s line of alternative meat products.
If you have an interesting tip or a lead on happenings in the worlds of food and venture tech, you can contact Christine Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or Signal at 832-862-1051. Requests for anonymity will be respected.