4 technologies tackling food waste in the supply chain

Food waste statistics are easily misunderstood. Between all the stakeholders, consumers contribute the largest quantity of food waste — 27 million tons per year or 43% of the total, according to Refed, a U.S. nonprofit tasked with reducing food waste.

That stat alone has led to educational campaigns and ugly produce delivery services encouraging consumers to waste less​ and change the way they think about fresh produce.

But a recent analysis by the Boston Consulting Group determined the role of private sector companies is the “most critical” in the fight against food waste. Supply chain infrastructure and efficiency alone could reduce the amount of food wasted by $270 billion (in value) of what the report estimates to be a $1.5 trillion problem by 2050.

Read the full story at www.SupplyChainDive.com.

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Former Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb Joins S2G Ventures as Exec-in-Residence

In the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods just over a year ago, some of the company’s brightest talent have been entering the agrifood tech investment ecosystem.

Former vice president of grocery Errol Schweizer is now on the board of farm to consumer delivery service Good Eggs, insect farm Aspire Food Group and a large handful of other startups. Former global director of local brands product innovation Elly Truesdell is now chief strategy officer at consumer packaged goods (CPG) investor Canopy Foods.

But, the brightest talent of these departures is former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, who saw the acquisition through and left the company to form Stonewall Robb Advisors in 2017 to advise, invest in and mentor individuals and organizations committed to social justice and animal welfare.

Today, Chicago-based agrifood VC S2G Ventures announced that Robb will serve as executive-in-residence at the firm, helping the team identify new investments and mentor portfolio entrepreneurs who are moving the food system toward sustainability and health.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

Five Cultured Meat Startups Raise Funding as Fledgling Industry Comes into Focus

So far in 2018, at least five startups using cellular agriculture, the science behind cultured meat that can be used to manufacture many animal products in a lab setting, have raised funds as this fledgling industry diversifies and grows.

First in January, SuperMeat, an Israeli cultured meat startup, raised a $3 million seed round to develop its cultured chicken product. Also that month, Tyson Food Ventures joined Memphis Meats’s $17 million Series A round, originally announced last August.

In March, Wild Earth,  a Berkeley, California-based startup focusing on pet food raised a $4 million seed round. Just a few weeks later, The Wild Type, a San Francisco-based startup raised a $3.5 million seed round to focus on culturing salmon.

Perfect Day Foods, a California startup using cellular agriculture to produce dairy products raised a $24.7 million Series A round earlier this month.

And though its not quite funding news, it is also notable that, JUST (formerly Hampton Creek), which has forecasted that it would have a cultured meat product on shelves this year, lost its director of cellular agriculture and another leading researcher in January, who then incorporated a company called Mission Barns, according to Gizmodo. The JUST positions have since been filled. 

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

HelloFresh Taps Spoiler Alert to Cut Food Waste by 65%

In less than a year, international meal kit player HelloFresh has reduced its land-fill bound waste by 65% with the help of Boston-based startup Spoiler Alert, a software and professional services startup that helps food businesses manage unsold inventory.

The meal kit company contacted Spoiler Alert in the spring of 2017 and began a pilot with HelloFresh’s New Jersey distribution center in July. By December, they were ready to roll out the program in all of HelloFresh’s US centers. HelloFresh delivered 39.5 million meals to customers in the three-month period from October 2017 to December 2017.

“[Spoiler Alert] integrates very easily into our data infrastructure. We first tested it at one site and our Table to Table [food rescue] partner was very positive on the tool. We very quickly went from an initial screen to the pilot,” HelloFresh COO and managing director Uwe Voss told AgFunderNews.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

What Happened in Plant-Based Protein in 2017?

The plant-based protein startups using technology to create and mass produce their products have traditionally received support from a small, but dedicated group of investors, which is increasingly being joined by major food and agriculture players as this trend solidifies.

“We’ve been flooded with deals and opportunities because so many different companies are looking for the type of capital we offer,” said Lisa Feria, the CEO of one such investment firm, Stray Dog Capital to AgFunderNews in September.

But the trend toward plant sources of protein isn’t investor created. According to a Nielsen study released in August, 23% of North American consumers want to see more plant-based protein options in stores. The study indicates that consumers are interested in more plant-based protein options outside of a vegetarian or vegan label since those two categories remain at 6% and 3% of North American consumers respectively. 

So is this growing consumer preference being met with funding of new startups with the potential to add variety to grocery shelves? Here are the most prominent events in the plant-based proteins from 2017.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

Who are the Leading Insect Farming Startups?

You can tell that the public is captivated by a particular food, when its mere existence on a menu makes the news. Insects are one such ingredient. Cricket ice creamcricket granolacricket meatballscricket barscricket pastacricket chipssilkworm chips mealworm burgers, and fruit fly oil have all made headlines all over the world.

Insect farming is frequently touted as a more sustainable alternative to animal protein, particularly as the quality of the protein insects offer is actually quite high. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), “insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g., crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.” Further, insects require very little land or energy to produce, and they can be produced all year round.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com

What Do Farmers Think About Cultured Meat?

It’s no secret that many efforts to enhance animal welfare through the promotion and development of plant-based alternatives to animal products may not be good news for farmers. The tension often comes out in lawsuits around using words like “milk” to describe products that contain no dairy, but the emotions and fears run deeper.

Cultured meat — meat manufactured in a laboratory using cellular agriculture techniques traditionally used in the medical field — is another new technology that has the potential to fundamentally change market dynamics for livestock farmers all over the world.

The day before National Farmers Day in the US, a panel discussion at the New Harvest Conference in Brooklyn, New York on October 11 sought to discuss the impact of the nascent cellular agriculture industry on farming. New Harvest is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to the advancement of cultured meat.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.