Best of the web-August

By David Stevenson on Thursday 9 September 2021

Best of the web-August
Image source: Oatly products/ Oatly
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Our monthly round-up of the best sector articles from the rest of the internet.

This really matters… probably missed this, but ignore at your peril

Oatly 1 : Alt milk giant loses case against Glebe Farm

In the case against small UK producer Glebe Farm lodged by Oatly for an alleged trademark infringement, the judge has today thrown out all of the charges and ruled that there were no trademark violations.

Oatly 2 : Opens another big US factory

Swedish oat milk giant Oatly is to open its third US production facility in Fort Worth, Texas. At 280,000 square feet, it will be the company’s biggest factory in North America. The new plant is expected to create 100 jobs and produce around 150 million litres of oat milk per year, with space to expand if needed. It will allow Oatly to meet the rapidly growing demand for its products, which is set to outpace supply.

Food industry kicks back 1 : Brazilian seafood industry protests

Eduardo Lobo, president of Brazilian seafood processors association ABIPESCA and a partner in Prime Seafood, continued, as quoted by Intra Fish: “You can’t call something by a name that it isn’t. “This doesn’t exist…it’s tricking the public.”

Food industry kicks back 2 : Californian alt creamery wins key legal action – can use butter in title

Last week, the case was finally resolved, with Judge Richard Seeborg agreeing that Miyoko could continue to use the terms “butter”, “lactose-free”, and “cruelty-free” — though it would no longer be able to label its products as “hormone-free”.

and also raises money in seed round

More Miyoko’s Creamery

Food industry kicks back 3 : Australia meat producers say consumers are misled

According to the organisation, 60% of those surveyed said they found the packaging misleading, while 75% believed it should not be legal for plant-based products to be described as meat. The Council claims that older people and those who don’t speak English as a first language are especially vulnerable to being misled because the products are packaged similarly to conventional meat.

Synbio specialist in partnership to produce synthetic silk

US biotech company Bolt Threads has announced a partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks, a company creating a platform that allows users to “program cells as easily as computers”. Through the collaboration, Bolt Threads hopes to make the manufacturing process for its synthetic silk protein more sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective. Called b-silk™, the product is inspired by spider silk, and clinical trials have shown that it has benefits for the skin. It has the potential to replace some synthetic, environmentally damaging ingredients in skin and hair care products.

UK biotech launches seamless platform for alternatives sector

Unicorn Biotechnologies has just launched this month to offer its manufacturing platform to help other cell-ag companies get to market. The British biotech startup, based between Cambridge and Sheffield, has developed a fully automated production solution that it describes as seamless and affordable, helping companies who are making everything from cell-based meat get “from the lab bench to supermarket shelves.”

IPOs and market talk… meets the investing community

Listed players get in on the act 1: Danish biotech giant Novozymes enters plant based space with new US plant

Danish biotech giant Novozymes has entered into a contract with an unnamed key player in the plant-based industry. As part of the contract, it will invest 2 billion Danish kroner into an alt-protein production line in Nebraska.

Listed players get in on the act 2: Ingredients specialist Givaudin working with synbio specialist Gingko Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks has landed a multi-year partnership with Swiss ingredients giant Givaudan, which will see the two firms develop a series of bio-based products enabling new fermentation-based sustainable ingredients. Givaudan will use Ginkgo’s expertise in programming cells “as easily as we can program computers” as the firm looks to expand its sustainable offerings across multiple sectors, from fragrances to F&B and pharmaceutical applications.

New products?......coming to a high street near you

Mainstream restaurants embrace alternatives 1 : Chipotle launches new alt protein product

According to Chipotle, the “craveable” menu item is vegan-certified and free of soy, gluten, and grains. It is made from pea protein, ancho chili peppers, chipotle, tomato paste, garlic, smoked paprika, and extra virgin olive oil. Initially, it will only be available for a limited time.

Mainstream restaurants embrace alternatives 2 : KFC Thailand serving Vegan fried chicken

KFC Thailand has just added plant-based fried chicken to its menus in two of its Green Stores. The dishes, Plant-Based Chicken Pop and Spicy Rice Bowl with Plant-Based Chicken Pop, which will be available in 6 different combos and meal sets in the two outlets, are made using the vegan analogue made by Meat Zero, a homegrown plant-based brand launched by Bangkok-based food giant CPF.

Mainstream restaurants embrace alternatives 3 : Vegan steak launches in US steak house

Diners in Sacramento, CA, will have the opportunity this Saturday to enjoy an animal-free steak in a traditional American steak house. In a one-off event, Bennett’s American Cooking will serve a Rhiza mycoprotein steak made by the Better Meat Co.

Mainstream restaurants embrace alternatives 4 : US pizza chain introduces meat free Italian sausage version

Made with non-GMO pea protein, the sausage contains 12g of protein per serving and is free of gluten, soy, and artificial ingredients. It can be added as a topping to any pizza or salad on the menu. The chain has also launched a limited-edition pizza topped with the sausage. Called the Willow, it comes in both vegetarian and vegan versions.

UK vegan burger restaurant opens fourth branch

“We are incredibly excited to announce that our next restaurant will be opening in Manchester! Manchester has been a huge goal for us right from the start, and after spending a year sourcing the right site, we couldn’t be more excited to be launching our biggest restaurant site to date later this year.

OmniPork now in 200 US Whole Foods stores

OmniFoods, the food tech arm of leading Asian alternative protein company and social movement Green Monday, has just made its US retail debut at 200 Whole Foods in 16 states across the country. The company announced that starting today, consumers will be able to buy the 100% vegan OmniPork Ground and OmniPork Strip in the fresh food aisles of the specialty natural foods grocer

Just’s Vegan egg arrives in South Korea

Just Egg is continuing its Asian expansion, launching in South Korea, where there’s currently an egg shortage as a result of the avian flu. With an egg shortage that could last well into 2022, egg prices are on the rise across South Korea. San Francisco-based Just Egg is hoping to capitalize on it, bringing its vegan, mung-bean egg first to foodservice, through a distribution partnership with the bakery café chains Paris Baguette and Paris Croissant.

Vegan fish fillet launces

The soy-based Moving Mountains fish tastes and flakes similar to traditional whitefish, and provides 10g of protein and 4.5g of fibre. It is free of hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs, and contains no cholesterol. According to the company, it generates fewer GHGs and needs fewer resources to create compared to animal-based meat.

The last Mile…getting new products into the kitchen

Home delivery food kit supplier Hello Fresh adds vegan products to its mix in Australia

Hello Fresh, one of the largest meal-kit brands in Australia has decided to expand its vegan offerings to address the growing demand for plant-based meat in the country. Consumers can now opt for a carbon-neutral plant-based mince from homegrown company Fenn Foods.

The Next Big Thing…..what we believe might become the ‘new new ‘thing

Alternative doner kebab launched in the UK

Swedish plant-based brand Oumph! this week launched a new product – Oumph! Kebab Döner Style – into Iceland supermarkets in the UK. The new vegan kebab is made from pea protein, is gluten-free, and comes in “shaved” pieces like traditional kebab meat.

Shiok Meats launches cell based crab meat at private event

In a collaboration with Chef José Luis Del Amo of TheTasteLab, Shiok Meats presented Crab Cake and Chilli Crab, complemented by Lobster-flavored Potato Chips and Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, all prepared with Shiok Meats’ cell-based meats.

Is Jackfruit the next big thing ?

Jackfruit is all the rage right now, with herbivores and the plant-curious alike dubbing it the perfect natural vegan substitute for everything from pulled pork burgers to meaty stews. But one startup, based in Malaysia, believes meat-loving consumers will be a little more convinced if they add the real deal in. The brand, Nanka, is offering one 100% vegan jackfruit patty along with two “blended” product. Will it take off or just simply confuse consumers?

Or is the next big thing Lupin beans ?

Lupin beans, also known as lupini beans, are a nutritional powerhouse. These round mustard-coloured beans are full of fibre, contain all nine amino acids, and are packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium. Lupin beans, which the ancient Romans were big fans of, are also incredibly sustainable to grow, contributing to soil-friendly crop rotations.

Or maybe even Carob ??

FoodTech and agriTech startup CarobWay, Ltd. is cultivating the ancient superfruit carob, which according to the founder, can grow on land such as deserts where no other crops are able to grow. Not only that, but its sugar is low glycemic index, a perfect natural sweetener, provides energy, and is suitable for diabetes sufferers.

Plant based hard boiled egg debuts

Crafty Counter, a Texan startup known for its plant-based Wunder Nuggets, has debuted what it claims to be the world’s first 100% plant-based hard-boiled egg. The alternative, WunderEggs, which cooks, looks and tastes like a real chicken egg, is set to launch on the market before the end of 2021.

3D printed burger in US pilot at major colleges

SavorEat has announced it will be partnering with French foodservice company Sodexo to carry out a pilot program in the US. This partnership will allow the Israeli startup’s plant-based burgers to be served at American colleges. SavorEat’s burgers are unique in that they are 3D printed and produced by a robot chef.

Wider AgTech space….farming is digitized and food revolutionised

Fieldin raises $30m in Series B

Fieldin's agricultural operating system (AgOS) empowers commercial farmers to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, using real-time data and performance management tools to digitize the operations of an industry that has been slow to embrace the technological revolution. The AgOS leverages machine learning and AI to provide custom recommendations for the management of key work processes, supporting crop health and yields, improving sustainability, and boosting overall efficiency and profits.

Market Growth? …the helicopter view

Bloomberg Intelligence report predicts huge growth in Alt proteins

A report by Bloomberg Intelligence, titled Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth, has predicted that the value of the plant-based market will soar from $29.4 billion in 2020 to $162 billion by 2030.

Food market data firm shines spotlight on alt proteins sector

e data showed plant-based producer MorningStar Farms and its Incogmeato range enjoyed 94% annual growth and 30% of the market share, although they had lost customers to second place in the market Beyond Meat with 19%. Gardein is the next biggest competitor with 16%. The report also analyzed growth in specific pre-purchase search terms which show increased consumer interest in the sector, with words ‘Plant-Based’ growing 148% and ‘Vegan’ up 88%.

Excellent investment research overview of fish food sector

Fish is a relatively efficient source of protein, as its feed conversion ratio is lower than that of any traditionally farmed meat. Cattle is the most inefficient source of protein, as it takes a substantial amount of feed and water (and land) for each kilogram or calorie of meat. In addition, it takes a significant amount of time to rear the animals before they can be slaughtered. In this respect, fish is more efficient.

Majority of Brits up for alt proteins

A new study conducted by Appinio has asked 1000 British people about their attitudes to plant-based products. The results show that 64% of people have bought vegan products within the past year.

Watching the VCs

AgFunder raises $21m for alt proteins fund

New Carnivore has made seven investments to date, co-investing with leading VCs such as a16z, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and DCVC, as well as celebrities like Natalie Portman, John Legend, and Jay-Z. The fund is targeting 20 investments overall.

Further reading….articles which drill down into the space

UK think tank pushes cultured meat as option

A report by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) said that encouraging the consumption of “alternative proteins” that do not come from animals would be politically easier for ministers than taxing traditional meats.

and Times columnist also embraces alt proteins

Green Queen’s feature overview of Vegan Burger Wars

An excellent over view of the main competitors in the vegan burger

Green Queen feature overview of African space

a rising cohort of startups across the African continent are making vegan meat tailored to Nigerian cuisine, cultured seafood in South Africa and so much more. Beyond entrepreneurs, the ecosystem is being supported by African VCs and nonprofits too.

China watching

Celex raises $4.3m for 3D printed pork

CellX was founded last year by a science-led team, and is reportedly one of just a handful of companies in China working on developing cultured meat directly from animal cells. The company’s team of 25 scientists is currently working on the development of the firm’s 3D bio-printed cultured meat structures and scaffolding prototypes, which it recently unveiled at a tasting event.


Rebellyous founder on Impact Podcast

Dealflow…..funding news from the last month

North America 1 : Plantible raises $21.5m in Series A

Plantible was founded in 2018 by Tony Martens and Maurits van de Ven with the goal of reshaping the world’s food supply chain. Speaking with vegconomist in a previous interview, the founders explained that duckweed imitates the characteristics of animal-based proteins: “Being considered one of the world’s most sustainable and nutrient-dense plants, lemna contains one of the most valuable proteins in the world; a protein that behaves just like egg-whites and has an amino acid profile that is comparable to whey, while also being allergen-free and non-GMO. That is why we are developing innovative technologies to cultivate and process this mesmerizing plant.”

North America 2 : Californian Mishas Kind Foods secures seed funding

Los Angeles-based Misha’s Kind Foods has announced the closing of its seed round with $3 million. The round was led by several investors, including Marcy Ventures Partners, the VC co-founded by Jay-Z which has previously backed Impossible Foods, Lisa Shamus & Partners, and Chris Paul, the NBA all-star often nicknamed “CP3”. Misha’s says the funds will be used to expand its retail distribution, grow its team, and product innovation.

North America 3 : Biftek snags money from Canadian investor Cult Food Science

Biftek was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Ankara, Turkey. The company produces an animal-free, non-GMO, natural growth medium that makes cultured meat more affordable. Biftek is a business-to-business company that uses a novel culture medium supplement formula to grow muscle stem cells. Currently, growing stem cells requires fetal bovine serum (“FBS”), which accounts for 80-90% of production costs. Biftek’s formulation is expected to dramatically reduce the cost of producing cellular agricultural products, enabling food technology companies to reduce production costs, achieve economies of scale and offer cultured meat to the general population.

North America 4: Canadian firm raises $2.6m in seed raise

Vancouver-based TMRW Foods announced this week a seed round investment of $2.6 million from investors including Greg Blake, Co-founder of Daiya, and Richard Cooperstein, CEO & Senior Managing Partner of Media Investment Group, former Senior Executive at Disney‘s Worldwide Television Group, Paramount Pictures & Facebook.

North America 5 : NovoNutrients raises $4.7m to uses carbon emissions as proteins

The company uses a fermentation process similar to the one that helps convert grapes into wine. Instead of grapes though, NovoNutrients takes naturally occurring microbes that live on CO2 and hydrogen to create protein flours. It claims that the ingredients are highly nutritious and the amino-acid profiles are better than soy ones. The ingredients can be incorporated in plant-based foods as well as for animal feeds.

North America 6 : Veggie only burger brand secures $2.8m

Founded in March 2020, Actual Veggies offers a range of quarter-pound, chef-crafted veggie burger patties made with fresh produce and grains. There are four colourful burgers in their lineup, featuring ingredients like beetroot, carrots, broccoli and black beans, and each patty is named accordingly with the colour of the vegetable used.

UK : Veg Capital invests in Clive’s Purely Plants

Known as an innovator of plant-based pies, as well as for its expanding range of vegan baked goods, Clive’s was founded in 1986 by Clive Lowe, who began selling the bakery’s signature ‘Creamy Mushroom Pie’ from the back of his bicycle. In 2020, the much-loved British pie-maker announced that its previously vegetarian range was to go entirely plant-based, and is currently stocked nationwide in Waitrose, Morrisons, and Ocado. It is also now exporting to the US, Australia, and Dubai.

LatAm / Europe :: Biotech startup Protera raises $10m in Series A

Founded in 2015 in Chile by Leonardo Álvarez and Francia Navarrete, the company works through a proprietary deep learning algorithm called ‘madi’. The company’s tech inspects billions of amino acid combinations and the potential properties. In 2016, Protera was a part of Silicon Valley-based IndieBio, a biology-focused accelerator.

Europe 1 : Swedish alt dairy start up raises $20m

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur Sorosh Tavakoli and food scientist Anja Leissner in Stockholm, Stockeld Dreamery evolved around the core concept of creating cheese in new and innovative ways without animals. The new €16.5 million funding round was led by Astanor Ventures and Northzone, with Kale United among the investors.

Europe 2 : Swedish startup raises money for fermented animal fat

Melt&Marble, a Swedish company tapping precision fermentation to make sustainable animal-free fats, has secured €750,000 in fresh funds. The seed round proceeds will go towards scaling up the company’s fermentation-based fat platform, which aims to “erase” the taste gap when it comes to plant-based meat alternatives by supplying “delicious animal fats without the animal”.

Europe 3: Swiss Planted Foods raises $12m in series B

Though currently best known for its pea-based chicken pieces and pulled pork, Planted is also using fermentation to develop whole cuts of plant-based meat. The company says progress has been rapid and it expects to launch the whole cuts towards the end of the year.

Australia 1 : v2Food snags huge A$72m funding

Australia’s v2food has announced the closing of a US$54 million Series B Plus funding round, which in addition to its US$57 million round in October 2020, brings the company’s total funds raised to US$138 million. The company reports that, in just two and a half years, its value has increased from $2 million to over $500 million.

Australia 2 : superfood vegan meat analogues raises $4.5m

Founded in mid-2020, Harvest B is a B2B startup offering food brands its smart ingredient system to make nutritious, superfood plant-based meats. Its aim is to overcome the common consumer complaint that plant-based meats are overly processed, by helping companies make clean label, whole foods-based vegan meat analogues.  While soy, wheat, and pea protein are the most widely used plant protein ingredients, Harvest B wants to widen the net by drawing on the nearly 400,000 known plant species. This means diversifying the nutrients we can take from plants, but also providing an added stream of revenue to farmers.

Australia 3 : AllG Foods raises A$16m

Looking to become a big player in the Australian alt protein landscape, All G Foods currently has two brands in its portfolio; Love BUDS Meat – a plant-based alt meat producer, and Milkcell – a precision fermentation alt dairy developer. All G Foods has also signed a retail deal with independent supermarket chain IGA for its first product, the Love BUDS Burger.

Asia 1 : Shiok Meats snaps up Gaia Foods

According to Shiok Meats, its acquisition of Gaia Foods will help expand both companies’ efforts in the cell-based meat arena, creating a “collaborative mindset” that helps to add value to the industry. This will make Shiok the leading cell-based producer across the meat aisle.