Yesterday, AFN brought you the first six of 12 innovative startups that are being showcased at next week’s F&A Next 2022 summit.
Below, we profile the second batch of six, who are providing solutions in everything from winegrowing and mycelial fermentation to urban food delivery and restaurant waste mitigation.
And if you’re keen to head along to the event (in person or online) in Wageningen, the Netherlands on Wednesday and Thursday next week, there are only a handful of tickets left; grab one here while you can, and get a special discount for AFN readers by using the code AFN22.
Terraview is a software-as-a-service platform for the winegrowing industry.
Much like the hops-dependent beer industry (see Ekonoke, which we profiled yesterday), wine producers increasingly find themselves tackling the adverse effects of climate change. They now have to deal with more frequent frosts, hail, and wildfires, among other hazards.
“Climate change is already here and we are seeing undeniable impact unfold across the world. The role technology will have on creating solutions to navigate it is imminent,” says co-founder and CEO Prateek Srivastava.
Terraview’s software helps producers anticipate and resolve challenges relating to weather, disease, labor, harvests, and water. Users can then make data-backed decisions that save time and reduce costs.
The startup has so far served over 200 users in 10 countries including the US, Canada, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina. To get there, it had to overcome an air of mistrust created by predecessors that failed to deliver on their promises. Other challenges it has faced include data being locked-ip in legacy systems, and the lack of clear digital transformation strategies among prospective clients.
“We foresee our platform as a way to augment the generational knowledge and traditions followed by practitioners in agriculture, and to ensure primary industries are better equipped for tomorrow not just to survive, but to continue to thrive,” Srivastava says.
Innomy makes meat alternatives by isolating and culturing fungi tissues. It does this through solid state fermentation, unlike most other mycoprotein companies, which produce the mycelium in liquid state bioreactors.
This gives Innomy’s product its unique quality: it has a naturally cellular structure, meaning no structuring additives or further modifications are needed.
What’s more is that the nutritional profile of Innomy’s product is enhanced by the fungal mycelium.
“Most vegan alternatives for meat are highly processed and contain structuring additives, and many of them are not complete in terms of nutrients,” co-founder and CEO Juan Pablo De Giacomi tells AFN.
“Some consumer sectors are not yet fully aware of the composition and processing behind the allegedly ‘natural’ alternatives they find in the market. We are convinced that conscious consumers are growing in number and that they will act as a reference group for the former.”
Spain-based Innomy is now gearing up to enter Denmark, France, and the UK as soon as it secures industrial and commercial partners in those markets.
Germany’s Biorena is a grocery delivery startup that supplies city-dwellers with organic produce from countryside growers.
“More and more people are looking for convenient and easy access to high-quality, regionally-sourced organic food,” says Biorena’s founder, Clemens Rengier. “People are growing more conscious of environmental issues and the importance of sustainable agricultural models, whilst being limited in their free time and wishing for convenient offers of modern digital grocery shopping.”
Founded this year and based in Munich, the startup is aiming to expand to other cities in Germany by early 2023.
According to Rengier, however, food e-commerce penetration in Germany is very low, lying at around 2% of the market. The greatest challenge for the startup has been in convincing consumers to purchase online.
Biorena is striving to educate them about the benefits; these include greater transparency on the origin of the produce, higher convenience, better product quality, and a more diverse assortment.
NoPalm Ingredients makes sustainable microbial oils that can be used in place of palm oil. It ferments agrifood sidestreams such as rejected vegetables and other biomass to produce its oils, thereby tackling wastage as well.
According to Statista, around 73.9 million tonnes of palm oil was consumed globally in between 2021 to this year. It is also used in 60% of daily consumer products, according to NoPalm Ingredients – appearing in everything from food to cosmetics and detergents.
This huge demand for palm oil has devastating effects on the environment. Oil palms require the humid climate of the tropics to thrive. This means that rainforests in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa are being cleared to give way for palm plantations – leading to deforestation, carbon emissions, and the loss of wildlife.
“Other alternative vegetable oils are even worse for the planet in terms of land use and the resources needed to produce as much oil as a palm trees. Given this, our microbial oil is a necessary and truly sustainable alternative,” says Lars Langhout, co-founder and CEO, NoPalm Ingredients.
The startup aims to build a pilot plant in 2023 and to begin manufacturing its oils on an industrial scale in 2024, initially to serve the cosmetics and food industries.
“Down the line, making the end consumer know that our microbial oil is safe and the best alternative to palm oil is important. Given that fermentation is becoming mainstream, we believe there will be a high adoption rate,” Langhout says.
According to the UN Environment Program, about a third of all food produced globally for human consumption is thrown away. The food wasted in Europe alone could feed an estimated 200 million people each year.
“An average foodservice outlet loses some 10-20% of their purchasing volume to the waste bin, accumulating to over 10,000 kilograms of edible food loss annually on average, per venue,” says Olaf van der Veen, co-founder and CEO of Orbisk.
The startup is stepping in to help kitchens solve their food wastage problem. Its tech, named Orbi, measures how much food and what kind is thrown away, at what time of the day.
The Netherlands-based startup today operates in Belgium, Spain, France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK.
“Oftentimes it is hard for our clients to believe how much food is actually wasted in their own kitchen,” says van der Veen. “The product has a very positive ROI, between two to 10 times.”
Eatch has developed an automated kitchen model that produces high-quality, gourmet meals at restaurant scale. It’s a response to the need for healthy, tasty, and freshly cooked food in an era where consumers do not have the energy or time to cook at home.
The Dutch startup deploys the technology in a hub-and-spoke model, cooking fresh meals from scratch each morning in a commissary kitchen before shipping them the same day to local spokes. It’s able to produce over 2,500 meals per day, cooking 32 meals individually at the same time.
“The world is getting unhealthier by the year. At this moment, over 50% of the population is overweight or obese,” says Eatch co-founder Jelle Sijm.
“This is largely driven by the rise of ultra-processed foods, which are often easier, cheaper, and tastier than healthy options. In order to make the food system healthier and more sustainable, we have to make the healthy choice also the easy and affordable choice.”
Eatch is gearing towards market entry starting with home deliveries. It then plans to move into office catering, healthcare channels, and supermarkets.