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Image: Taali offers snacks made from popped water lily seeds and non-GMO, whole and natural ingredients | Taali Foods
Two startup accelerators highlight the latest startup solutions poised to disrupt our food system for good.
FoodBytes! by Rabobank, a global pitch
competition and networking platform for innovative food, food tech and agtech
entrepreneurs, has unveiled the 15 startups selected for FoodBytes! San
Francisco 2019. These innovators will showcase their technologies and products
on March 28 at Terra Gallery — and participate in a mentorship immersion that
provides insights and lasting connections to scale their impact on the way we
eat, source and produce food.
New this year, startups selected based on
rigorous criteria will
compete in FoodBytes’ live pitch competition for a chance to win honors in three
categories: food and agriculture technology, consumer packaged goods and
“The Bay Area is at the forefront of sustainable food and agriculture
innovation, which is why FoodBytes! launched here in 2015, and why we’re excited
to host our 15th edition where it all started,” said Nina Meijers, startup
relationship manager for Rabobank’s Food & Agriculture Innovation Team. “The
startups competing at FoodBytes! SF are pioneering new solutions to real
problems in our food system. We’re thrilled to connect them to the Rabobank
network and support them at FoodBytes! and beyond.”
The 15 FoodBytes! SF 2019 startups — down from 20, last
SnapDNA (Mountain View, Calif.) – the
industry’s fastest food safety pathogen test for E. coli, salmonella
and listeria. Its technology eliminates the need to culture bacteria
prior to analysis, making it possible to test food samples in the field and
secure analysis in just over an hour.
Planetarians (Palo Alto, Calif.) –
upcycles byproducts and solid food waste into high-protein, high-fiber
ingredients. Using a process that emits 99 percent fewer CO2 gases and
requires no additional land or water, its functional protein flour from
has 2x the protein and fiber at the same cost of wheat flour.
Bond Pets (Nederland, Colo.) – maker of dog
and cat foods sourced from real animal protein, without the animal. The
company produces high-quality animal proteins through fermentation — without
the environmental impact of conventionally raised meat.
Corumat (Pomona, Calif.) – maker of
packaging that is 100 percent plant based, compostable, insulating and up to
30 percent lower in cost than traditional technologies. Corumat’s
bioplastics generate 60 percent less CO2 during production than the plastics
traditionally used to make red party cups.
Zymtronix (Ithaca, N.Y.) – stabilizes and
delivers enzymes to enable cost-effective and sustainable ways of
manufacturing ingredients. In agricultural applications, stabilizes and
delivers biocidal enzymes to create sustainable processes for crop
Osmo Systems (Oakland, Calif.) – developer
of the Osmobot, an aquaculture water-quality sensor that allows shrimp
and fish farmers to continuously monitor their ponds online — decreasing
mortalities and improving feeding conversion at a fraction of the cost of
legacy monitoring systems.
Hargol FoodTech (Misgav, Israel) – operates
the world’s first commercial grasshopper farm using proprietary technology
for efficient, large-scale farming of grasshoppers. Its grasshopper protein
products offer one of nature’s most efficient and sustainable protein
Healthy Cow (Toronto, Canada) – develops
products to help dairy farmers reduce their reliance on antibiotics and
hormones. Its first product, ProPreg, offers a bovine intravaginal
probiotic that supports a healthy vaginal microbiome in dairy cows.
Bushel (Fargo, N.D.) – the grain industry’s
first software platform and app that allows grain elevators and cooperatives
to digitally connect with their growers and deliver near real-time
information that informs better business decisions.
CropIn Technology Solutions (Bengaluru, India)
– provides SaaS solutions to agribusinesses globally that enable
agri-ecosystem stakeholders, including farmers, to adopt digital strategy
and decision-making tools across their operations to maximize value per
Toast Ale (New York, N.Y.) – started in
2017 in the
Toast Ale is now fighting food waste in the US, by brewing craft beer from
unsold bread from local bakeries that would have otherwise been wasted.
Toast donates all profits to Feedback, a
nonprofit dedicated to reducing food waste.
GEM (Los Angeles, Calif.) – maker of the
first real-food multivitamin, built for women by women. Made from 13 algae-
and plant-based ingredients, GEM is the first FDA-regulated daily vitamin
that provides more vitamins and minerals women need for everyday wellbeing.
Shaka Tea(Hilo, Hawaii) – supports
regenerative agriculture and economic development while offering the first
line of Hawaiian-grown, no sugar-added, herbal iced teas brewed with
māmaki, an antioxidant powerhouse only found and grown in the Hawaiian
The Worthy Company (Chicago, Ill.) –
creators of the Worthy Blendie
Bowl, a plant-based
superfood snack. Handcrafted recipes combine fruits, vegetables, legumes and
chia in a spoonable “blendie” that delivers high-protein, high-fiber
nutrition on the go.
Taali (Wilmington, Del.) – maker of
snacks made from popped water lily seeds and non-GMO, whole and natural
ingredients. Taali aims to introduce healthier new grains into the US snack
market to reduce reliance on potato, corn, wheat and extruded foods.
“As a mentor for nine editions of FoodBytes!, I can say with confidence that
FoodBytes! is an unmatched barometer for innovation in the food and ag
industries,” said FoodBytes! SF judge Bob Bloom, global account director for
presenting sponsor ADM. “For ADM, it’s a valuable
opportunity to preview the future of food and connect directly with
entrepreneurs who are as passionate as we are about developing new ingredients,
technologies and products that have sustainability and purpose built into their
The opportunity to pitch and network with hundreds of C-level food and
agriculture (F&A) executives at Rabobank’s Annual Food & Agriculture Summit
in New York City in December 2019.
Valuable business consultation services, including:
Legal consultation from food and ag law firm Polsinelli
Go-to-market consultation from The Intertwine Group
Recruiting consultation from Creative Alignments
An innovation day with ADM’s food and beverage product advisors
Access to Rabobank research reports
Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the first class of the Chipotle
a seven-month-long accelerator
sponsored by the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in partnership
both nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. The Chipotle Aluminaries Project is part
of the company's larger efforts to invest in the future of food with integrity,
and will drive positive change in the food industry by offering eight
growth-stage ventures the resources needed to grow and make a positive impact at
Each venture will receive mentorship and direct coaching from world-renowned
industry leaders, participate in a boot camp, and be powered by free Chipotle
food as they take their businesses to the next level.
"Since our founding, Chipotle has been committed to cultivating a better world,
and we believe the best way to lead the future of food is to inspire others to
come along with us on the journey and be a force for good in our industry,"
said CEO Brian Niccol. "The eight selected companies represent the best and
brightest of what's next in the food industry, and we can't wait to help them
reach their full potential with the launch of the Chipotle Aluminaries Project."
The selected ventures touch all areas of the food landscape including
alternative farming and growing systems; farming and agriculture technology;
food waste and recovery; and plant and alternative products:
Agvoice: AgVoice is the simplest way to help
farmers measure good stewardship practices by using a mobile
voice-interaction service that integrates with existing record-keeping apps.
The service enables easy tracking of plant and animal production – at the
source – to help assess positive environmental and sustainability impact.
American Ostrich Farms: A vertically
integrated producer of a better red meat, American Ostrich Farms strives to
increase awareness of the resource intensity of food so consumers can make
enlightened, healthy choices for themselves and the planet. Ostrich tastes
like a delicious, lean filet mignon, but leaves a fraction of the
environmental footprint – compared to beef, ostrich uses a third of the
fresh water, one fiftieth of the land and emits less than one tenth of the
GHGs per pound produced.
Asarasi: Asarasi produces a sustainable and
renewable water that is harvested from the byproducts of maple trees,
offering an environmentally friendly, organic plant-based alternative to
bottled water sourcing.
Grubtubs: GrubTubs is positioned to be the
nationwide solution for food waste. Its product currently allows
restaurants, hotels and large cafeterias to drastically reduce what they
send to landfills, helping to positively impact the environment. In
addition, GrubTubs turns the food waste into insect-based animal feed, which
helps farmers significantly lower food costs.
Impactvision: ImpactVision uses hyperspectral
imaging to help food businesses deliver consistent product quality, generate
premium products and prevent supply chain waste.
Novolyze**: **Novolyze develops innovative
technologies to help the food industry manufacture safer food, while
ensuring strong compliance with international food safety and quality
standards. Its innovative approach to food safety relies on the utilization
of cutting-edge microbiology solutions, combined with the latest
developments in digital, internet of things and machine learning.
Rex Animal Health: Rex Animal Health provides
machine learning for a safer and more sustainable food supply. Using data to
improve livestock health, the venture is working to reduce the 20 percent
waste in animal protein production.
Sophie's Kitchen: Sophie's Kitchen Plant-Based
Seafood creates sustainable, plant-based seafood alternatives using
innovative ingredients and patent-pending
In March, the entrepreneurs will participate in a five-day, in-person boot camp
in Newport Beach, Calif., where they will create their plans for scale and
receive direct coaching from Chipotle executives and industry leaders including
chef Richard Blais and entrepreneur Kimbal Musk.
"At Chipotle, we feel we have a responsibility and opportunity to forge a path
to a more sustainable food future," said Caitlin Leibert, director of
sustainability at Chipotle. "Changing the food landscape is bigger than just
Chipotle and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, and while we are proud of our
efforts, we can't do it alone. Together, with these ventures and the
entrepreneurs of tomorrow, we know we can make a real impact."
The startups will have regular, one-on-one meetings with their mentors and three
to four advisors committed to a minimum of six months of mentorship.
Published Feb 1, 2019 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET