FoodBytes! by Rabobank held its 15th edition in San Francisco yesterday, and 15 new innovators joined the alumni ranks, a community of 265 startups and counting Recognized for their positive impact on the food value chain, Bushel, Shaka Tea, and Toast Ale won awards for their efforts to increase agricultural efficiency, offer Hawaiian antioxidant beverages and fight food waste.
Three California-based startup giants have catapulted alternative protein into the public eye. From Memphis Meats’ lab-grown patties to the meat-like plant-based burgers from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Silicon Valley is investing heavily into this area of food tech. It comes as no surprise then, that approximately half of our alumni working in alternative protein have pitched in San Francisco. Investment in the space is further encouraged by promising consumer data, as alternative protein sales are growing 8% year over year. At FoodBytes! SF we saw the alternative protein trend continuing to evolve. Hargol FoodTech developed a commercial grasshopper farm to produce sustainable protein on a large scale, with a greatly reduced dependence on land. Developing less resource-dependent methods of providing protein to consumers, Planetarians is utilizing the material left over after oil is extracted from sunflower seeds. These defatted seeds are 35% protein, higher than the concentration in beef, which the company then grinds into a flour. Additionally, Bond Pets extends sustainable protein practices to pet food. Through a fermentation process similar to craft brewing, Bond takes animal cells, feeds them a nutrient-rich mixture that promotes growth, and allows the cells to multiply into proteins resembling meat.
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