Climate change and population growth is already putting a huge strain on the global food industry. And with vegetarianism, veganism and other ethic- and eco-based diets on the rise, it has never been more vital that the tech industry starts to change how we eat. Here are five fascinating startups targeting food from all angles. If we’ve missed any out, let us know via Twitter, or below in the comments!
1. Apeel Sciences
Each plant on earth has a peel, or skin, that protects it from the elements. By adding an extra “peel” to the surface of produce, Apeel Sciences, based near Santa Barbara, California, aims to “work with nature – rather than against it” – to make food last longer, reducing waste and water usage, streamlining a fruit and vegetable industry worth $57.2 billion in the United States alone. Apeel produce stays fresh two to three times longer than its regular counterpart: little wonder CBS News calls it “The biggest revolution in food since refrigeration.”
2. Finless Foods
California-headquartered startup Finless Foods promises that, in the future, fishing will be obsolete – and that it will lead the revolution. The company harnesses cellular biology to create fish and seafood products in a laboratory “at affordable prices, without catching of farming the species on which they’re based.” Finless is starting with Bluefin tuna, a dinner table staple under severe threat from overfishing. Investors are enthused: A June 2018 Seed round drew $3.5m.
3. Memphis Meats
Red Herring has already reported California’s Impossible Foods, a plant-based burger company that last year won a $75m funding round led by Singapore state investment vehicle Temasek. Memphis Meats is an addition to the cell-based meat field, that this January got a big boost from food giant Tyson Foods, whose VC wing Tyson Ventures put an undisclosed sum into the firm. It confirms Memphis’ quick rise to prominence since a 2015 foundation – and mainstream recognition for a company promising to change the meat industry that carries a gigantic environmental cost.
Irvington, NY-based BrightFarms might just be the brightest of the bunch when it comes to tech-based agricultural innovation. The company, founded in 2011, now has over $100m in venture backing, as the local food craze shows no sign of dying. Using LED lights and sensors it is able to grow greens indoors, which it currently sells to huge brands including Kroger and Walmart. BrightFarms has three farms in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois, and is soon to open a large premises in Abilene, Texas. It is using funds to reduce its carbon footprint – a move that cements its dedication to greener farming.