Start-ups are often at the forefront of change in the food industry. So we’ve rounded up some food tech start-ups to watch and learn from.
Food tech start-ups are often closer to consumer needs and trends than established businesses. They tend to be more adept at responding to these demands, creating products that established companies may not have considered. Perhaps they can’t make a business case for them because the market is too small. What’s more, they tend to have an unparalleled passion and purpose that infuses their products with a contagious enthusiasm
Afresh (US): tackling food waste
San Francisco based Afresh has created a tablet-based app to help supermarkets optimise their fresh food inventories and reduce waste. Founded in 2016, this startup has partnered with billion-dollar grocery chains across the US who’ve reported that using the software has impressively halved their food waste.
AllPlants: sustainable frozen food delivery
AllPlants’ tagline is “plant-powered, planet-kind dishes delivered to your door” and it sums up what this start-up does very nicely. These are veggie-friendly dishes, delivered frozen, to best preserve their nutrients in transit. Plus the company claims everything from food to delivery is sustainably produced.
IXON Food Technology: innovative packaging for ready-to-eat products
This innovative food tech start-up has developed packaging technology that allows foods to be sterilised at a relatively gentle 60 to 80°C. IXON‘s patent-pending process involves advanced sous-vide aseptic packaging (ASAP) which uses little water and energy.
The company claims their fresh produce can be shipped or stored at room temperature without spoiling for up to two years. Good news for food manufacturers looking to turn perishable foods into shelf-stable products.
Jack & Bry: the first jackfruit pepperoni
This vegan-friendly range of jackfruit-based meats has been created by mother Bryony Tinn-Disbury with “some help” from her Michelin-starred chef brother-in-law. Jack & Bry have started a world first with their jackfruit pepperoni which is now sold at Papa Johns and Zizzis in the UK. Jack & Bry’s other products include chorizo, fish fingers, pulled pork and tuna. High in fibre, easily flavoured and tender, jackfruit is a fibrous fruit growing in popularity.
Mimica: reducing waste through real-time labelling
“60% of the food we waste in the UK is still totally edible,” says Mimica and this was the driver behind their innovative food freshness packaging. Mimica Touch is the flagship product: a temperature-sensitive indicator cap/label which shows food freshness and spoilage in real time, adjusting to temperature conditions for accurate results. The label is smooth when the product is fresh and bumpy when it isn’t.
3FBio (Scotland): zero waste protein
Biotechnology company 3FBio produces mycoprotein (their version: ABUNDA®) through a natural process of aerobic fermentation. The two byproducts are fuel and feed meaning their incredibly efficient process is zero-waste.
As demand for protein increases at 10m tonnes per year, their award-winning innovation could help tackle the challenges posed by global growth and the unsustainable future of traditional protein farming.
Bug Farm Foods: next generation insect-based products
This husband and wife team of entomologist Dr Sarah Beynon and chef Andy Holcroft have developed a range of insect-based products including cricket cookies, insect powders and whole insects to use in baking. Bug Farm Foods‘ base in West Wales is a visitor attraction and includes Grub Kitchen: the UK’s first full-time edible insect restaurant.
IWON Organics (US): high-protein snacks
IWON’s product line-up is focused on high-protein, plant-based varieties of crisp-like snacks and was snapped up by fitness and health store GNC in the US. IWON is growing at a phenomenal rate (300% each year with e-commerce sales growing an average of 30% month by month) and is said to be branching out into supermarkets.
Ocean Hugger Foods (US)
Considering that 90% of fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished (FAO), Ocean Hugger’s mission is to “reduce stress on the world’s oceans by creating plant-based seafood alternatives”. Chef and Founder James Corwell offers consumers the experience of eating their favourite seafood with Ahimi®, a plant-based alternative to raw tuna, and Unami™ – an alternative to freshwater eel. Ocean Hugger claims to keep the process short and simple and plays to the natural attributes of the produce they use.