This Week In Food: Sci-Fi Meat: Grocery Bots & The McPlant Burger

This Week In Food: Sci-Fi Meat: Grocery Bots & The McPlant Burger

By
Nicola Spalding
November 13, 2020

We're virtually popping bottles of champagne 🍾 at FoodHack this week as we celebrate several big milestones. First up, 5k+ users have now signed up to use our Discovery Board, a feature we released mid-pandemic to help spotlight startups when offline events took a hiatus. We'd like to keep building this out & adding new features, but what do you think?

And FoodHack is officially open in 15 chapters globally! Say hello to the teams in Vancouver 🇨🇦 &Cambridge 🇬🇧 and over in Stockholm, we're looking for co-ambassadors to support our current lead. Know someone?

If anyone deserves credit for this growth, it's our Head of Community Development, Emilie who's been leading the expansion - do me a favor and drop her a message here this weekend to tell her she's awesome

Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Weekly Digest

  • 🇮🇱 Together with Daniel of FoodTech Weekly we're putting together a list of '10 Israeli FoodTech Startups To Watch'. Add your contributions here.
  • 🔥 Discover: After a nail-biting final few hours of voting, find out which 3 startups came on top - from functional health shots to the future marketplace.
  • 💸 Fundraising? Currently raising for your food, beverage, foodtech startup? Fill out the form & upload your deck to get infront of 100+ investors in this space. Deadline: Thursday 27th November.
  • 🥜 Nuts: Ever tried ordering a meal with a food allergy? Not a great experience. Over on FoodHack+, we’re exploring new trends in the allergen-free food sector, as the market for allergen-free food products and detection devices is experiencing significant year-on-year growth.
  • 📈 What's up: Sales of chocolate & cookies are up 5.5% and 6.6% respectively as nations turn to comfort-eating during the pandemic. In fact, consumers see snacking as a ‘lifeline’ in pandemic times, with 88% nibbling away more frequently or the same as before (remember before?).
  • 📉 What's down: Global venture capital investment in food tech has dropped by 31% in Q3, but hopefully activity will return to normal as investors get used to evaluating startups virtually rather than in person. On a slightly different note, European honey harvests are down 40% in 2020, and producers are calling for a crackdown on cheap imports which may pose a food fraud risk.
Source: PitchBook
  • 🥩 Meat should be taxed to help the environment, according to the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, in order to raise public awareness about the impact of food choices on the environment. After all, nothing hits home harder than a squeeze on one’s wallet.
  • 🎣 However, as many consumers reduce their meat intake they are switching to fish as a protein replacement, but this is having a devastating impact on ocean fish stocks, as current projections say that the world’s stock of fish will collapse by 2050. (More on sustainable seafood in FoodHack+)
  • 🐟 A district court in California has ruled against the FDA’s approval of GMO salmon, which is created to grow at twice the rate of unaltered Atlantic salmon, but it can still be sold. Not sure how to feel about that.

    🧪Sci-Fi Meat:
  • Israeli SuperMeat has opened the world’s first cultured chicken restaurant, to allow consumers to actually taste cultivated meat. Not only that, but diners are able to see into the production facility as they eat, lending transparency to the process and hopefully accelerating consumer acceptance of this futuristic method of meat production.
  • Nordic chicken producer Scandi Standard is teaming up with smoothie makers Veg of Lund to develop a chicken alternative made from locally-grown potatoes, and will invest approximately €392k in the research project.
  • Newly launched tech firm Moolec Science is dedicating itself to the development of ‘hybrid’ alternative proteins, which is the combination of both plant-based and cell-based technologies. It’s the first startup in the world to do so, and it’s aim is to create cost-effective alternative protein solutions.
SuperMeat

🤖 Robotics:

  • Boston-based Spyce Kitchen relaunched with its all-singing, all-dancing, brand new robot-centric restaurant concept this week. It features an all new automated cooking system, customisable menu and in-house delivery. Snazzy.
  • Tel Aviv-based tech startup Highpper is working on an entirely robotic transportable restaurant. All parts of the restaurant machine are 100% automated and done within a standalone 40’ container that can be set up anywhere where there is power and water, and it can run all day without human assistance.
  • Florida-based Thrive Containers officially launched its controlled-environment farming technology, which is a system for growing produce out of shipping containers. Its farms can currently grow a variety of lettuces and yield 5-12k lbs of greens annually.
  • Scientists in Singapore have developed an AI-powered ‘electronic nose’ which assesses the freshness of meat with 98.5% accuracy, and could hopefully help reduce food waste which happens when consumers follow ‘best before’ dates rather than relying on a sniff test.

🛍 Autonomous Delivery:

  • Creator of autonomous delivery vehicles, Nuro, landed $500M series C funding this week. It’s great timing for expansion as the pandemic has more people staying at home, needing grocery and takeout deliveries, but Nuro’s technology removes the additional human contact.
  • Dragons’ Den veteran William Sachiti has launched a semi-autonomous pharmaceutical delivery service (watch it in action) in the UK, Kar-Go, beating major industry players such as Tesla and Google.
  • In the US, Walmart is testing autonomous grocery delivery with Cruise’s electric cars. It plans to pilot a program in Scottsdale, Arizona next year.
  • Self Point and Tortoise have teamed up to offer same-day robot delivery available to local grocers, which is great news as more and more grocers move online and need options for order fulfillment.
Nuro Grocery Delivery

🍴 Ghost kitchen: Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which is launching in Highland Falls, New York this weekend. It’s designed to drive business into what it dubs ‘non-traditional locations’ such as dense urban centers which couldn’t hold a full-service restaurant, a perfect solution at a time when more and more consumers are staying at home.

🍲 Meal kits are hot right now, and plant-based eating is here to stay, so alt protein producer Eat Just is combining the two in a brand new delivery offering to NYC consumers called ‘Brunch in a Box’. The kits are free of charge(!), and accompanying online video tutorials show users how to prepare and cook a delicious, plant-based brunch at home. It’s not the only brand hopping on the bandwagon: vegan chain Planta Restaurants is also launching frozen plant-based meal kits across the US and Canada.

🌱Plant-Based Launches:

  • McDonald’s announced this week that it is launching McPlant, its own brand range of plant-based meat products, in collaboration with Beyond Meat. It plans to start with the McPlant Burger early next year, which given that its restaurants sell 75 burgers every single second, could cause a huge shift in consumer eating habits, especially with the news that the plant-based beef market is set to reach $16Bn by 2030, and almost a quarter of US consumers are eating plant-based meat, seafood or poultry.
  • But the news wasn’t enough to stop Beyond Meat’s shares taking a nosedive after the company posted third-quarter earnings which fell short of analysts’ expectations, thanks to a pandemic-related decline in food service demand. However, maybe the news that the Beyond Burger is launching at 7000 CVS stores across the US will help a little.
  • Pizza Hut just became the first US pizza chain to offer plant-based meat toppings to customers across the country. In collaboration with Beyond Meat, the brand has created two new vegan pizzas: the Beyond Meat Italian and The Great Beyond.
  • Whole Foods Market is launching its own brand soy-based plant-based holiday roast, with a bread stuffing made with onions, celery and cranberries.
  • US innovator Cie is launching a brand of shelf-stable pea protein products named Longève, aimed at consumers who love to cook with unprocessed, clean ingredients.
  • UK pastry brand Ginsters, best known for its convenient pies-to-go, is launching a vegan empanada with a pulled oat filling made by Helsinki-based Gold&Green Foods.
Pizza Hut x Beyond Meat

💰Acquisitions:

  • Private equity firm PAI Partners has acquired chilled foods firms Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby, with the aim of merging the two to become the ‘best added-value chilled food company’. In the same week, the private equity firm also acquired a majority stake in Spanish seafood company Angulas Aguinaga.
  • Canadian seafood company Clearwater Seafoods has been snapped up by Premium Brands and Mi’kmaq First Nations Coalition for a cool $767M, an acquisition which the firms state will ‘contribute to the preservation and enhancement of Canada’s national seafood resources’.
  • Nomad Foods Ltd is acquiring frozen food brand Findus Switzerland for €110M, to complement its existing portfolio.
  • Beyond Meat has acquired its Pennsylvania co-packer for $14.5M, which should reduce costs and allow for faster scaling up of production.
  • Utz Brands have agreed to purchase snack producer Truco Enterprises for $480M to expand its position in the tortilla chip sub-category and strengthen its US footprint.
  • Whole Earth Brands has acquired fast-growing sugar-alternative firm Swerve for $80M. Swerve, which makes zero-sugar, keto-friendly and plant-based sweeteners and baking mixes, has registered 150% compounded annual revenue growth since 2016.


💹 Plant-based IPO: Plant-based firm Natural Order Acquisition Corp announced its $200M IPO this week led by founders Paresh Patel and Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni.

🏆 Competitions:

  • The 15 finalists in Rabobank’s 2020 Foodbytes Pitch Competition have been unveiled, and competition is fierce.
  • The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2020 winners have been revealed, and there are some really delicious-sounding drinks on the list.
  • If you're an AgTech / FoodTech startup that is developing a disruptive technology, apply to get on Forward Fooding's 2020 FoodTech 500 (inspired by the Fortune 500). The deadline is Nov 30, 2020.


Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Written by
Nicola Spalding

Nicola is a trends analyst and content writer based in West Yorkshire. She has ten years' experience in UK and international retail, including a stint as a trend and innovation specialist for Morrisons supermarkets. A born foodie who loves words, it made sense for her to start writing about all the exciting things happening in food.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community

We're virtually popping bottles of champagne 🍾 at FoodHack this week as we celebrate several big milestones. First up, 5k+ users have now signed up to use our Discovery Board, a feature we released mid-pandemic to help spotlight startups when offline events took a hiatus. We'd like to keep building this out & adding new features, but what do you think?

And FoodHack is officially open in 15 chapters globally! Say hello to the teams in Vancouver 🇨🇦 &Cambridge 🇬🇧 and over in Stockholm, we're looking for co-ambassadors to support our current lead. Know someone?

If anyone deserves credit for this growth, it's our Head of Community Development, Emilie who's been leading the expansion - do me a favor and drop her a message here this weekend to tell her she's awesome

Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Weekly Digest

  • 🇮🇱 Together with Daniel of FoodTech Weekly we're putting together a list of '10 Israeli FoodTech Startups To Watch'. Add your contributions here.
  • 🔥 Discover: After a nail-biting final few hours of voting, find out which 3 startups came on top - from functional health shots to the future marketplace.
  • 💸 Fundraising? Currently raising for your food, beverage, foodtech startup? Fill out the form & upload your deck to get infront of 100+ investors in this space. Deadline: Thursday 27th November.
  • 🥜 Nuts: Ever tried ordering a meal with a food allergy? Not a great experience. Over on FoodHack+, we’re exploring new trends in the allergen-free food sector, as the market for allergen-free food products and detection devices is experiencing significant year-on-year growth.
  • 📈 What's up: Sales of chocolate & cookies are up 5.5% and 6.6% respectively as nations turn to comfort-eating during the pandemic. In fact, consumers see snacking as a ‘lifeline’ in pandemic times, with 88% nibbling away more frequently or the same as before (remember before?).
  • 📉 What's down: Global venture capital investment in food tech has dropped by 31% in Q3, but hopefully activity will return to normal as investors get used to evaluating startups virtually rather than in person. On a slightly different note, European honey harvests are down 40% in 2020, and producers are calling for a crackdown on cheap imports which may pose a food fraud risk.
Source: PitchBook
  • 🥩 Meat should be taxed to help the environment, according to the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, in order to raise public awareness about the impact of food choices on the environment. After all, nothing hits home harder than a squeeze on one’s wallet.
  • 🎣 However, as many consumers reduce their meat intake they are switching to fish as a protein replacement, but this is having a devastating impact on ocean fish stocks, as current projections say that the world’s stock of fish will collapse by 2050. (More on sustainable seafood in FoodHack+)
  • 🐟 A district court in California has ruled against the FDA’s approval of GMO salmon, which is created to grow at twice the rate of unaltered Atlantic salmon, but it can still be sold. Not sure how to feel about that.

    🧪Sci-Fi Meat:
  • Israeli SuperMeat has opened the world’s first cultured chicken restaurant, to allow consumers to actually taste cultivated meat. Not only that, but diners are able to see into the production facility as they eat, lending transparency to the process and hopefully accelerating consumer acceptance of this futuristic method of meat production.
  • Nordic chicken producer Scandi Standard is teaming up with smoothie makers Veg of Lund to develop a chicken alternative made from locally-grown potatoes, and will invest approximately €392k in the research project.
  • Newly launched tech firm Moolec Science is dedicating itself to the development of ‘hybrid’ alternative proteins, which is the combination of both plant-based and cell-based technologies. It’s the first startup in the world to do so, and it’s aim is to create cost-effective alternative protein solutions.
SuperMeat

🤖 Robotics:

  • Boston-based Spyce Kitchen relaunched with its all-singing, all-dancing, brand new robot-centric restaurant concept this week. It features an all new automated cooking system, customisable menu and in-house delivery. Snazzy.
  • Tel Aviv-based tech startup Highpper is working on an entirely robotic transportable restaurant. All parts of the restaurant machine are 100% automated and done within a standalone 40’ container that can be set up anywhere where there is power and water, and it can run all day without human assistance.
  • Florida-based Thrive Containers officially launched its controlled-environment farming technology, which is a system for growing produce out of shipping containers. Its farms can currently grow a variety of lettuces and yield 5-12k lbs of greens annually.
  • Scientists in Singapore have developed an AI-powered ‘electronic nose’ which assesses the freshness of meat with 98.5% accuracy, and could hopefully help reduce food waste which happens when consumers follow ‘best before’ dates rather than relying on a sniff test.

🛍 Autonomous Delivery:

  • Creator of autonomous delivery vehicles, Nuro, landed $500M series C funding this week. It’s great timing for expansion as the pandemic has more people staying at home, needing grocery and takeout deliveries, but Nuro’s technology removes the additional human contact.
  • Dragons’ Den veteran William Sachiti has launched a semi-autonomous pharmaceutical delivery service (watch it in action) in the UK, Kar-Go, beating major industry players such as Tesla and Google.
  • In the US, Walmart is testing autonomous grocery delivery with Cruise’s electric cars. It plans to pilot a program in Scottsdale, Arizona next year.
  • Self Point and Tortoise have teamed up to offer same-day robot delivery available to local grocers, which is great news as more and more grocers move online and need options for order fulfillment.
Nuro Grocery Delivery

🍴 Ghost kitchen: Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which is launching in Highland Falls, New York this weekend. It’s designed to drive business into what it dubs ‘non-traditional locations’ such as dense urban centers which couldn’t hold a full-service restaurant, a perfect solution at a time when more and more consumers are staying at home.

🍲 Meal kits are hot right now, and plant-based eating is here to stay, so alt protein producer Eat Just is combining the two in a brand new delivery offering to NYC consumers called ‘Brunch in a Box’. The kits are free of charge(!), and accompanying online video tutorials show users how to prepare and cook a delicious, plant-based brunch at home. It’s not the only brand hopping on the bandwagon: vegan chain Planta Restaurants is also launching frozen plant-based meal kits across the US and Canada.

🌱Plant-Based Launches:

  • McDonald’s announced this week that it is launching McPlant, its own brand range of plant-based meat products, in collaboration with Beyond Meat. It plans to start with the McPlant Burger early next year, which given that its restaurants sell 75 burgers every single second, could cause a huge shift in consumer eating habits, especially with the news that the plant-based beef market is set to reach $16Bn by 2030, and almost a quarter of US consumers are eating plant-based meat, seafood or poultry.
  • But the news wasn’t enough to stop Beyond Meat’s shares taking a nosedive after the company posted third-quarter earnings which fell short of analysts’ expectations, thanks to a pandemic-related decline in food service demand. However, maybe the news that the Beyond Burger is launching at 7000 CVS stores across the US will help a little.
  • Pizza Hut just became the first US pizza chain to offer plant-based meat toppings to customers across the country. In collaboration with Beyond Meat, the brand has created two new vegan pizzas: the Beyond Meat Italian and The Great Beyond.
  • Whole Foods Market is launching its own brand soy-based plant-based holiday roast, with a bread stuffing made with onions, celery and cranberries.
  • US innovator Cie is launching a brand of shelf-stable pea protein products named Longève, aimed at consumers who love to cook with unprocessed, clean ingredients.
  • UK pastry brand Ginsters, best known for its convenient pies-to-go, is launching a vegan empanada with a pulled oat filling made by Helsinki-based Gold&Green Foods.
Pizza Hut x Beyond Meat

💰Acquisitions:

  • Private equity firm PAI Partners has acquired chilled foods firms Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby, with the aim of merging the two to become the ‘best added-value chilled food company’. In the same week, the private equity firm also acquired a majority stake in Spanish seafood company Angulas Aguinaga.
  • Canadian seafood company Clearwater Seafoods has been snapped up by Premium Brands and Mi’kmaq First Nations Coalition for a cool $767M, an acquisition which the firms state will ‘contribute to the preservation and enhancement of Canada’s national seafood resources’.
  • Nomad Foods Ltd is acquiring frozen food brand Findus Switzerland for €110M, to complement its existing portfolio.
  • Beyond Meat has acquired its Pennsylvania co-packer for $14.5M, which should reduce costs and allow for faster scaling up of production.
  • Utz Brands have agreed to purchase snack producer Truco Enterprises for $480M to expand its position in the tortilla chip sub-category and strengthen its US footprint.
  • Whole Earth Brands has acquired fast-growing sugar-alternative firm Swerve for $80M. Swerve, which makes zero-sugar, keto-friendly and plant-based sweeteners and baking mixes, has registered 150% compounded annual revenue growth since 2016.


💹 Plant-based IPO: Plant-based firm Natural Order Acquisition Corp announced its $200M IPO this week led by founders Paresh Patel and Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni.

🏆 Competitions:

  • The 15 finalists in Rabobank’s 2020 Foodbytes Pitch Competition have been unveiled, and competition is fierce.
  • The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2020 winners have been revealed, and there are some really delicious-sounding drinks on the list.
  • If you're an AgTech / FoodTech startup that is developing a disruptive technology, apply to get on Forward Fooding's 2020 FoodTech 500 (inspired by the Fortune 500). The deadline is Nov 30, 2020.


Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Access premium publications
  • Get listed on our directory
  • Join a Global Community
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We're virtually popping bottles of champagne 🍾 at FoodHack this week as we celebrate several big milestones. First up, 5k+ users have now signed up to use our Discovery Board, a feature we released mid-pandemic to help spotlight startups when offline events took a hiatus. We'd like to keep building this out & adding new features, but what do you think?

And FoodHack is officially open in 15 chapters globally! Say hello to the teams in Vancouver 🇨🇦 &Cambridge 🇬🇧 and over in Stockholm, we're looking for co-ambassadors to support our current lead. Know someone?

If anyone deserves credit for this growth, it's our Head of Community Development, Emilie who's been leading the expansion - do me a favor and drop her a message here this weekend to tell her she's awesome

Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Weekly Digest

  • 🇮🇱 Together with Daniel of FoodTech Weekly we're putting together a list of '10 Israeli FoodTech Startups To Watch'. Add your contributions here.
  • 🔥 Discover: After a nail-biting final few hours of voting, find out which 3 startups came on top - from functional health shots to the future marketplace.
  • 💸 Fundraising? Currently raising for your food, beverage, foodtech startup? Fill out the form & upload your deck to get infront of 100+ investors in this space. Deadline: Thursday 27th November.
  • 🥜 Nuts: Ever tried ordering a meal with a food allergy? Not a great experience. Over on FoodHack+, we’re exploring new trends in the allergen-free food sector, as the market for allergen-free food products and detection devices is experiencing significant year-on-year growth.
  • 📈 What's up: Sales of chocolate & cookies are up 5.5% and 6.6% respectively as nations turn to comfort-eating during the pandemic. In fact, consumers see snacking as a ‘lifeline’ in pandemic times, with 88% nibbling away more frequently or the same as before (remember before?).
  • 📉 What's down: Global venture capital investment in food tech has dropped by 31% in Q3, but hopefully activity will return to normal as investors get used to evaluating startups virtually rather than in person. On a slightly different note, European honey harvests are down 40% in 2020, and producers are calling for a crackdown on cheap imports which may pose a food fraud risk.
Source: PitchBook
  • 🥩 Meat should be taxed to help the environment, according to the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, in order to raise public awareness about the impact of food choices on the environment. After all, nothing hits home harder than a squeeze on one’s wallet.
  • 🎣 However, as many consumers reduce their meat intake they are switching to fish as a protein replacement, but this is having a devastating impact on ocean fish stocks, as current projections say that the world’s stock of fish will collapse by 2050. (More on sustainable seafood in FoodHack+)
  • 🐟 A district court in California has ruled against the FDA’s approval of GMO salmon, which is created to grow at twice the rate of unaltered Atlantic salmon, but it can still be sold. Not sure how to feel about that.

    🧪Sci-Fi Meat:
  • Israeli SuperMeat has opened the world’s first cultured chicken restaurant, to allow consumers to actually taste cultivated meat. Not only that, but diners are able to see into the production facility as they eat, lending transparency to the process and hopefully accelerating consumer acceptance of this futuristic method of meat production.
  • Nordic chicken producer Scandi Standard is teaming up with smoothie makers Veg of Lund to develop a chicken alternative made from locally-grown potatoes, and will invest approximately €392k in the research project.
  • Newly launched tech firm Moolec Science is dedicating itself to the development of ‘hybrid’ alternative proteins, which is the combination of both plant-based and cell-based technologies. It’s the first startup in the world to do so, and it’s aim is to create cost-effective alternative protein solutions.
SuperMeat

🤖 Robotics:

  • Boston-based Spyce Kitchen relaunched with its all-singing, all-dancing, brand new robot-centric restaurant concept this week. It features an all new automated cooking system, customisable menu and in-house delivery. Snazzy.
  • Tel Aviv-based tech startup Highpper is working on an entirely robotic transportable restaurant. All parts of the restaurant machine are 100% automated and done within a standalone 40’ container that can be set up anywhere where there is power and water, and it can run all day without human assistance.
  • Florida-based Thrive Containers officially launched its controlled-environment farming technology, which is a system for growing produce out of shipping containers. Its farms can currently grow a variety of lettuces and yield 5-12k lbs of greens annually.
  • Scientists in Singapore have developed an AI-powered ‘electronic nose’ which assesses the freshness of meat with 98.5% accuracy, and could hopefully help reduce food waste which happens when consumers follow ‘best before’ dates rather than relying on a sniff test.

🛍 Autonomous Delivery:

  • Creator of autonomous delivery vehicles, Nuro, landed $500M series C funding this week. It’s great timing for expansion as the pandemic has more people staying at home, needing grocery and takeout deliveries, but Nuro’s technology removes the additional human contact.
  • Dragons’ Den veteran William Sachiti has launched a semi-autonomous pharmaceutical delivery service (watch it in action) in the UK, Kar-Go, beating major industry players such as Tesla and Google.
  • In the US, Walmart is testing autonomous grocery delivery with Cruise’s electric cars. It plans to pilot a program in Scottsdale, Arizona next year.
  • Self Point and Tortoise have teamed up to offer same-day robot delivery available to local grocers, which is great news as more and more grocers move online and need options for order fulfillment.
Nuro Grocery Delivery

🍴 Ghost kitchen: Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which is launching in Highland Falls, New York this weekend. It’s designed to drive business into what it dubs ‘non-traditional locations’ such as dense urban centers which couldn’t hold a full-service restaurant, a perfect solution at a time when more and more consumers are staying at home.

🍲 Meal kits are hot right now, and plant-based eating is here to stay, so alt protein producer Eat Just is combining the two in a brand new delivery offering to NYC consumers called ‘Brunch in a Box’. The kits are free of charge(!), and accompanying online video tutorials show users how to prepare and cook a delicious, plant-based brunch at home. It’s not the only brand hopping on the bandwagon: vegan chain Planta Restaurants is also launching frozen plant-based meal kits across the US and Canada.

🌱Plant-Based Launches:

  • McDonald’s announced this week that it is launching McPlant, its own brand range of plant-based meat products, in collaboration with Beyond Meat. It plans to start with the McPlant Burger early next year, which given that its restaurants sell 75 burgers every single second, could cause a huge shift in consumer eating habits, especially with the news that the plant-based beef market is set to reach $16Bn by 2030, and almost a quarter of US consumers are eating plant-based meat, seafood or poultry.
  • But the news wasn’t enough to stop Beyond Meat’s shares taking a nosedive after the company posted third-quarter earnings which fell short of analysts’ expectations, thanks to a pandemic-related decline in food service demand. However, maybe the news that the Beyond Burger is launching at 7000 CVS stores across the US will help a little.
  • Pizza Hut just became the first US pizza chain to offer plant-based meat toppings to customers across the country. In collaboration with Beyond Meat, the brand has created two new vegan pizzas: the Beyond Meat Italian and The Great Beyond.
  • Whole Foods Market is launching its own brand soy-based plant-based holiday roast, with a bread stuffing made with onions, celery and cranberries.
  • US innovator Cie is launching a brand of shelf-stable pea protein products named Longève, aimed at consumers who love to cook with unprocessed, clean ingredients.
  • UK pastry brand Ginsters, best known for its convenient pies-to-go, is launching a vegan empanada with a pulled oat filling made by Helsinki-based Gold&Green Foods.
Pizza Hut x Beyond Meat

💰Acquisitions:

  • Private equity firm PAI Partners has acquired chilled foods firms Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby, with the aim of merging the two to become the ‘best added-value chilled food company’. In the same week, the private equity firm also acquired a majority stake in Spanish seafood company Angulas Aguinaga.
  • Canadian seafood company Clearwater Seafoods has been snapped up by Premium Brands and Mi’kmaq First Nations Coalition for a cool $767M, an acquisition which the firms state will ‘contribute to the preservation and enhancement of Canada’s national seafood resources’.
  • Nomad Foods Ltd is acquiring frozen food brand Findus Switzerland for €110M, to complement its existing portfolio.
  • Beyond Meat has acquired its Pennsylvania co-packer for $14.5M, which should reduce costs and allow for faster scaling up of production.
  • Utz Brands have agreed to purchase snack producer Truco Enterprises for $480M to expand its position in the tortilla chip sub-category and strengthen its US footprint.
  • Whole Earth Brands has acquired fast-growing sugar-alternative firm Swerve for $80M. Swerve, which makes zero-sugar, keto-friendly and plant-based sweeteners and baking mixes, has registered 150% compounded annual revenue growth since 2016.


💹 Plant-based IPO: Plant-based firm Natural Order Acquisition Corp announced its $200M IPO this week led by founders Paresh Patel and Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni.

🏆 Competitions:

  • The 15 finalists in Rabobank’s 2020 Foodbytes Pitch Competition have been unveiled, and competition is fierce.
  • The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2020 winners have been revealed, and there are some really delicious-sounding drinks on the list.
  • If you're an AgTech / FoodTech startup that is developing a disruptive technology, apply to get on Forward Fooding's 2020 FoodTech 500 (inspired by the Fortune 500). The deadline is Nov 30, 2020.


Subscribe to This Week In Food:

We're virtually popping bottles of champagne 🍾 at FoodHack this week as we celebrate several big milestones. First up, 5k+ users have now signed up to use our Discovery Board, a feature we released mid-pandemic to help spotlight startups when offline events took a hiatus. We'd like to keep building this out & adding new features, but what do you think?

And FoodHack is officially open in 15 chapters globally! Say hello to the teams in Vancouver 🇨🇦 &Cambridge 🇬🇧 and over in Stockholm, we're looking for co-ambassadors to support our current lead. Know someone?

If anyone deserves credit for this growth, it's our Head of Community Development, Emilie who's been leading the expansion - do me a favor and drop her a message here this weekend to tell her she's awesome

Subscribe to This Week In Food:

Weekly Digest

  • 🇮🇱 Together with Daniel of FoodTech Weekly we're putting together a list of '10 Israeli FoodTech Startups To Watch'. Add your contributions here.
  • 🔥 Discover: After a nail-biting final few hours of voting, find out which 3 startups came on top - from functional health shots to the future marketplace.
  • 💸 Fundraising? Currently raising for your food, beverage, foodtech startup? Fill out the form & upload your deck to get infront of 100+ investors in this space. Deadline: Thursday 27th November.
  • 🥜 Nuts: Ever tried ordering a meal with a food allergy? Not a great experience. Over on FoodHack+, we’re exploring new trends in the allergen-free food sector, as the market for allergen-free food products and detection devices is experiencing significant year-on-year growth.
  • 📈 What's up: Sales of chocolate & cookies are up 5.5% and 6.6% respectively as nations turn to comfort-eating during the pandemic. In fact, consumers see snacking as a ‘lifeline’ in pandemic times, with 88% nibbling away more frequently or the same as before (remember before?).
  • 📉 What's down: Global venture capital investment in food tech has dropped by 31% in Q3, but hopefully activity will return to normal as investors get used to evaluating startups virtually rather than in person. On a slightly different note, European honey harvests are down 40% in 2020, and producers are calling for a crackdown on cheap imports which may pose a food fraud risk.
Source: PitchBook
  • 🥩 Meat should be taxed to help the environment, according to the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, in order to raise public awareness about the impact of food choices on the environment. After all, nothing hits home harder than a squeeze on one’s wallet.
  • 🎣 However, as many consumers reduce their meat intake they are switching to fish as a protein replacement, but this is having a devastating impact on ocean fish stocks, as current projections say that the world’s stock of fish will collapse by 2050. (More on sustainable seafood in FoodHack+)
  • 🐟 A district court in California has ruled against the FDA’s approval of GMO salmon, which is created to grow at twice the rate of unaltered Atlantic salmon, but it can still be sold. Not sure how to feel about that.

    🧪Sci-Fi Meat:
  • Israeli SuperMeat has opened the world’s first cultured chicken restaurant, to allow consumers to actually taste cultivated meat. Not only that, but diners are able to see into the production facility as they eat, lending transparency to the process and hopefully accelerating consumer acceptance of this futuristic method of meat production.
  • Nordic chicken producer Scandi Standard is teaming up with smoothie makers Veg of Lund to develop a chicken alternative made from locally-grown potatoes, and will invest approximately €392k in the research project.
  • Newly launched tech firm Moolec Science is dedicating itself to the development of ‘hybrid’ alternative proteins, which is the combination of both plant-based and cell-based technologies. It’s the first startup in the world to do so, and it’s aim is to create cost-effective alternative protein solutions.
SuperMeat

🤖 Robotics:

  • Boston-based Spyce Kitchen relaunched with its all-singing, all-dancing, brand new robot-centric restaurant concept this week. It features an all new automated cooking system, customisable menu and in-house delivery. Snazzy.
  • Tel Aviv-based tech startup Highpper is working on an entirely robotic transportable restaurant. All parts of the restaurant machine are 100% automated and done within a standalone 40’ container that can be set up anywhere where there is power and water, and it can run all day without human assistance.
  • Florida-based Thrive Containers officially launched its controlled-environment farming technology, which is a system for growing produce out of shipping containers. Its farms can currently grow a variety of lettuces and yield 5-12k lbs of greens annually.
  • Scientists in Singapore have developed an AI-powered ‘electronic nose’ which assesses the freshness of meat with 98.5% accuracy, and could hopefully help reduce food waste which happens when consumers follow ‘best before’ dates rather than relying on a sniff test.

🛍 Autonomous Delivery:

  • Creator of autonomous delivery vehicles, Nuro, landed $500M series C funding this week. It’s great timing for expansion as the pandemic has more people staying at home, needing grocery and takeout deliveries, but Nuro’s technology removes the additional human contact.
  • Dragons’ Den veteran William Sachiti has launched a semi-autonomous pharmaceutical delivery service (watch it in action) in the UK, Kar-Go, beating major industry players such as Tesla and Google.
  • In the US, Walmart is testing autonomous grocery delivery with Cruise’s electric cars. It plans to pilot a program in Scottsdale, Arizona next year.
  • Self Point and Tortoise have teamed up to offer same-day robot delivery available to local grocers, which is great news as more and more grocers move online and need options for order fulfillment.
Nuro Grocery Delivery

🍴 Ghost kitchen: Chipotle revealed its Digital Kitchen, a pickup and delivery-only restaurant, which is launching in Highland Falls, New York this weekend. It’s designed to drive business into what it dubs ‘non-traditional locations’ such as dense urban centers which couldn’t hold a full-service restaurant, a perfect solution at a time when more and more consumers are staying at home.

🍲 Meal kits are hot right now, and plant-based eating is here to stay, so alt protein producer Eat Just is combining the two in a brand new delivery offering to NYC consumers called ‘Brunch in a Box’. The kits are free of charge(!), and accompanying online video tutorials show users how to prepare and cook a delicious, plant-based brunch at home. It’s not the only brand hopping on the bandwagon: vegan chain Planta Restaurants is also launching frozen plant-based meal kits across the US and Canada.

🌱Plant-Based Launches:

  • McDonald’s announced this week that it is launching McPlant, its own brand range of plant-based meat products, in collaboration with Beyond Meat. It plans to start with the McPlant Burger early next year, which given that its restaurants sell 75 burgers every single second, could cause a huge shift in consumer eating habits, especially with the news that the plant-based beef market is set to reach $16Bn by 2030, and almost a quarter of US consumers are eating plant-based meat, seafood or poultry.
  • But the news wasn’t enough to stop Beyond Meat’s shares taking a nosedive after the company posted third-quarter earnings which fell short of analysts’ expectations, thanks to a pandemic-related decline in food service demand. However, maybe the news that the Beyond Burger is launching at 7000 CVS stores across the US will help a little.
  • Pizza Hut just became the first US pizza chain to offer plant-based meat toppings to customers across the country. In collaboration with Beyond Meat, the brand has created two new vegan pizzas: the Beyond Meat Italian and The Great Beyond.
  • Whole Foods Market is launching its own brand soy-based plant-based holiday roast, with a bread stuffing made with onions, celery and cranberries.
  • US innovator Cie is launching a brand of shelf-stable pea protein products named Longève, aimed at consumers who love to cook with unprocessed, clean ingredients.
  • UK pastry brand Ginsters, best known for its convenient pies-to-go, is launching a vegan empanada with a pulled oat filling made by Helsinki-based Gold&Green Foods.
Pizza Hut x Beyond Meat

💰Acquisitions:

  • Private equity firm PAI Partners has acquired chilled foods firms Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby, with the aim of merging the two to become the ‘best added-value chilled food company’. In the same week, the private equity firm also acquired a majority stake in Spanish seafood company Angulas Aguinaga.
  • Canadian seafood company Clearwater Seafoods has been snapped up by Premium Brands and Mi’kmaq First Nations Coalition for a cool $767M, an acquisition which the firms state will ‘contribute to the preservation and enhancement of Canada’s national seafood resources’.
  • Nomad Foods Ltd is acquiring frozen food brand Findus Switzerland for €110M, to complement its existing portfolio.
  • Beyond Meat has acquired its Pennsylvania co-packer for $14.5M, which should reduce costs and allow for faster scaling up of production.
  • Utz Brands have agreed to purchase snack producer Truco Enterprises for $480M to expand its position in the tortilla chip sub-category and strengthen its US footprint.
  • Whole Earth Brands has acquired fast-growing sugar-alternative firm Swerve for $80M. Swerve, which makes zero-sugar, keto-friendly and plant-based sweeteners and baking mixes, has registered 150% compounded annual revenue growth since 2016.


💹 Plant-based IPO: Plant-based firm Natural Order Acquisition Corp announced its $200M IPO this week led by founders Paresh Patel and Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni.

🏆 Competitions:

  • The 15 finalists in Rabobank’s 2020 Foodbytes Pitch Competition have been unveiled, and competition is fierce.
  • The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2020 winners have been revealed, and there are some really delicious-sounding drinks on the list.
  • If you're an AgTech / FoodTech startup that is developing a disruptive technology, apply to get on Forward Fooding's 2020 FoodTech 500 (inspired by the Fortune 500). The deadline is Nov 30, 2020.


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