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How will we feed future generations?

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Did you ever think that your tortilla chips could be made of cricket flour? We were lucky enough to taste some delicious ones last week at the Fabernovel "Feeding the Future" event in our San Francisco-based coworking space, Parisoma.

At the event, we took a look at the evolving food industry and how technology is being used for everything from more efficient supply chains to exploring food substitutes. For example, one area that is rapidly changing is the meat market, which is currently worth more that $1Tn. The current model for the industry has proven inefficient to feed future generations since we know that 50% of today’s global harvest is used to feed livestock. The good news is that meat alternatives have been around for many years and picking up the pace: in 2020, the estimated worth of the meat-substitute market will top $5.7Bn.

Fabernovel is convinced that Silicon Valley is key to the evolution of the Foodtech industry, first because California has been the sandbox of incredible breakthroughs in terms of technologies and consumer behavior in energy, supply chains, and food sectors; second, because the Central Valley has been leading the United States in agricultural sales and is the home of the largest food harvest in the United States today. These elements have allowed Fabernovel to build a strong network of innovation players in the field to invite to our Foodtech event.

To tackle the inherent complexity of the food industry, Fabernovel introduced 5 key Foodtech trends we have been analyzing in Silicon Valley:

  1. Natural and organic is becoming more and more affordable, for two main reasons. First, a growing demand for these types of foods drives more supply and therefore brings prices down. Second, because most new ecommerce brands in the sector are spending much less on marketing and store rent. A great example we highlighted here is Brandless, with its hundreds of $3 cruelty-free, vegan and organic items.
  2. Food is seen more and more as a way to optimize our physical and mental performance. The startup Tespo is building the “Nespresso" of vitamins which gives you only the nutrients you really need.
  3. Alternative proteins and animal-free products are being commoditized. For example, Perfect Day highlights their vegan products (milk, yogurt, etc.) as being "cow-free"
  4. The war against sugar has gained even more ground, thanks to sugar substitutes that large companies like Nestlé or startups such as Koochikoo have been able to make. These substitutes lower calories and can reduce the risk of health problems like diabetes.
  5. Finally, as snacking has become ingrained in our diets, we can see an increasing number of eco-friendly and upcycled options on the market. One example is Barnana, which offers tasty snacks made from ugly bananas in Latin America. 

To showcase these key trends, Fabernovel invited five startups to pitch and speak about their ideas to contribute to the future of food: 

  • Chirps Chips's CEO Laura D'Asaro highlighted the urge to switch from traditional proteins to insect-based foods, highlighting the fact that many countries outside the United States consume insects on a regular basis
  • InHouse Produce co-founders Trevor Hudson and Andrew Blume unveiled the way they tackle B2B markets with hydroponic appliances and services. Thanks to great expertise, the two founders have been able to create hydroponic installations for high-end dining establishments in California to begin with
  • We then had Good PLANeT Foods CEO David Israel and COO Sachin Ajith introduce the audience to unique "meltable" vegan cheeses.Their products are mostly known for being used on pizzas, pasta, and other warm dishes that would typically use dairy-based cheese 
  • Regrained VP of Product Philip Saneski showcased their vision of an upcycled food supply chain. They manufacture and sell cereal bars that are made from spent beer grain- an unsavory term for a highly nutritious, functional byproduct of beer making - and are planning on producing many more upcycled products
  • Last but not least, Leaf Cuisine's CEO & Chef Rod Rotondi put forward the great number of vegan products he has been creating in his kitchen: spreads, salad dressings, camembert-like cheeses, and many more! Rod had the idea to invent delicious vegan recipes about fifteen years ago although it was much less of a trend back in the days.

Missed out on this fun event? Follow us on LinkedIn so we can keep you posted about upcoming events!

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