If you’re feeling adventurous with your food, or just want to keep up with the fast-evolving food tech industry, here’s a rundown of this week’s stories and notable news we couldn’t cover.
Bring home the bacon
Big news came across the pond, where UK-based cultured meat startup Higher Steaks raised $30 million and changed its name to Uncommon. Balderton Capital and Lowercarbon Capital jointly led the round.
The cultured meat segment of the alternative protein industry often has highs and lows. Maybe it’s because they hope the United States government will catch up with progressive Singapore where these products are served. The UK has already done it made some financial commitments even as the Italian government introduces a bill banning cultured meat.
As stated in the story, “producing large enough quantities of cultured meat at a low enough price is problematic.” Some companies, such as Dutch food tech company Meatable, said in May that their technology has reached a milestone: making cultured pig products in eight days.
Whatever happens, it’s clear from this round that some venture capitalists remain optimistic about investing in this space. On Monday, look for a special businessroundups.org+ investor survey on alternative proteins.
Steaming cup ‘o Joe
Speaking of a food segment where funding continues to brew, this week the Green Coffee Company closed $25 million in Series C equity funding. The company bills itself as “Colombia’s largest coffee producer” and is the latest company to receive funding from coffee companies including Chamberlain Coffee Fellow and Blank Street.
Green Coffee Company’s activities cover 9,000 hectares spread over 39 farms. It also owns more than 11.5 million coffee trees.
The funding was a bit unique: raising capital from a network of more than 450 individual, high-net-worth investors who invest directly in portfolio companies that investment firm Legacy Group advises rather than in a joint fund, founder Cole Shephard told businessroundups.org. In total, investors have invested more than $60 million in the company.
Shephard noted that the company is picking up this way because “the team at Legacy has always been strong in offering unique and exciting deals that give individual investors the opportunity to invest directly in companies they like, in rather than in a blind or diversified fund model over which they have little control or in which they outsource decision-making to large funds and institutions that give little personal attention.”
Food is in fashion
Meanwhile, we’re always trying to eat healthier, and as reported this week, Ahara is a new personalized nutrition company that “gives recommendations to its customers after they first fill out a health questionnaire that asks them about their diet and health history, and their age and location.” , after which they can do various tests at home for genetic, epigenetic and biomarkers.”
At the helm are Julie Wainwright, founder and former CEO of the luxury online consignment company The RealReal, and celebrity physician-nutritionist Melina Jampolis. It is currently in beta and will reportedly have both a freemium model and a premium membership with special benefits.
Ahara joins a crowded nutrition startup arena. As noted in the story, most offer different things, but increasingly push for personalization. Venture capitalists love them too. In the past few years, we have seen the daily health program Mighty health are raising $7.6 million, telehealth nutrition platform Nourish is raising $8 million and UK nutrition and health tracking app Zoe are raising £25 million.
Not so impossible
I have not previously covered the lawsuit between Impossible Foods and Motif Foodworks that began in 2022, but in recent weeks, the case got a little interesting.
At the end of May, some revelations came to light Motif suspected that Impossible had hired some private detectives who allegedly used fake identities to get information about Motif products.
This week, a court ruled that Impossible’s strategy doesn’t break any rules, according to a report.
Here’s a brief background: Impossible sued Motif related to Motif’s use of heme proteins in making its plant-based meat alternative. Learn more about the Motif process. Impossible claims that Motif is infringing on its patent relating to the use of heme in making such foods.
Motif says heme usage is not the same as Impossible’s and has Previously mentioned that, “If impossible wins[its lawsuit in Delaware]it means no one else can experiment with heme in the plant industry.”
If you have a juicy tip or clue about happenings in the venture and food tech world, you can reach Christine Hall at email@example.com or Signal at 832-862-1051. Anonymity requests are respected.