How Tech is Revolutionizing Food

The Lempert Report
July 23, 2015

More and more venture capital firms are putting money towards innovations in the food world, check out some of these companies that are revolutionizing what we eat!

Increasingly what we eat is evolving and changing. Not only are large brands and supermarkets spending time, space and money on foods that are say, organic or local, but consumers are becoming more suspicious of big food companies and more conscious of what they put in their body.  This growing consumer desire for transparency and social responsibility has driven many entrepreneurs to look for alternative options, whether that's plant based proteins, or, for example, products made from non GMO ingredients.  
You may remember our recent  story on LA based company Beyond Meat, that produces protein that looks and tastes like chicken, or beef,  but is made entirely from plants. But they are not the only ones.  Take for example, Impossible Foods a company that is also working on a plant based meat substitute and currently developing the Impossible Burger. 
As described to us in a written statement, the Impossible Burger uses the; same organic plants that you would buy at your local farmers’ market or grocery store – such as spinach, peas and beans - and they extract proteins from each one, selecting those that give a specific meaty texture, flavor or aroma to the finished product. Those proteins are combined with simple, natural ingredients like amino acids, vitamins and fats, all  from plants, to create the three main components of meat: muscle, connective tissue, and fat. The result? The Impossible Burger, which you can cook and eat just like conventional, animal-derived ground beef.
Companies like this are quickly gaining support and attention from venture capital firms. According to Forbes, over the past five years, venture capitalists have invested nearly $570 million in food companies. 
Much has gone into high-profile food replacement companies like Soylent, a powder drink composed primarily of carbohydrates. But also companies like Impossible Foods. Back in October of 2014, Impossible Foods revealed its company publicly to The Wall Street Journal who noted they are one of the top-funded companies with about $75 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, Mr. Li’s Horizons Ventures and Mr. Bill Gates.
Gates is a backer of several others, including Hampton Creek, a San Francisco based startup that makes plant-based egg substitutes for mayonnaise and cookie dough. 
There's also Modern Meadow a Brooklyn-based startup that's developing an edible cultured meat prototype and bioengineered leather products that don't require animal slaughter. Modern Meadow has funding from tech venture firms Sequoia Capital and Artis Ventures. 
And then there's San Francisco-based Clara Foods that's using an in-vitro technique to produce "animal free" egg whites, or Muufri a small start up that's working on a chemically engineered version of milk.
And who can forget Exo, the company that is making products like protein bars from cricket flour. Exo is a part of New York based  AccelFoods, a program that supports early-stage packaged-food companies with revenue of up to $1 million.
While some are more skeptical of the tech worlds approach to food, Marion Nestle for example told Business Day live,  "The people who are doing these things are evidently not foodies. They eat to live but do not live to eat, apparently." There is no denying that this is the way of the future. 
As consumer tastes and wants continue to evolve and become more specific, food innovators will be there to create it.