Whether its for nutritional purposes and better health, or maybe to help facilitate a more sustainable world and combat climate change. The FoodTech sector is one of the leaders of this sustainable charge, offering alternatives to the planet polluting standards we have become accustomed to. Now, we’re not here to tell you again what you may already know, but rather reveal a few next-generation culinary solutions that look to change the way we consume food and beverage. And who knows maybe we discover new ways to help the earth while keeping it yummy in the tummy.
With companies like MeaTech 3D, which joined the NASDAQ listing this past year, and SavorEat, the first FoodTech IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the Israeli startup ecosystem offers a variety of technological solutions to gorge on. So let’s see what’s on the menu:
Overconsumption of sugar is a leading cause of health related problems in our world. In fact, 600 million adults were obese in 2014 according to the World Health Organization. However, it is almost impossible to entirely give up the taste of sugar. Israeli startup DouxMatok is working to combat our cravings through sugar reduction. The startup has developed a solution called Incredo sugar that more efficiently delivers sugar to the taste receptors. It employs a carrier that clusters sugar so that it lingers longer on the tongue, giving us the same taste we love, with 30-50% less of it in each bite.
DouxMatok was recently featured in season three of Netflix’s flagship TV series EXPLAINED, produced by VOX. The episode was all about sugar and how to find a balance between the beloved taste and the health risks it poses-- just up DouxMatok’s alley. The company was founded in 2014 in Petah Tikvah, and has raised around $30 million to date. DouxMatok is led by CEO and Co-Founder: Eran Baniel and Inventor and Co-Founder: Professor Avraham Baniel. Prof. Baniel received Israel’s Prime Minister award for innovation 2018. Last year they expanded to North America, after partnering with Rogers Sugar, the largest refined sugar distributor in Canada.
This Israeli startup offers two solutions, one for life on Earth, and one for beyond our planet. To start with what pertains to most of us, the availability of fresh beef is dwindling, while also many are switching to animal-cruelty free diets. Alephs Farms offers a solution: non-GMO, cell-based 3D bioprinted meat. By using bovine, they are able to replicate the same taste, texture, and nutritional value that beef provides. Further, the company is also planning to launch its steaks into the "Final Frontier". A large limitation of long-term space exploration is the lack of food that can last in such challenging and unique conditions. Aleph Farms created Aleph Zero, its space food initiative, to allow for the production of fresh, high quality meat, regardless of the surrounding conditions.
The company was founded in 2017, and has raised an impressive $118 million in total, after recently closing a $105 million Series B round. Aleph Farms is based in Rehovot, and was founded by CEO: Didier Toubia and Chief Scientific Adviser: Professor Shulamit Levenberg.
Eggs are incredibly versatile and nutrient-filled. However, the production of eggs requires excessive amounts of water, land, and energy, which are not always accessible to all. Zero Egg, an Israeli startup, has an answer to this. They have invented an all-purpose egg alternative that is plant-based and filled with protein. It comes in both a liquid and a powdered version, and can be used to eat on its own, cook, or bake, as the consistency mirrors that of real eggs. Additionaly, the alt-eggs are shelf-stable and cost-effective. According to Zero Egg, its alternative solution saves over 90% in energy consumption and reduces greenhouse gas emission by as much as 60%.
The company is based in Kfar Saba, and also has an office in San Francisco. It was founded in 2018 by CEO: Liron Nimrodi and COO: Amiel David. Zero Egg is a portfolio company of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, and won the Foodtech Innovation Competition in 2019. In all, they have raised $8 million, with the goal of expanding further into the U.S. market.
Chickpeas are no stranger to Israelis: growing abundantly throughout the Middle East. In fact, hummus dates back to the 13th century. Additionally, chickpeas are some of the most protein-filled, plant-based foods to exist. Therefore, it is no surprise that Israeli startup, ChickP, chose to revolutionize the chickpea by turning it into a highly concentrated protein powder isolate. ChickP is able to extract protein from the whole chickpea seed to get a protein load of above 90%, while removing any anti-nutritional factors or bitter taste. The product is free of GMOs, allergens, and hormones and is almost tasteless. Now, it can be used for any food application, ranging from beverages, to meat or dairy alternatives, to pastries, and more.
ChickP is led by CEO: Ron Klein, Founder: Professor Ram Reifen, and COO: Shimrit Bar-El. It was founded in 2016 in Rehovot, and has raised $500K to date. The company recently opened an office in Singapore, expanding their product into the Asia-Pacific market.
If you are a meat lover, you know there is nothing like a nice, juicy, rich steak. However, the production of beef is a leading cause of climate change. Redefine Meat is helping us get out of this predicament by giving us our fix of meat, while also doing our part to protect our planet. The company has created a 3D printing technology that, using natural plant-based ingredients, can replicate the exact smell, taste, and texture of meat. Their technology is able to print at a speed of 10 kg per hour, maximizing production time. As Geektime reported in January, the company performed a blind taste test, and 90% of the 600 tasters couldn’t tell they were eating alternative meat.
Redefine Meat’s products are planned to go on market this year in Israel with their hamburgers, sausages, and kebabs, and at a later date, with their meat-free steaks. Additionally, the company intends to produce and distribute both their patent-pending 3D printers along with special Alt-Meat concoction “ink” cartridges in the near future. The startup was founded in 2018 by CEO: Eshchar Ben-Shitrit and CBO: Adam Lahav in Rehovot. They recently partnered with Best Meister, a high-quality Israeli meat distributor, and have raised $35 million to date.
Snacks are most likely part of our daily routine, whether we like it or not. In fact, in 2020, the global snack industry was worth almost half a trillion dollars. Unfortunately though, there are a lot more unhealthy snacks than healthy snacks available for convenience. For example, it is much easier to run downstairs and pick up a bag of chips from your local store than it is to cut up vegetables and make a salad. Torr, an Israeli startup, is working to make accessible and easy-to-eat snacks that are also healthy. It has developed multi-textural options that mimic the taste and texture of the snacks we love by binding ingredients together without the presence of sugar. As Roy Naaman, CEO of Torr, said in a Geektime article last year, “we are committed to develop innovative products that are based on simple and healthy ingredients you can see and taste for consumers around the world.”
Torr is headed by CEO and Co-Founder: Roy Naaman, COO and Co-Founder: Gil De Picciotto, and CTO and Co-Founder: Yoel Benesh, all veterans in the food industry. They recently landed a seed investment from Mondelēz International, SnackFutures, one of the largest snacking companies in the world (owners of Chips Ahoy, Oreo, Ritz, and many more).
Have you ever been told to avoid foods with dyes such as Red 40 or Yellow 5? If so, it’s because they have been linked to health issues, and are found in highly processed and unhealthy foods. Phytolon offers a healthy, natural, low-cost solution to food dye. Through the fermentation of baker’s yeast cells, betalain pigments are released, otherwise known as the naturally occurring dye in plants. In addition to offering a beautiful color, betalains provide numerous health benefits as they are among the strongest antioxidant phytochemicals known.
Phytolon was founded in 2018, stemming from a licensed technology through the Weizmann Institute of Science. It is led by biotechnology entrepreneurs, Co-Founder & CEO: Halim Jubran, PhD and Co-founder & CTO: Tal Zeltzer, PhD. To date, the company has raised $5.8 million in total, and expects their product to launch on the market in 2022.
At the heart of most of our food, is the seed it sprouts from. Currently, these seeds are over produced, just driven by carbs and yield, not taste or quality. That’s where Equinom comes in. They saw an opportunity to provide all-natural and clean seeds that allow farmers to cultivate the crops that most appealed to the consumers (through taste, textures, smells, and even the nutrition label). Using AI-driven technology and non-GMO breeding methods, farmers can custom-design the qualities they want and erase the lower quality, less healthy features we see all too often in the current market.
Equinom reports a more than impressive list of customers, such as Sabra Hummus, Roquette, GoodMills Group, and Dipasa. The company reaches across 20 countries, while headquartered in Giv'at Brenner, Israel with a subsidiary office in Indiana, US. Founded in 2012 by CEO: Dr. Gil Shalev, Equinom has raised $36 million to date.
Alternative meat production can be extremely expensive, which then passes the cost onto the consumer at a much steeper price than that of normal meat. This is a major deterrent for those who shop ethically, specifically, animal-cruelty free. Thankfully, Future Meat Technologies realized this disconnect and is working to make animal-cruelty free meat more affordable and closer to price parity with traditional farmed meat. They are able to do so by growing animal cells using their proprietary process of rapid natural proliferation to remove waste products and keep the cells thriving. Then, these cells grow forever without being genetically modified, producing ten times more than the industry standard.
Future Meat Technologies offers chicken and hamburgers, with their cultured chicken breasts only costing $3.90. The Jerusalem-based company has raised around $40 million to realize this mission. Future Meat is led by CSO and Founder: Professor Yaakov Nahamias and CEO: Rom Kshuk, and in 2020, won Calcalist’s FoodTech Innovation start-up contest.
Israeli startup Innovopro recognizes the immense health benefits of the chickpea: it’s not listed as an allergen, it’s GMO free, it’s rich in nutrients, it’s easy to integrate into any recipe, and much more. The company has decided to run with these benefits and create its proprietary chickpea protein concentrate, called CP-Pro 70. Using a unique extraction process, Innovopro offers a vegan, sustainable alternative to our favorite foods, such as ice cream, veggie burgers, pasta, and more.
The startup is based in Ra'anana and has raised $23.75 million to date. It was founded by Dr. Ascher Shmulewitz in 2013, and is led by CEO: Taly Nechushtan, CTO: Nitzan Natani Ben Chaim. Innovopro was awarded a “Seal of Excellence” by the European Commission and is on the market in 10 countries.
SIMPLIIGOOD produces a highly nutritional form of algae -- spirulina -- which is filled with several beneficial vitamins and minerals. SIMPLIIGOOD harvests fresh spirulina in the arid desert of the Arava region in Israel within specially equipped greenhouses. Spirulina helps regulate cholesterol levels, helps the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory effects. One of the more interesting aspects, especially for the alt-meat industries, is the algae’s high protein value.
The Israeli startup develops a product that is pesticide-free, helps absorb carbon dioxide from the air, is irrigated with 98% recycled water, and emits zero waste byproducts. "What drives me every morning to do what I do at SIMPLIIGOOD is the idea of leaving the world a better place for my children, and for future generations. We grow spirulina, which is actually the most efficient protein found in nature today, and are essentially turning the sun's rays into a complete protein" said Lior Shalev, CEO SIMPLIIGOOD. The startup was founded in 2015 by Shalev and Baruch Dach.
Fresh Start is a global Foodtech incubator, operating under the umbrella of the Israel Innovation Authority incubator programs. The program is based in the evolving agrofoodtech cluster in the north of Israel. It is backed by Israeli leading industry professionals Tnuva and Tempo, and by global VCs, OurCrowd and Finistere Ventures. Along with the incubator's professional management team, they provide an experienced, resourceful, and supportive international network to develop early-stage foodtech concepts and startups into maturity.
The incubator program's portfolio consist of 3 up-and-coming startups; Blue Tree – develops a system to remove selective sugars from natural liquids; Pigmentum – provides molecular technology for natural organic compounds; and Profuse – enhancing muscle mass to help accelerate production of cultured meat products.