Introducing Future Food News Review – join us!

March 24, 2021

Two weeks ago, we launched our new partnership with Danielle Gould from Food+Tech Connect on Clubhouse. Since then we’ve hosted several rooms including:

  • Reimagining Restaurants with US salad chain sweetgreen about their plans to go carbon neutral
  • Book Club with the founder of IndieBio and co-author of Decoding the World Arvind Gupta alongside Po Bronson, an award-winning writer and MD of IndieBio
  • A Celebration of Women Innovating Food on International Women’s Day (this was so popular that we’re hosting another to mark the end of International Women’s Month next Tuesday, March 30 from 3pm ET)

Our newest format, and one we’re particularly excited about, is the Future Food News Review, featuring leading journalists in foodtech and agtech sharing and discussing their top headlines of the week. We had the inaugural session last Friday and we were blown away by the interest and engagement we got. So we’re going to be bringing this to Clubhouse every week from 7am Pacific Time, 10am Eastern, 3pm GMT (once the clocks have joined the others and sprung forward!) for about 1.5 hours.

We plan to release a recording of the show on our Future Food podcast each week. Unfortunately we had some technical difficulties with the recording last week and there were too many gaps and noise interruptions to share on the podcast. But here’s a list of the journalists and the articles they shared.

Join us on Clubhouse in the Food+Tech Connect Club every Friday at 7am PT for Future Food News Review. Email louisa@agfunder.com for an invite to the app.

Cathy Erway (Freelance food writer with bylines in The New York Times, Eater, Food & Wine, TASTE, New York Magazine, and more) shared her coverage in Eater and Grubstreet on the impact of Covid-19 on Chinatown restaurants, particularly in the midst of an increase in anti-Asian violence across the US.

Chloe Sorvino (Forbes) shared her recent guide to equity crowdfunding for food startups; once a dirty word in startup land, some regulatory changes allowing companies to raise more funding this way are making it an increasingly attractive option, particularly as companies do not usually have to give up any voting rights. There are also offerings for farmers.

Errol Schweiser (Forbes) talked about his recent coverage of Krogers. The US’s largest grocery store chain recently announced it’s closing seven stores after cities started mandating that frontline workers be paid a higher hourly rate; “hazard pay” for the risks they undertake by continuing to work. Chloe Sorvino, who broke the news for Forbes, also chimed in.

Errol also shared an article he wrote about the growing consolidation in the retail sector and increase in anti-trust movements in the sector.

Sonalie Figueiras (Green Queen Media) introduced big news for the week that alternative protein companies raised a record-breaking $3.1 billion in investment in 2020, according to new research from the Good Food Institute. That was triple 2019 levels. We discussed why Asia is often on the back foot innovating in some areas but has an amazing capacity to overtake (the historic regulatory approval Singapore gave to Eat Just for its cultivated meat is a case in point.) She also shared an article on seafood fraud.

Megan Poinski (Food Dive) shared her coverage of the growing number of plant-based cheese options, asking whether the big dairy companies will get in on the action too.

Monica Watrous (Food Business News) followed on from that with a story about plant-based product development as well as the pandemic’s impact on food retail, which has accelerated consumer adoption of digital platforms. The article digs into how retailers are adjusting.

Leah Douglas (The Food & Environment Reporting Network, or FERN) shared her story about the continued Covid-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants in parts of the US. The Smithfield Foods-owned Farmer John plant inconsistently reported its number of Covid cases which now tops 700, Internal county and city health department emails, obtained by the Documenting COVID-19 project in collaboration with FERN.

Megan Morris (Business Insider) introduced her story about Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s new venture CloudKitchens, which is wreaking havoc on a Chicago street. Her article analyzes CloudKitchens’ rollout to understand why some locations are fine and others are at a “boiling point.”

Kristen Hawley (Expedite, contributor to Eater, Business Insider, Food & Wine, and more) shared an article from CNBC about “a company you probably never heard of but will know” called Olo whose shares soared after its public market debut. The company makes software for restaurant online ordering, and its clients include Shake Shack and Chili’s.

Jennifer Marston (The Spoon) shared an article about a hybrid vertical farm and greenhouse and another startup selling grow cabinets for retailers. She shared her thoughts about how the indoor agriculture industry is going to shape up and what types of farms will proliferate. VC investor Michael Rose (The Mixing Bowl and Better Food Ventures) joined in referencing the market map of 3,000-plus startups working in indoor agtech that he published on AFN.

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