Sophie's Bionutrients burger
Singaporean startup Sophie’s Bionutrients unveiled what it says is the world's first burger made entirely from algae. Image credit: Sophie's Bionutrients

Friday Foodtech Digest: World’s first microalgae burger unveiled; Gathered Foods nets $26m

April 9, 2021

Here are some tech tidbits from around the week’s wider food-o-sphere to finish off your Friday.

Plant-based food sales hit $7 billion last year (United States). The Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute found that US retail sales of plant-based foods continued to increase by double digits in 2020, growing 27% year-on-year. (Good Food Institute)

Mission Barns scores $24 million for cultivated fats (United States). Lever VC, Gullspang Re:Food, Humboldt Fund, Green Monday Ventures, Blue Ledge Capital, Prithvi Ventures, and Joyance Partners were among the investors to participate in the Series A round. (Mission Barns)

Crop-dusting drone startup Guardian Agriculture banks $10.5 million (United States). Leaps by Bayer led the round with participation from Wilbur-Ellls’ VC arm Cavallo Ventures, FMC Ventures, and Fall Line Capital, among others. (Forbes)

‘Molecular spirits’ maker Endless West raises $21 million (United States). The Series B funding came from Horizons Ventures, Litani Ventures, North East Family Office. and SOSV, among others. (Endless West)

Kiwi bee farmers push for “national conversation” around glyphosate use (New Zealand). The calls come after Japan rejected five shipments of honey from New Zealand for exceeding the country’s accepted trace levels for glyphosate weed killer. (Radio New Zealand)

Human food waste could be a sustainable source of aquafeed, new research suggests (Australia). A team from the University of Western Australia found that processing organic food waste with black soldier fly larvae produced high quality aquafeed for rainbow trout and other key food species. (The Fish Site)

How many of us are flexitarians? 42%, according to Euromonitor (global). The market research firm found that so-called ‘flexitarians’ – that is, people actively restricting the animal-based elements of their diets – far outnumber full-on vegetarians and vegans, who make up 6& and 4% of the global population respectively. Australia is the ‘most flexitarian’ country, with conscientious omnivores making up 45% of its population. (Euromonitor)

Experiential grocery startup Dom’s Kitchen & Market gets $15 million seed funding (United States). “Dom’s will be a neighborhood destination where consumers can drop in several times per week, explore new foods, watch the cooking process […] participate in a wine tasting class, dine in, or take home,” said co-founder Jay Owen. (Grocery Dive)

Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, CIMB Islamic Bank extend $6 million microfinancing program for digital agtech (Malaysia). The funding is intended to assist smallholder farmers to adopt tech solutions, while encouraging younger people to select a career in agriculture. (The Malaysian Reserve)

TurtleTree partners with China’s JSBiosciences (Singapore/China). Cell-cultured milk startup TurtleTree is partnering with the Chinese biotech firm to create cell culture media at commercial scale, providing it with a larger supply of food-grade basal media and driving down costs for TurtleTree’s enterprise customers. (TurtleTree Labs)

Sophie’s Bionutrients unveils world’s first algae burger (Singapore). The startup has developed what it claims to be the world’s first burger made from microalgae, with up to twice the protein value of beef or fish. (Sophie’s Bionutrients)

New Wave Foods brings plant-based ‘shrimp’ to market (United States). The Stamford, Connecticut-based startup raised $18 million for its Series A round in January. It’s backed by Tyson Foods, among others. (Vegconomist)

Meanwhile, Gathered Foods nets $26.4 million for its plant-based seafood (United States). The Austin, Texas-based startup secured the bridge funding from Louis Dreyfus Company, Unovis Asset Management, Big Idea Ventures, and others. (Gathered Foods)

Solar Foods secures $11.9 million for carbon dioxide-derived protein (Finland). The capital came from the Finnish Climate Fund and will help the Espoo-based startup to build proteins from air using electricity. (Solar Foods)

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