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We just released The Spoon’s 2020 Food Tech 25 list yesterday, and we hope you have as much fun we reading it as we had creating it.
Each year, the Food Tech 25 is a chance for The Spoon’s staff to talk about what’s happening in the space that is truly innovative. We pitched ideas, defended nominations, and maybe even shed a tear or two. (What? I love food robots).
This year’s list is unique in the Food Tech 25 history because it comes during the middle of a global pandemic. We didn’t want to make this list all COVID all the time, but it’s a reflection of companies that were vital enough weather this worldwide storm, adapt accordingly to the new world being shaped by it, and preparing us for an even better post-pandemic future.
The 2020 Food Tech 25 features a ton of great companies big and small, including:
- Culture Biosciences – a company trying to create the AWS of bioreactors
- Tovala – the smart oven and meal service that’s seen demand surge
- Perfect Day – whose flora-based ice cream tastes like the “real” thing
- Zippin – a startup changing the cashierless checkout game
- Picnic – a robotic system that cranks out 200 pizzas an hour
You should definitely check out the full list because every company on there deserves its spot.
Congratulations to all the companies that made the 2020 Food Tech 25, we look forward writing about how you continue to change the world (and listing those accomplishments).
3D-printed plant based steaks get an industrial boost
A company we’re definitely keeping our eye on for next year’s Food Tech 25 list is Redefine Meat, which uses 3D printing to create plant-based steaks. The company announced new high-production industrial-level 3D printing capabilities this morning. As Spoon Founder Mike Wolf wrote:
This new capability, which the company says allows them to now print up to 50 steaks an hour, will help company roll out its 3D printed steaks to select restaurants in Europe this fall for market tests as it prepares for a broader rollout of its industrial 3D meat printers to meat distributors in 2021.
Redefine’s 3D printers cost $100,000 a pop, which really puts the “select” in “select restaurants.” But the company’s technology is still very early and is coming at a time when sales of plant-based meat are booming. So hopefully the company can ride that wave of popularity to scale up faster and bring its prices down.
What’s fun, from an industry watcher perspective, is seeing the number of different alternate protein solutions in the works. From the massive scale of existing plant-based players like Impossible and Beyond Meat, to the burgeoning cell-cultured world of Integriculture and Memphis Meat to the 3D printing of Redefine Meat, the alternative protein space is really starting to cook.
Can food tech save the school cafeteria?
Despite all the great companies we have on our Food Tech 25 list, sadly none of them have cracked the problems that will come with re-opening school cafeterias during this pandemic.
The question of what in-person schooling will look like is one families across the country will face in just a matter of months. While it may be “easy” to mask up and socially distance kids inside a classroom, all bets are off when it’s time for school lunch.
How do you create a safe cafeteria experience for hundreds of kids who are yelling, running around and just being kids? It’s a conundrum I brought up over the weekend because it doesn’t seem like something food tech can fix . But I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve seen, heard or thought of a solution.