Are you baking bread this weekend? (Hot tip: Even if you can’t find yeast at the store, there’s a simple way to make your own at home.)
In between your dough prooves is a great time to catch up on your latest dose of food tech news. This week we’ve got stories on fresh varietals of gene-edited berries, a new Nordic FoodTech VC fund, Burger King’s trouble over its plant-based burger ads in the UK, and more.
Pairwise partners to breed new type of berries
Agriculture and biotech company Pairwise forged a partnership with Plant Sciences Inc (PSI) this week to create new types of berries (via WRAL TechWire). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pairwise uses CRISPR gene editing to develop new varietals of food that are optimized for nutrition, have longer shelf lives or grow more quickly. First up, Pairwise and PSI will focus on black and red raspberries, as well as blackberries. They’re hoping to have their first round of berries on shelves within the next few years.
Lyft launches delivery program for orgs affected by COVID-19
Rideshare and last-mile logistics company Lyft launched a new COVID-19-related initiative this week. Essential Deliveries is a program that partners with businesses and nonprofits to help them deliver staple goods like groceries, prepared meals, and cleaning and medical supplies (h/t Techcrunch) to consumers. Partners can tap into Lyft’s platform to set up deliveries or schedule rides. The program will be available in at least 11 cities nationwide and drivers will be alerted about the nature of the goods they’re delivering. All deliveries will be contact-free.
Nordic FoodTech VC launches with €24.55 million
Nordic FoodTech VC, a new venture fund targeting early-stage tech companies making the food system more sustainable and nutritious, has launched this week. The fund will begin investing with €24.55 million ($26.7 million USD) in capital. It’s the first fund in the Nordic countries and plans to invest in “dozens” of companies innovating to improve the global food system.
Burger King’s plant-based Whopper ads banned in UK
Three ads from Burger King in the UK promoting its Rebel Whopper have now been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. Burger King launched the Rebel Whopper, which features a plant-based burger from Unilever-owned Vegetarian Butcher, back in January 2020. Since then, complaints came in stating that the ad was misleading consumers by suggesting that it could be eaten by vegetarians, vegans, and people with egg allergies, despite the fact that it’s cooked on the same grill as meat products and features mayonnaise. The ASA has sided with the complaints, stating that the small print at the bottom of BK’s ads stating that the Rebel Whopper is cooked alongside meat products was not sufficiently in informing consumers.