In other parts of the country, crisp, white snow is falling. Here in Seattle, we get rain — unbroken, gloomy rain. Which means it’s a great weekend to stay inside, do housework (or a movie marathon) and catch up on food tech news.
This week we’ve got stories about a new smoothie robot, investment in food waste technology, Unilever’s new food innovation hub and more. Enjoy!
Blendid opens new smoothie robot at Sonoma State University
Blendid has brought its autonomous smoothie vending machine to a second location this week at Sonoma State University’s Charlie Brown Café. If you didn’t know, Blendid’s robotic kiosk, known as Chef B, makes custom smoothies to order at the price of $6 per 12-ounce drink. Chef B can make 45 drinks per hour and blend 9 drinks simultaneously. Blended already operates its autonomous smoothie-makers at the University of San Francisco.
French e-grocery startup Jow raises $7 million
This week Jow, a French company with an e-grocery app, announced it had raised $7 million in funding (h/t Techcrunch). The round was led by Strike.VC along with angel investors and others. Founded in 2018, Jow’s app is essentially a shoppable recipe service which partners with e-grocery services for retail and pickup. It claims that all of its recipes require a maximum 15 minutes of preparation.
Unilever invests in global food innovation hub
International CPG giant Unilever announced this week that it had invested €85 million (about $94 million) in a new global Foods Innovation Centre located at a university campus in the Netherlands. Called “Hive,” the new facility is where Unilever will house its food innovation programs for its CPG brands like Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher and more. According to a press release, the company will focus on research in areas like meat alternatives and sustainable food packaging.
Hazel Technologies gets $100,000 grant to cut produce waste
This week Hazel Technologies, a Chicago-based startup whose antimicrobial packaging insert (called Hazel Endure) increases the shelf life of produce to cut food waste, announced it had been awarded a $100,000 grant by the USDA as part of the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This comes a few months after the company raised a $13 million Series B funding round. Hazel Endure is currently available on a limited scale to select growers, packers, and retailers in the U.S.
Coolgreens to introduce smart fridges in Dallas-Fort Worth
Foodservice company Coolgreens announced it will bring its smart fridges to its Coolgreens Market stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early 2020 (via QSRMagazine). Coolgreens Market serves fresh grab & go foods like salads and wraps. With the new smart fridges, customers can swipe their credit card, make their selection from the fridge, and will be automatically charged. The company plans to roll out new smart fridges in high-traffic areas like airports, office buildings and college campuses.