Time for this week’s food tech news roundup! This week on the Spoon we covered self-heating beverage cans, beer made from surplus bread, and indoor smart grow system Ava’s (one of the Smart Kitchen Summit startup showcase finalists of 2017!) seed funding. We also launched a new podcast episode discussing how machine learning can help dairy farmers.
But enough about us — here are some of the food tech news stories that caught our eye this week:
Marley Spoon files IPO in Australia
Meal kit subscription service Marley Spoon filed for an initial public offering (IPO) this week in Australia, according to TechCrunch. The company is headquartered in Berlin, but decided to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) because Down Under is one of its biggest markets. Marley Spoon has tried to distinguish itself from competing services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh through its paid partnership with Martha Stewart and its launch of budget-friendly line Dinnerly. The IPO is expected to give Marley Spoon a market capitalization of $152 million — but we’ll see if it can overcome challenges others like Blue Apron faced post-IPO, and whether Marley Spoon will make the move into retail stores like Hello Fresh, Plated and Home Chef.
Purple Carrot unveils 100% curbside recyclable packaging
Marley Spoon wasn’t the only meal kit company with an announcement this week. Purple Carrot, the plant-based meal kit service, sent out a press release to tell the world about their “new 100% curbside recyclable packaging.” Meal kits may cut down on food waste, but they’re notorious for their packaging waste; even if many elements are technically recyclable they often require a good deal of effort on the consumer’s part to break them down or drive them to a facility capable of processing them. Purple Carrot promises that its new packaging will be 100% fit for at-home recycling — which could be a huge step towards mitigating plastic packaging waste.
Gates Foundation invests $14M in dairy tech app
Last week Stellapps Technologies, the India-based IoT and data analysis stack for the dairy supply chain, raised a $14 million Series B round, as reported by AgFunder News. The round was led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IndusAge Partners. Founded in 2011, Stellapps uses sensors, machine learning, and automation to optimize the entire dairy supply chain: from production to shipping to distribution. Technology has unlocked a new era of cow and dairy management, with startups like SomaDetect and Connecterra allowing farmers to make more data-driven decisions.
KFC to test vegetarian fried “chicken” in U.K.
KFC UK has made promises to cut their calorie content by 20 percent over the next 7 years, and one of the ways they’re working towards this goal is by developing a vegetarian version of their iconic fried chicken. Apparently, the new menu offering will still use the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that made the Colonel famous, and will debut some time in 2019. This comes on the heels of the plant-based Impossible burger’s launch at White Castle.
Beyond Meat doubles production to meet increased demand
This week, plant-based protein company Beyond Meat announced that it would double their production to sate the growing hunger for their plant-based burgers. According to Plant Based News, Beyond burgers are outselling beef burgers in some stores in California, and Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown has said that the company is ahead of their sales targets. All of which means that the demand for meat-like vegan burgers is there, and is growing — the question now becomes if Beyond Meat can keep up with demand, especially as it rolls out in 50 countries this summer.
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