What a week! We just wrapped up our first ever Smart Kitchen Europe event in Dublin. It was a whirlwind few days jam-packed with content and networking as foodtech innovators from across the continent got together to forge the future of food tech. If you’re curious, get to know the winner of our SKS Europe startup showcase, and read up on some smart ktichen news that dropped on the show floor. And of course, if you want to connect with many of the innovators from SKS Europe as well as a whole bunch more in person, make sure you’re at our flagship event in Seattle come October.
But enough about us — here’s a list of the some of the food tech news stories that snagged our interest this week. Perfect for reading over a second cup of coffee while fighting jet lag.
Sainsbury’s to add plant-based “bleeding” burger to meat section
British retail giant Sainsbury’s announced this week that it will debut a “bleeding” plant-based burger in June 27th in 400 locations. In the spirit of the Impossible Burger or Moving Mountains, the patty is meant to look, smell, cook, and taste like a beef burger in an attempt to woo flexitarians who are trying to reduce their meat consumption but don’t want to compromise on flavor. The plant-based burger, made by Danish brand Naturli’ Foods, will be sold alongside its beef counterparts in the meat section. This announcement comes not long after Tesco, another large U.K.-based grocery chain, released the news that it would carry Beyond Burgers in their shops beginning in July of this year.
Iceland amps up drone deliveries in Reykjavik
Aha, Iceland’s largest online marketplace, is slated to expand the number of drones it flies through Reykjavik over the next two years. That’s right, expand — this would be in addition to the limited drone trial they launched last year with Israeli company Flytrex last year.
According to the BBC, the drones could be used to speedily shuttle everything from pizzas to organs destined for transplant — as long as they’re below the maximum weight of 3kg (6lb, 9oz). Their results will no doubt be critical for companies like UberEats, who are also piloting drone delivery programs.
Molson Coors acquires California-based Kombucha brand
Kombucha, a non-alcoholic fermented tea beverage with purported gut health benefits, is not for everyone. But it appears that it’s certainly for Molson Coors, who recently acquired California-based brand Clearly Kombucha. The kombucha brand was founded in 2010 and will become part of Molson Coors’ craft and specialty import division, Tenth and Blake.
According to Grand View Research, the global kombucha market is expected to reach $4.46 billion by 2024. Lately, Molson Coors has been investing in non-alcoholic beverages; last year they purchased a minority stake in Bhakti, a Colorado-based chai tea company.
Scottish agtech company raises £500k
MiAlgae, a Scottish company that turns algae into nutrient-dense animal and fish feed, raised £500k ($665k) from backers including Equity Gap, SIB and Edinburgh University’s Old College, reported the U.K. Business Angels Association. The algae is grown using co-products from the Scottish whiskey distillation process (yum), and is high in omega-3 and other nutrients. As it’s made from a byproduct, the feed also has a low environmental footprint, which is critical as our global demand for, and production of, meat and fish continues to grow.
Google to sell groceries through Home and Assistant platforms in France
Earlier this week Google announced a joint venture with French grocery chain Carrefour. According to Bloomberg, the retailer said that this partnership marks the first time in France that fresh food will be marketed through Google’s platforms. French shoppers will be able to buy grocery products through Google Home and Google Assistant by 2019. This comes a little more than a month after Google unveiled Duplex, which allows Google Assistant to have surprisingly realistic phone conversations to do things like make restaurant reservations. We’ll see if this move can make Google Home/Assistant a competitor with Amazon’s Alexa, who already partnered with U.K. retailers for voice-controlled grocery shopping.