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Food Waste Innovation in 2019

Fighting food waste is one of the next important frontiers of foodtech. In the course of just a few years, a question historically left on the periphery of the food industry has become a central issue: How do we curb the billions of tons of food that goes wasted around the world each year?

While no one’s going to solve the problem overnight, it’s encouraging that so many groups, from massive corporations to energetic startups to government bodies, are stepping forward with new ways to combat food waste. In fact, there are so many of them now we put together a market map this week to outline the different areas of food waste innovation. From new approaches to packaging to leveraging apps to the power of upcycling, these are the companies to watch in this important new sector.

Download the map below, and let us know if we missed anyone you think should be added.

Solar Foods CEO Wants to Make Food From Thin Air

Granted, if we start making food from thin air, waste could be considerably less problematic. That’s not wishful thinking on my part, either. As has been pointed out recently, Finnish company Solar Foods is using air and electricity to create a new kind of protein. It’s in a similar vein to what Impossible Foods is doing to create its “bleeding” meat.

Over the weekend, Mike dug into the details on a podcast with Solar Foods CEO Pasi Vainikka. If you’re wondering when food made from air will actually land on your dinner plate (sooner than you’d think), take a listen to Mike’s interview.

Amazon Go Debuts in NYC — With Cash

Speaking of glaringly large issues in foodtech: the fight around the cashless business model isn’t going away anytime soon, either. And, of course, Amazon’s a central figure in that fight, thanks to its Amazon Go stores, which were originally built on the cashless business model.

That hasn’t worked out so well for the Seattle giant. As more voices have risen in objection to cashless retail (citing the model’s discriminatory nature towards unbanked and underbanked populations), Amazon has felt the pressure. With restaurant chains like Sweetgreen reversing their cashless models and entire cities refusing to grant exemptions to retailers, Amazon has had to pivot away from purely cashless Go stores.

Hence, the new Amazon Go store, which debuted in NYC today. As Chris noted, “Once your shopping is done, there is a counter in the middle of the store where a person with a handheld scanner checks you out, accepts payment and will even give you a paper receipt.”

I have no doubt that at some point in our lifetimes we’ll see the country go cashless. But with digital discrimination become as big an issue as food waste, greenbacks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Onward!

Jenn

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