It was an exciting week in food tech with the annual SKS Summit happening earlier this week (if you missed it, check out the highlights of day one, day two, and day three). Outside of this week’s virtual event, a few other stories stood out to us, including bee-free honey, low carbon footprint menu items at Panera, Minnow partnering with two restaurants, and anti-stress nutrition bars.
Melibio is creating bee-free honey
Melibio is using microbial fermentation and synthetic biology to create honey without the use of bees. The process will mimic the process a bee would take to create honey and will use real flower nectar. Honey is often touted for its health benefits, and Melibio’s honey will contain small amounts of the amino acids, minerals, and enzymes found in real honey. The company plans on launching a product for food and beverage companies by late 2021.
Panera Bread releases climate-friendly labels on menu
Starting this week, Panera Bread’s menu will include “cool food” badges that signify which of its menu items have a lower carbon footprint. Around 55 percent of the chain’s existing menu items will have a cool food meal badge. Ingredients that are considered to have a low carbon footprint include vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. Medium carbon impact ingredients include fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, and poultry, and beef has the highest carbon footprint. Last month, Just Salad also released a Climatarian menu that shows menu items with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
Minnow launches pilot program in fast-casual restaurants
Minnow, the recent winner of the SKS Startup Showcase, launched a pilot program for its contact-free delivery and pick-up solution. The Minnow Pickup Pods will be located at Crisp Salads in Portland, Oregon, and bNatural Kitchen in New Haven, Connecticut. Similar to the design of an Amazon locker, the pods disrupt the use of expensive third-party delivery services like Doordash or Postmates. Additionally, the pods have a touchless interface for pick-up, and the cubbies are insulated to keep food fresh.
myAir releases stress-reducing nutrition bars
Tel-Aviv-based startup myAir makes nutrition bars infused with different herbal compounds to manage stress. The personalized nutrition company offers a short three-minute quiz on its website to determine a customer’s level of stress, and then the customer’s heart rate, sleep quality, physical activity is tracked through smartwatches. This data is then used to determine what combination of bars would be most beneficial for the customer. The gluten-free and vegan bars cost $3 each, and are available in flavors like Calm Green (infused with lemon balm extract) and Sleepy Gray (infused with hops).