While cell-based meat is a ways away from hitting the mainstream, there are lots of companies working hard to make it happen. We picked Integriculture partly because of its technology, but also because of its founder, Yuki Hanyu, who also founded the DIY cultured meat community Shojinmeat. That’s right. DIY cell meat in your home. They even created a Manga comic to show people how to do it. Hanyu’s Integriculture just nabbed $7.4 million in funding and has plans on releasing its first product, a faux foie gras, to restaurants by 2021. But that’s just the beginning. Hanyu presented a grand vision for his company’s future at last year’s SKS: Japan, which included giant bioreactors churning out cell-based meat for space travelers.
If you’ve been to Sweden lately, it’s increasingly hard to miss Karma’s pink fridges that sell excess food from local restaurants and food retailers. In over 4,000 locations across the country, Karma enables the restaurants and grocery stores to sell food they would otherwise throw away at half price to consumers, who find and purchase the food through the Karma app. The Stockholm-based startup, which has raised almost $17 million, also has fridges in in the U.K. (1,800) and France (1,000), with plans to eventually bring them to the US. Like many companies, Karma was impacted by COVID-19, but the startup quickly ramped up a food delivery business in Sweden and the U.K. to help retailers sell food products. To date, the company has over 1 million app downloads and 7,500 partners using their network to sell excess food.
When it comes to providing restaurants extra kitchen infrastructure for fulfilling delivery orders, Kitchen United is one of the indisputable leaders of the space. The company offers restaurants a turnkey package that includes the necessary space, equipment, and technology for doing off-premises restaurant businesses. Kitchen United has so far attracted big brands like Chick-fil-A, The Halal Guys, Dog Haus, and Boston Market. All that said, one of the most compelling things about KU is its realistic take on the role of the ghost kitchen and the criteria restaurants need to meet to even consider one. That reality check is refreshing in an industry that tends to get overhyped, and a necessary one for restaurant serious about doing off-premises over the long haul.
Here’s the deal with Middleby. They are everywhere, working behind the scenes to help make some of the most innovative technology a reality. High-end appliances, food robotics, augmented reality, out-of-the-box ghost kitchens . . . the company has a hand in all of that. The company moved deeper into the consumer space last year with the acquisition of Brava, and will implement that company’s light-based cooking tech into other products. It’s an old saw, to be sure, but Middleby is providing the picks and pans for those seeking food tech gold.
While the Millo blender has yet to launch, its innovative upside down design, and quiet magnetic air-drive motor made it a winner at our 2019 Smart Kitchen Summit. But in addition to its good lookin’ blender, the company debuted a smart table at this years CES. The table uses the same magnetic air drive to wirelessly power appliances and an induction cooktop to create a hot surface for cooking. While we still need to see how Millo makes the leap to full production of its devices, the company is definitely thinking big and looking to, errr, mix things up.