Foodtech Junkies is a deep dive podcast series for anyone who is passionate about food and ag innovation. Every week we take a 360-degree view of the latest developments and pick the brains of entrepreneurs, investors, chefs, authors, experts, advocates, visionaries, and troublemakers. These are the people paving the way for positive disruptions in our global food chain. Join us for laid-back, thought-provoking conversations about trends, investments, solutions, and our common good.
A Startup Nation's Take On The Future Of Fermentation
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
In this conversation, we bring one of the very best minds of the Startup Nation’s protein experts, Tammy Meiron, CTO of Fresh Start, an incubator aiming to impact our food system through innovation, and Jonathan Rathauser, Chief Egg Officer and co-founder of Precision fermentation startup Eggmented Reality.
We will dive into the technology and this rising trend, the need for alternative ingredients, the making of a startup, and the need for innovation to impact a sustainable food system transformation.
About Dr. Tammy Meiron
Tammy has over 25 years of experience in R&D, production, and technology transfer fields in the life-science, pharmaceuticals, and food industries.
In her last position, she led the technology in two leading Israeli FoodTech start-ups, developing plant-based egg substitutes for all egg applications as CTO of Zero Egg; and developing sweet proteins as a non-GMO sugar substitute as the Amai Proteins Director of Food Technology.
Previously, she was involved in numerous startups in the fields of R&D, IP, tech transfer, production Scale-UP, operations, joint ventures with multinational companies, and more.
About Jonathan Rathauser
An entrepreneurial leader at the intersection of business, technology, and behavior change. Creative, data-driven, and goal-oriented. A strategic thinker with demonstrated ability to plan, prioritize and execute amongst competing, dynamic responsibilities. Biased towards action with a track record of bringing clarity to uncertainty, aligning incentives, and rolling up the sleeves – doing whatever it takes – to ensure success.
About Fresh Start
Fresh-Start is part of the IIA (Israeli Innovation Authority) incubator’s program, leveraging government funds to support and invest in early-stage startups. It is also a part of a larger vision to create an AgriFoodTech cluster, “the foodtech valley,” in the North of Israel, promoting the local economy through internationally oriented ventures.
Fresh Start intended to grow dozens of impactful food tech companies from vision to scale over eight years of franchise and serve as a vehicle for all its strategic and financial partners to initiate and develop FoodTech Innovation. With the best of the nation's industry players; Tnuva (the biggest Israeli food company) and Tempo (one of the biggest Israeli beverages companies), and the best of global VCs; OurCrowd (a leading equity crowdfunding platform) and Finistere Ventures (a global AgriFood Venture Capital fund), Fresh-Start is looking to impact the future of food, beverage, and nutrition by introducing breakthrough technologies that comply with the emerging needs of the FoodTech world.
The Quest for Flavor Parity: in Conversation with Nourish Ingredients
What does the future hold for alternative proteins? Are they going to reach widespread adoption in the next few years? Many seem to think so. A systemwide transition towards them would indeed benefit people and the planet. However, obstacles still stand in the way of a wider uptake. For animal-free to be successful with consumers, they must deliver on flavor, texture, sustainable sourcing, and price parity - a tall order for many companies.
Despite the hurdles, the game is still on, and one way to improve flavor and texture is to look at one of the most overlooked elements of the dairy and meat experience: fats and oils. Joining us for the latest episode of FoodTech Junkies is precision fermentation wizard James Petrie, co-founder and CEO of Nourish Ingredients. This Food Tech company creates animal-free fats using synthetic biology and recently secured $28.6 million in Series A funding to scale production and extend product development. Want to learn more? Tune in!
About Dr James Petrie
Dr James Petrie is CEO of Nourish Ingredients, an Australian-based developer of animal-free fats using synthetic biology. Dr Petrie is an experienced crop metabolic engineer having spent 13 years at CSIRO, Australia's Governmental Research Agency, before co-founding Nourish Ingredients in 2019.
As CEO of Nourish, James is turning his expertise in synthetic biology to the animal-free meat and dairy space, with his company having just announced a $28.6MN USD Series A funding round to advance their efforts in the space.
About Nourish Ingredients
Nourish creates fats for the next generation of delicious alternative proteins, so they cook, smell, and taste just like the real thing, animal-free. They believe that taste is the most critical challenge for the alternative protein sector, and alt-protein foods must win the hearts and taste-buds of even the most devout lovers of meat and dairy for the sector to truly tap into the mainstream.
Imagine the texture of a juicy roast chicken or the aroma of a succulent beef burger, but from plant-based meat. Nourish fats make a transformative impact on alternative proteins.
Ecosystem Thinking: a Recipe Against Inaction
Factoring people's well-being and overall impact into business choices is no longer a matter of values, but one of survival. There are several approaches to reconciling planetary health with profit. But one thing is for sure: working as a system and sharing knowledge is essential to expedite this process. On this episode of FoodTech Junkies, we dive into exactly this with FoodTech Magazine’s funder and now author Beatriz Romanos. She is a disseminator, innovation coach, mentor, and industry pioneer. We picked her brain to learn what her vision is for helping companies, startups, and organizations in the food and restaurant industry hit the 3P sweet spot.
About Beatriz Romanos
Combining her experience of more than fifteen years in the technology industry with her passion for the world of food, since 2014 Beatriz Romanos' work has focused on disseminating, inspiring and catalysing transformation in the food industry.
She is the founder of TechFood Magazine, a reference publication for companies, startups and investors in the sector. She also works with companies in the food industry and startups as an innovation coach and mentor. Beatriz has specialised in advanced innovation methodologies and frameworks born in Silicon Valley and purpose-driven, such as ExO and Purpose Launchpad, which she has been adapting to the food segment.
Beatriz sees food as a source of health, energy and pleasure, but also as a field full of opportunities to boost economic, social and environmental sustainability, where the emerging foodtech industry plays a decisive role.
Beatriz has been recognised as one of the "50 people who are leading the future of food" by KM ZERO Food Innovation Hub's "Fooduristic'22" report.
Beatriz Romanos has a degree in journalism and a postgraduate degree in Business Management and Communication from Instituto de Empresa, as well as being certified in various disciplines related to innovation, such as ExO Coach or Master Purpose Lauchpad Mentor.
More about her book: Foodtech (lideditorial.com)
Undressing the Agrifood Industry with Naked Innovations
What are the nuances around the latest trends? How do we stop regeneration from becoming the umpteenth green-washing buzzword? How essential are human-centered design and circular design in food system transformation? In this exciting episode of FoodTech Junkies, we interview veteran agrifood consultants and Naked Innovations founders Ryan Edwards and Laurie Tan and dive into some of foodtech's hottest unspoken questions that we urgently need an answer to.
About Laurie Tan and Ryan Edwards
Laurie Tan is the COO and Co-Founder of Naked Innovations. He has over 14 years of experience leading impactful advocacy campaigns with social and environmental impact in the political arena, managing digital transformation projects globally and building collaborative and diverse ecosystems in agrifood.
Ryan Edwards is the CEO and Co-Founder of Naked Innovations. He has over 17 years of international leadership experience and previously worked as the European Marketing & Innovation Leader at Cargill before becoming CEO of allfoodexperts; a global Open Innovation platform and community of 10,000+ food experts.
About Naked Innovations
Naked Innovations is an eclectic mix of entrepreneurial “co-creators, fresh-thinkers, disruptors, shakers, provocateurs” that curate and empower agrifood ecosystems for a healthier planet and people. They challenge the status quo in the agri-food industry by empowering diverse people and focusing on openness, curiosity and creative thinking to drive impactful sustainable growth.
Science Fiction no More: A New Brand of Lab-grown Meat
Today's guest is Joshua March, co-founder & CEO of Sci-fi foods. This Coldplay-backed startup is on a mission to empower humanity to eat sustainably. Their innovative approach consists of growing cultivated beef cells while combining them with plant-based proteins to achieve a better-tasting burger at a fraction of the cost. In our chat, we touched on the alt protein market, as well as their vision, mission, technology, and their latest funding round that brought in a new board member from leading investor a16z, Vijay Pande.
About Joshua March
Joshua March is CEO and Co-founder of SCiFi Foods, a Bay Area food tech company focused on making transformational meat alternatives first by combining plant-based and cultivated meat to make burgers that are drastically closer in taste to the real versions.
A serial entrepreneur with two exits to his name, Josh was previously the CEO and Co-founder of Conversocial, a digital care platform for messaging that integrates with many of the world's leading brands. He is also the author of Message Me, a book about the future of customer service in the era of social messaging and artificial intelligence, and has been featured on Bloomberg, CNBC, and the BBC, amongst others.
Josh has a passion for all things food science, environmental sustainability, and believes in the potential of synthetic biology to create superior products for a rapidly growing world. Originally from England and now based in San Francisco, Joshua can be found on Twitter @joshuamarch
About SCiFi Foods
SCiFi Foods works on the next generation of meat alternatives by cultivating meat, instead of harvesting meat from animals. SCiFi develops and executes a strategic vision for a biomanufacturing company that grows meat from animal cells, thereby empowering humanity to eat sustainable food.
Leading with purpose: The Gotham Greens Story
Eleven years ago, the news of a company building an urban farm using hydroponics on a NY roof circled the globe and made us all wonder. Today with farms across America, that same organization is one of the world's largest and most commercially successful ones in the sector. That company is Gotham Greens. Today on Foodtech Junkies, we meet with its co-founder & CEO Viraj Puri to learn more about the company's roots, evolution and plans for the future.
About Viraj Puri
Viraj Puri is Co-Founder and CEO, Gotham Greens, an entrepreneur and innovator who has helped to advance the indoor urban farming industry and has paved the way for building commercial scale indoor farming operations in the heart of cities across America. Over the past decade under Viraj’s leadership, Gotham Greens has grown to be one of the largest and most commercially successful indoor farming companies in the world with nearly 400 employees and nine high-tech greenhouse facilities across six U.S. states. Viraj is deeply committed to weaving Environmental, Social and Government (ESG) principles into the DNA of companies and using the private sector as a force for positive change in the world. Prior to Gotham Greens, Viraj led start-up enterprises in the United States, India and Malawi focused on sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy and environmental design. He has been awarded fellowships from TED, Wild Gift and the Environmental Leadership Program and recognized as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 New York Awards and one of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2020” by Goldman Sachs. Viraj is a LEED® Accredited Professional and earned a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University.
About Gotham Greens
Gotham Greens is a fresh food company on a mission to transform the way we approach our food system, putting people and the planet at the forefront. Gotham Greens produces and delivers long-lasting and delicious leafy greens, herbs, salad dressings, dips and cooking sauces all year round to retail, restaurant and foodservice customers. A Certified B Corporation™, Gotham Greens farms with the future in mind through a national network of climate-controlled, high-tech greenhouses in cities across America, including locations in New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maryland, Colorado and California. Since its launch in 2011, Gotham Greens has grown from a single urban rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., to one of the largest hydroponic leafy green producers in North America. Gotham Greens products are available in approximately 3,000 grocery stores nationwide.