Start-ups in the spotlight: “Breakthrough” innovation nominees for Future Food-Tech 2018
11 Sep 2018 --- The Future Food-Tech summit (London, October 18-19, 2018) has revealed the 13 international start-ups who have been selected to showcase their technologies and “breakthrough” innovations at the summit. The event is vital for the investors and global food corporates seeking fresh thinking, new solutions and potential partners among the entrepreneurs set to change the future of food. Future Food-Tech is held annually in London, San Francisco and New York.
Focused on harnessing technology to address the critical issues facing the global food industry, the London summit will bring together over 300 global food-brands, investors and entrepreneurs to create new alliances and accelerate the adoption and commercialization of new products and solutions.
FoodIngredientsFirst has spoken to some of the nominees, who gave further insight into their ingredient innovations.
• Amai Proteins (Israel)
Isreali-based Amai Proteins produces healthy sweet proteins as a sugar substitute. The sweeteners are healthy (zero calories, zero glycaemic-index), widely-food-compatible, cost-effective, non-GMO and taste like sugar.
“Sugar consumption is the leading global health challenge of mankind and is also a major consumer concern,” Dr. Ilan Samish, Founder and CEO, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “Amai Proteins is presenting the first healthy family of sweeteners which are novel sweet proteins that are adapted for the mass food market.”
Amai Proteins, established in Dec. 2016, aims to globally disrupt the sweetening market by offering novel sweet proteins that are fit for the mass food market.
“Along the equatorial belt, from China and Malaysia, to West Africa such plants seduce animals by presenting sweet proteins that are up to 3,000 times sweeter than sugar (by weight). These include the globally approved thaumatin (E957) as well as other proteins such as brazzein, monellin, mabinlin, miraculin, curculin and others. Unlike small-molecule sweeteners (which compose all of the markets including sugar, stevia and all other sweeteners), sweet protein macromolecules are actually healthy as they are digested in the upper GI tract without having a negative effect on insulin response, microbiome, liver metabolites and excretion by the kidneys,” Dr. Samish explains.
“Sweet proteins suffer from the limited supply as well as challenges in stability and fit to the food matrix (temperature, acidity, non-aqueous milieu). Moreover, the sweet profile of most sweet proteins is not ideal presenting a lingering taste and a slow onset. Notably, each of the different sweet proteins presents a different mix of these challenges,” he explains.
Amai's quick success is also due to the vast collaborations it has with several academic institutions and corporate in R&D and food technology alike. With SodaStream, they formulated several flavors of 50 percent protein-sweetened soda with the other half being either sugar or stevia. Another collaboration that was launched is with Danone and with Strauss on beverage and dairy applications.
• Triton Algae Innovations (US)
US-based Triton Algae Innovations is a start-up company committed to improving human nutrition. To do this, Triton is bringing a nutritious microalgae powder (chlamydomonasreinhardtii) which is safe to eat, tastes great, and is rich in protein, Vitamin A, essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, and other vital nutrients, to the market. To further unleash the potential of this algae, Triton developed a scalable and sustainable manufacturing process and pioneered unique biotechnology tools to produce from these algae key nutritional compounds such as colostrum proteins and heme-binding proteins, the latter of which are essential components of alternative meat products.
Xun Wang, President & CEO, tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “Our algae powder is extremely versatile in terms of potential applications as an ingredient in foods. Because we can produce it in two colors, green and yellow, there is a good deal of flexibility in how and in what kind of product it might be used. We have on our own experimented with a variety of applications, as have several companies who are collaborating with us on product formulations.”
Jon Hansen, Chief Engineering officer, also comments: “One of the fundamental challenges faced by the algae industry is the need for scalable, reproducible, efficient and cost-effective production at commercial scale. This is something that continues to present obstacles to companies producing other kinds of algae, particularly via traditional outdoor production in ponds, in which variables such as weather, seasonal changes, contaminants, water availability and disposal, access to cheap concentrated CO2, and energy requirements all need to be carefully accounted for and managed. Even then, algae produced this way often still require additional processing and purification.”
Triton has been able to circumvent a number of these variables via its proprietary low-cost production methodologies. Using a closed fermentation approach, Triton’s process is highly productive, requires minimal amounts of land and fresh water, uses no crop protection chemicals, is scalable, and is able to effectively manage what small amounts of wastewater emerge from the process.
“This sustainable production platform also gives Triton a fundamental long-term market advantage, by addressing consumer concerns regarding environmental impacts and sustainability, responsible production, consistency, quality and safety,” Hanson adds.
Miller Tran, Director of Research, notes that there is a wide range of applications that this ingredient could be suited to. “At the end of the day, we are a provider of a highly nutritious and protein-rich ingredient, and the food companies which have reached out to and are engaging with us have very clear ideas about how best to utilize it in their products to meet their own customer and market demands.”
“There clearly are certain types of applications that are tailored to international markets, and others that will be more attuned to consumer demand and requirements here in the US. Again, what makes us excited is both the versatility and the underlying nutritional benefit of our algae ingredient, whether in a noodle dish in Shanghai or an energy/nutrition bar in Boulder,” he says.
“We are closer than ever to seeing our algae used as an ingredient in off-the-shelf products, and you would certainly recognize some of the companies and brands that are interested in it,” adds Tran.
• Nutrition Innovation (Singapore)
Singapore-based Nutrition Innovation empowers global mills to produce a healthier, less refined, industrial low GI sugar as a replacement for refined white sugar. As brands look for sugar replacement solutions, this innovation unleashes the development and adoption of healthier food and beverage products.
Matthew Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “Nutrition Innovation has developed a range of breakthrough food ingredient sweetening technologies derived from natural ingredients such as sugar cane and protein. These technologies are designed to be fast and efficient to be licensed by industrial producers to ensure they can make healthier sweetening choices for all the food and beverage brands in the world. They are collectively marketed under the brand name Nucane, the good sugar, which is a family of healthier sweetening solutions specially created for industrial customers. Nutrition Innovation has multiple patent applications on these innovations.”
“Our business model is not to produce these innovations but to license these solutions to regional and global leaders in the sugar and sweetening industry so they can manufacturer for their established customer bases,” he explains.
“The food and beverage industry needs sweetening solutions,” claims Godfrey. “But they need to be healthier, natural, better tasting, scaleable, bulk filling, competitive and affordable. Very few solutions are. Nucane solves this and will add not just better health to sugar but elements like protein and fiber as well.”
According to Godfrey, applications that Nucane is suited to are “anything and everything we already love to eat and drink all around the world.”
“Our first product is already being produced, sold and consumed for domestic use and export orders and Brazil and Australia. We are rolling out the technology now in multiple markets around the world,” he adds.
The rest of the nominees are as follows:
• Alkinnov (France) aims to revolutionize the nutrition market with its intense sweet proteins, superfood, flavors and other natural additives. Alkinnov is a young biotech developing and producing innovative natural ingredients through an eco-friendly and GMO-free robotized process of plant biostimulation.
• Ambrosus (Estonia) is a blockchain-powered IoT network for food and pharmaceutical enterprises, enabling secure and frictionless dialogue between sensors, distributed ledgers and databases to optimize supply-chain visibility and quality assurance.
• Astrona (US) is producing an easy-to-use, hand-held pathogen detection device that can be deployed on-site at every phase of food production. The device uses its patented technology to detect the RNA of the pathogens allowing for the detection of bacteria, viruses and fungi without a culturing step.
• BluWrap (US) has pioneered market leading technology which has been demonstrated to significantly extend the shelf life of fresh proteins including salmon and pork sustainably without compromising quality.
• Chefling (US) provides the ultimate smart kitchen solution leveraging an AI-driven platform to seamlessly incorporate inventory organization, intuitive recipe suggestion, shopping list management and voice assistant integration to simplify the cooking experience in today’s connected home.
• Ederna (France) uses its proprietary cold liquid concentration technology to produce COFFEOS, a rich flavor cold-brew coffee super concentrate.
• FlavorWiki (Switzerland) is a unique consumer insights and data management solution designed specifically for the food and beverage industry. FlavorWiki tools have applications throughout the value chain from farm to fork, combining digital technology and mathematical algorithms to capture actionable consumer insights.
• Savormetrics (Canada) proprietary sensing technologies extract biochemical and biophysical data from food products. The data is fed into its AI module that instantaneously performs feature engineering and machine learning based correlations to provide metrics including shelf life prediction, the right time to harvest, detection of harmful chemicals, quality profiling and taste profiling.
• Startchy (Lebanon) is synthesizing a starch-based coating for fruits and vegetables, aiming to offer a biological alternative to wax and vacuumed plastic for preserving food and extending shelf-life.
• Veg of Lund (Sweden) provides a patented heat-stable emulsion based on potatoes and rapeseed oil. The emulsion is the base for the commercial development of plant-based liquid food solutions that are tasty, nutritious and allergen free.