IFT First

Supplied by Anne Palermo

Fairs & Events

Guest Post: Top Trends from IFT FIRST 2024 – Shaping the Future of Food with AI and Novel Ingredients

Anne Palermo, a two-time founder and industry leader, brings a unique perspective to the food and beverage industry with her extensive experience in both food tech and consumer packaged goods (CPG). Her career is marked by a commitment to improving global health and ensuring that nutritious food is accessible to everyone. By combining her expertise in innovative technologies with a focus on social responsibility, Anne works to advance industry best practices while making a positive impact on global well-being. After attending the IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo in Chicago last week, Anne rounds up the top industry trends presented at the conference that are shaping the future of food. Last week was the annual IFT FIRST (Food Improved by Research, Science, and Technology) conference …


Further Foods, the company behind the cruelty-free pet food brand Noochies!, will submit a feeding trial protocol for dogs and their cultivated chicken to the FDA later this month.

© Noochies!

Pet Food

Noochies! Takes First Regulatory Steps to Launch a Cultivated Chicken Dog Product in the USA

Canada’s CULT Food Science (“CULT” or the “Company”) (CSE: CULT) (OTC: CULTF) (FRA: LN0) announces that its subsidiary, Further Foods, the company behind the pet food brand Noochies!, will submit a feeding trial protocol for a cultivated chicken ingredient to the FDA later this month. Noochies!, a brand leveraging alternative proteins to avoid factory-farmed chicken and beef, has already introduced two unique products featuring a dried yeast protein developed by CULT Food Science to meet pets’ daily nutritional requirements: Freeze-Dried Dog and Cat Snacks. The brand has plans to formulate new Noochies! with cultivated chicken. The feeding trials, necessary for regulatory approval as cultivated chicken is a new ingredient that pets have never consumed, are planned to commence in Q4 of this year. This is contingent …


© Onego Bio

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Onego Bio Secures $15.2M for Animal-Free Bio-Identical Egg Protein

US-Finnish precision fermentation company Onego Bio has secured $15.2 million in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Program and other Series A investors. This takes the amount raised by the company in 2024 to $55 million, and its total funding to $70.8 million. Onego Bio produces Bioalbumen®, an animal-free bio-identical egg protein manufactured as an industrial food ingredient. Bioalbumen is said to have perfect protein quality, full functionality, and a neutral flavor; it could also alleviate the environmental burden of conventional egg production by as much as 90%, while providing a stable supply. This is likely to be very attractive to manufacturers, since chicken eggs have been plagued by supply chain issues in recent years. Commercialization Onego says it is focusing on commercializing …


A partnership between the Singapore’s UMAMI Bioworks and the young US company Friends & Family Pet Food Co (FnF) is set to launch one of world's first cultivated fish cat treats brand in Singapore and San Francisco in early 2025.

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Company News

UMAMI Bioworks and Friends & Family Pet Food Co. to Launch Cultivated Fish Cat Treats in 2025

A partnership between Singapore’s UMAMI Bioworks, (previously Umami Meats) and the young US company Friends & Family Pet Food Co. (recently part of the ProVeg Incubator’s 12th cohort) is set to launch one of the world’s first cultivated fish cat treats in Singapore and in San Francisco, USA, early next year. The new products, reportedly crafted with high-quality cultivated fish proteins enriched with high-value microalgae and essential nutrients, aimed to promote what FnF calls a “Longevity Diet” for cats. In addition, the animal and ocean-friendly cat food lineup offers significant environmental benefits since cultivated fish production is more resource-efficient, requiring less land, water, and feed than traditional fishing methods or aquaculture. Joshua Errett, Friends & Family CEO and founder, states, “Together, we have created a …


Voyage Foods bean-free coffee

© Voyage Foods


Voyage Foods Launches Bean-Free Coffee for Food Service & CPG, Underpricing Traditional Coffee

Voyage Foods, a US company developing future-proof alternatives to the world’s favorite foods, has launched bean-free coffee for food service and the food manufacturing industry. The coffee alternative is made from roasted chickpeas and rice hulls, with similar caffeine levels to traditional coffee (achieved using caffeine derived from green tea). It is also more than 40% cheaper than regular coffee, providing manufacturers with price stability and better margins. The bean-free coffee is available in several varieties, including roast and ground, liquid, liquid concentrate, and instant. Several flavor profiles are available, along with decaffeinated varieties. The launch comes after the price of robusta coffee beans reached a record high, increasing by 63% this year. The price rise has been partly driven by climate change, which is …


Mellody Neat

© Mellody

Food Service

Lewis Hamilton-Backed Neat Features MeliBio’s Bee-Free Hot Honey Sando

MeliBio, a bee-free honey producer, has announced that Neat, a prominent plant-based restaurant chain supported by Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo DiCaprio, has introduced a new menu item featuring MeliBio’s honey product, Mellody. The new dish, called the Hot Honey Sando and made with Mellody Spicy Habanero, is now available exclusively at Neat’s Nolita location in New York City. Darko Mandich, CEO of MeliBio, commented on the collaboration: “We are excited to see Mellody featured in Neat’s new Hot Honey Sando. This collaboration highlights the versatility and quality of Mellody, and aligns perfectly with our mission to create sustainable honey alternatives that help save the bees and protect biodiversity.” Mellody Spicy Habanero was launched earlier this year as the first vegan hot honey, joining the company’s …


Plantega philly cheesesteak

© Plantega

Cheese Alternatives

Stockeld Dreamery and Plantega Roll Out Cultured Cheddar at 60+ NYC Bodegas

Stockholm-based Stockeld Dreamery and New York City’s Plantega have announced a new partnership to distribute Stockeld’s Cultured Cheddar across more than 60 bodegas in New York City, enhancing the availability of plant-based cheese options in local convenience stores. Stockeld’s Cultured Cheddar will be incorporated into 18 of Plantega’s menu items, including breakfast sandwiches, burritos, chopped cheese, and Philly cheesesteaks. This product, known for its meltability, natural flavor, and creamy texture, was developed over four years in Sweden using fermentation and legumes. Nil Zacharias, founder and CEO of Plantega and a proponent of fermented foods, spoke on the advantages of cultured cheese, stating, “I’m a big fan of fermented foods, and it’s a no-brainer that a cultured cheese will perform better and be closer to dairy …


Three men eating pizza

© Letrino Foods


Fooditive Partners With the World’s Largest Mozzarella Cheese Producer to Commercialize its Animal-Free Casein

The Netherlands’ Fooditive Group, a manufacturer of fermented ingredients, announces a partnership with the US dairy company Leprino Foods Company to commercialize its non-animal casein. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Leprino Foods is the world’s largest mozzarella cheese and lactose producer and a leading supplier of whey protein, micellar casein, and sweet whey. Under a long-term licensing agreement, Leprino Foods will have exclusive worldwide rights to produce animal-free casein using Fooditive’s precision fermentation technology. It will also have exclusive global rights to market and distribute the novel casein for cheese and non-exclusive rights for all other food applications. According to the companies, the partnership aims to promote sustainability while broadening the scope of innovative food products. Fooditive CEO Moayad Abushokhedim emphasized the company’s commitment to sustainability …


Governor JB Pritzker of llinois

Governor JB Pritzker ©illinois.gov

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

$51 Million Federal Grant for Precision Fermentation Hub to Drive Innovation, Growth, and Job Creation in Illinois

The Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Tech Hub has secured approximately $51 million in federal funding from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Tech Hubs Program. The grant, which will support significant infrastructure expansions, aims to position Central Illinois as a global leader in biomanufacturing, promoting economic growth, job creation, and national security. The iFAB is supported by Innovate Illinois, a strategic initiative by Governor JB Pritzker and co-chaired by the University of Illinois Chancellor Robert J. Jones. Led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, it has secured over $680 million in cash match and strategic investments, demonstrating robust backing from multiple stakeholders. Governor JB Pritzker said, “Thanks to this $51 …


GALY banner


Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Inditex, Owner of Fashion House Zara, Invests in GALY’s Cultivated Cotton from Plant Cells

Spanish multinational clothing company Inditex, owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti, among other fashion brands, has announced a minority stake investment (the sum has not been disclosed) in GALY, a Brazilian and US biotech producing cultivated cotton from plant cells. GALY was founded in 2019 by Luciano Bueno, a former Deloitte executive. The startup has raised over $33.5 million from notable investors such as Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator and current CEO of OpenAI, John Doerr from VC Kleiner Perkins, and investment funds such as Material Impact, Agronomics, and Brinc. According to Reuters, Inditex CEO Oscar Garcia Maceiras says the move aligns with the company’s goal of using 25% new-generation materials by 2030. Inditex has already invested in the sustainable material companies Findland’s Infinite …


Ripple Foods shake ups

© Ripple Foods

Products & Launches

Ripple Foods Introduces New Protein Shakes for Kids

California-based Ripple Foods has launched Ripple Shake Ups Protein Shakes, targeting the nutritional needs of tweens. These shakes, available in Chocolotta and Viva Vanilla flavors, offer 13 grams of plant-based pea protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. The product aims to address what the company is calling “tweenage hanger,” a term describing irritability due to hunger in tweens. Ripple Foods notes that the shakes provide a convenient and nutritious option for busy mornings, between classes, and before or after school activities. Shake Ups feature 3 grams of fiber, and 13 essential nutrients, including vitamins B12, D, E, calcium, and iron, and are free from the top 9 allergens.  Laura Flanagan, CEO of Ripple Foods, stated, “We understand the challenges parents face with hangry …


The Better Meat Co. receives historic GRAS "No Questions" letter from FDA for its meat-like Rhiza mycoprotein

Image courtesy of The Better Meat Co.

Company News

The Better Meat Co. Receives FDA GRAS ‘No Questions’ Letter for Rhiza Mycoprotein

California’s The Better Meat Co. (BMC), a B2B supplier of mycoprotein,  announces that it has received the FDA’s “no questions” letter, confirming that its Rhiza mycoprotein, derived from the mycelium of the fungi genus Neurospora crassa, is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption. BMC now joins Quorn, ENOUGH (we have yet to verify on this count), and Nature’s Fynd in receiving FDA support for such ingredients, according to BMC. However, the company’s CEO, Paul Shapiro, informs Cultivated X that this news marks the first GRAS for a mycoprotein made with a fungus species outside of the Fusarium genus. The company also announces that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which evaluated Rhiza as a meat enhancer, has recognized it as suitable and safe …


Hema Reddy Crafty Counter

Hema Reddy © Crafty Counter


Crafty Counter / WunderEggs: “The Likeness to Real Chicken Eggs is Remarkably Close”

Crafty Counter Crafty Counter is a Texas-based plant-based food company known for its vegan egg alternative product, WunderEggs. These vegan hard-boiled eggs are made from a mix of nuts and legumes, designed to mimic the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of traditional eggs. WunderEggs are the first ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs to be produced in the US and have garnered endorsements from notable industry figures such as Tabitha Brown. CEO Hema Reddy founded the company in 2017 following a lengthy career at IBM. In this interview, Reddy shares the journey of Crafty Counter and the inspiration for creating WunderEggs. She discusses the challenges in mimicking the texture and taste of real eggs and the successful strategy that landed WunderEggs in Whole Foods nationwide as well as …


California’s Savor, a startup revolutionizing fat production with agriculture and animal-free solutions, has developed a butter prototype made from CO2 and hydrogen

© Savor


Savor Successfully Develops Dairy & Plant-Free Butter From CO2 and Hydrogen

California’s Savor, a startup revolutionizing the production of fat with agriculture and animal-free solutions, has developed a butter prototype made from CO2 and hydrogen, that is said to offer the taste and functional properties of dairy butter. Henrik Bennetsen (CEO), Kathleen Alexander (CTO), and Ian McKay (CSO) founded the startup in San Jose in 2022 to offer a solution to industrial fats that could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Animal fats have a well-known negative impact on the climate; meanwhile, many plant-based alternatives currently on the market are made from canola, sunflower, coconut, and palm crops that contribute significantly to GHG emissions and fuel deforestation and biodiversity loss. Other methods, such as precision fermentation and cultivated fats …


Gathered Foods products

© Gathered Foods

Investments & Acquisitions

Ahimsa Companies Acquires Good Catch Production Facility from Gathered Foods

Gathered Foods, known for its Good Catch plant-based seafood brand, has announced the sale of its production facility, Trellis, located in Heath, Ohio, to Ahimsa Companies. Ahimsa Companies, the newly formed holding company for plant-based brands, is one of Gathered Foods’ largest stakeholders. Under its new ownership, the facility will continue to function as a plant-based production hub. Gathered Foods will maintain its role as a strategic operating and intellectual property partner for both the facility and the broader portfolio of Ahimsa Companies’ consumer packaged goods holdings. The facility, commissioned in 2020, produces plant-based seafood, including crab cakes, fish burgers, tuna, and fish fillets, for the Good Catch product line. Ahimsa’s expansion strategy Ahimsa Companies, led by CEO Matt Tullman, is currently focused on acquiring …


UNLIMEAT X Sprouts Market


Retail & E-Commerce

UNLIMEAT Brings Vegan Korean BBQ to Sprouts Stores Across the US

UNLIMEAT, a prominent Korean vegan food producer, has announced a significant retail partnership with Sprouts Farmers Market, launching its products in approximately 400 Sprouts stores nationwide. The initial lineup features plant-based Korean BBQ, bulgogi, and pulled pork. The company’s product offerings are designed to provide vegan alternatives to traditional Korean dishes, which have been gaining popularity in the US as part of a growing global interest in Korean culture. Rising interest in Korean cuisine According to data cited by The Food Institute, interest in Korean food spiked almost 90% in 2021 and has continued to grow since. UNLIMEAT notes that Google Trends data indicates a 35% increase in searches for Korean recipes and ingredients from 2021 to 2023. Ryan Chung, Co-CEO of UNLIMEAT, commented, “Korean …


credo foods spray cheeze

© Credo Foods

Cheese Alternatives

Credo Foods Launches “World’s First” Oat Milk Spray Cheeze

US plant-based food company Credo Foods has launched what is claimed to be the world’s first oat milk-based vegan spray cheeze. The product, which is free of GMOs, artificial preservatives, and seed oils, is available in two flavors — Cheddar and Smoky. It took over three years of R&D to develop, due to the difficulty of creating a cheese alternative that does not require refrigeration or preservatives. Co-founders Adam and Madeline Salamon said that by developing the spray cheeze, they had recreated one of their favorite nostalgic childhood snacks. They added that their aim when founding Credo Foods was to “approach plant-based eating in a way that was better for you but also approachable”. “We hope you love it as much as our family does,” …


Foray Bioscience banner

© Foray Bioscience

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Foray Bioscience Raises $3M to Restore Forests With Plant Cell Culture Tech

Boston-based Foray Bioscience, a startup leveraging plant cell culture to restore forests and, thus, secure plant supply chains, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by the Australian VC ReGen Ventures. Other participants, including Engine Ventures, Susquehanna Sustainable Investments, Understorey, Superorganism, and additional investors, backed the biotech in this round, bringing its total to $3.875 million. With a background in plant-based materials research from MIT and Draper Laboratory, Dr. Ashley Beckwith (CEO) founded Foray Bioscience in 2022 to build biomanufacturing tools to protect and restore the natural ecosystem. Beckwith says that nearly 40% of assessed plant species face extinction and points out that more than 16 million acres of forest, an area larger than West Virginia, were lost worldwide only in 2022. With the new capital, the startup will expand its predictive …


Climax Foods blue cheese

© Climax Foods

Cheese Alternatives

Plant-Based Blue Cheese by Climax Foods Launches on Grocery Delivery Service Good Eggs

Plant-based cheese brand Climax Foods has announced that its multi-award-winning Climax Blue cheese has launched on grocery delivery service Good Eggs, which is active in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Described as a “bold and creamy plant-based alternative to traditional dairy blue cheese”, Climax Blue provides 15% protein and does not contain any major allergens. It is made from clean-label ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, and lima beans. The cultured and aged cheese alternative was initially launched for food service last year at price parity with conventional blue cheese. With its blue-green veining and a texture described as “creamy and fudgy”, the product is said to be indistinguishable from dairy cheese. On LinkedIn, founder Oliver Zahn said that more official …


MALK Organics CEO Jason Bronstad

Courtesy of MALK Organics


MALK Organics: “Our Mission is to Offer the Cleanest, Healthiest Plant-Based Milk Options Available”

Challenger brand MALK Organics was founded in 2015 in vibrant Austin, Texas, and since then has carved a niche for itself in the area of clean-label plant milks, earning a strong reputation, loyal following, and not least, the accolade of the fastest-growing plant-based milk in the USA.* In the past twelve months, MALK reports that it has “remained the #1 fastest-growing plant-based milk across all markets and has more than doubled distribution” of its ultra-clean nut milks and creamers, free from artificial additives, preservatives, and carrageenan. We were excited to catch up with CEO Jason Bronstad to understand the secret to MALK’s success and find out how the company will invest the $7M raised in its recent Series B2 round. Tell us about MALK Organics’ …