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StartUp Food Companies

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!

Paper Water Bottle

Paper Water Bottle is purported to be the 1st of its kind in the world. the technology behind the Paper Water Bottle Technology is based on 16 global patents. Production began in December 2017.

·       An eco-friendly, direct replacement for plastic water/beverage bottles on the market today

·       Shell made of 100% compostable pulp

·       Barrier made with 100% recycled resin

·       Twist-off cap secures content with its Pulp Gripper™ technology

·       Can be customized to fit a brand’s needs through design and graphic communications

·       500ml Natural stock bottle

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging?

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!

 

Food Apps that Deliver are the Future of Food Delivery

food apps that deliver, pizza delivery near me

The golden arches of McDonald’s used to represent the epitome of cheap, fast, convenient food. But while the drive-thru model in many ways revolutionized how we consume, more change in “fast food” is afoot. As the tech world and food world increasingly overlap, there’s an exploding number of food apps that deliver deliciousness right to your door.

According to The Toast, 74% of millennials report a preference for food delivery, and the market’s potential is estimated at around $210 billion. Naturally, the most demand is for pizza that delivers “near me.” Unsurprisingly, pizza currently accounts for about 60% of the food delivery market. But we’re quickly moving beyond the days of the classic pizza boy. Pizza delivery is increasingly high-tech, too, while the number of services that facilitate food delivery continues to grow.

Take Zume, a California-based pizza delivery company. Behind the scenes, it’s not just humans making each pie. Instead, the company has robots that measure and spread the pizza sauce, and put the pie into the oven. (Humans do all steps in between.) According to the company, this decreases the amount of time it takes for each order, making things even faster and more convenient.

Food Apps that Deliver are on the Rise

Domino’s pizza tracker, available online and as an app, was one of the earliest disruptions in the world of food delivery. Not only can customers easily pick their toppings without having to actually call a restaurant, but they can see step-by-step when the food is prepared and “shipped.” Now, numerous apps also let customers quickly order food to be dropped at their doors—and not just for pizza. GrubHub, Door Dash, Just Deliveries, Uber Eats, Amazon Prime Now, Delivery Hero, and Food Panda are just a few players in the growing food delivery market and many also offer the same easy ordering and tracking features that Domino’s mainstreamed.

GrubHub, for instance, is a food delivery aggregator, meaning it simply acts as a middleman in the meal process. It puts restaurant menus and reviews in one place and lets users order their meals through the GrubHub app. Then, GrubHub routes the order to the chosen restaurant and that restaurant both fulfills and delivers the food. A company like Just Deliveries, on the other hand, facilitates delivery for restaurants—many higher-end—that don’t offer the service. They don’t just take the order, but actually have their own logistics networks for delivery.

There’s More to it than just Prepared Meals

When it comes to food apps that deliver, though, it’s not just about prepared meals. Blue Apron, which went public in June, 2017, is perhaps the best testament to a broadening concept of food delivery. Blue Apron delivers meal ingredients and recipes on a subscription basis—a more niche version of the growing grocery delivery markets (led by Amazon and Instacart).

Altogether, fast food arguably isn’t fast enough anymore, as it still means shoppers have to go somewhere. The younger generation especially is drawn towards food delivered to wherever they are, and technology is increasingly making such a level of speed and convenience possible. Whether it’s groceries, a pizza, or your favorite restaurant’s best meal, there’s a good chance it can easily be dropped on your doorstep.

Building StartUp Food Companies is Hard

startup food companies | buying innovation group |

Startup food companies aren’t always small. Recently, Amazon made headlines by purchasing Whole Foods Market for a whopping $13.7 billion. The acquisition marked Amazon’s biggest step into the brick-and-mortar game, notable due to the company’s dominance in e-commerce, and reiterated how serious Amazon is about the grocery business. Amazon began its push into groceries years ago with its in-house AmazonFresh efforts, but the strategy of bringing innovative startup food companies into the fold is hardly unusual in the food world.

This is especially true for giants like Unilever and General Mills, which don’t have the same innovative reputation as a tech-first name like Amazon. Not long after Unilever declined a $143 billion takeover proposal from Kraft, the company made an acquisition—albeit a dramatically smaller one—of its own. The target? A high-end mustard maker. Sir Kensington makes mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup (some avocado oil mayo, some vegan mayo, and so on). $140 million later, is part of the Unilever portfolio.

Why do food giants like Unilever and General Mills purchase innovation instead of building it in-house?

Such a niche purchase is an especially useful example of the benefits of purchasing innovation instead of bringing it in-house. You can almost imagine an internal pitch meeting at a conglomerate like Unilever where someone has a vision for a line of fancy condiments. At any publicly traded company, there’s far less tolerance for risk and far more of a focus on steady profits. One can almost imagine board members laughing as a dreamer goes through slides about high-end ketchup. Buh-bye start-up, alternative mayo idea!

On the flip side, smaller, startup food companies need to have risky, cutting-edge ideas to get off the ground at all. Investors in that world are looking for vision and a niche. There’s more room for error in the startup world. In fact, error is to some extent expected. And private companies do not have to please Wall Street investors quarter after quarter.

Startup Challenges

That’s not to say the startup world doesn’t have its challenges. A company like Sir Kensington doesn’t have the same access to shelf space or sales relationships as the giants, so it can be far more difficult to get onto shelves. That’s why acquisitions are often a very logical end game. Unilever gets a proven yet innovative brand without having to trial-and-errors its way towards a trendy product in-house. And after the buyout, Sir Kensington gets a dramatically larger network.

General Mills also has a long history of acquisitions for the same reason. In 2016, it bought Epic Provisions—makers of paleo-friendly, gluten-free snack bars, which basically covers every buzzword on shoppers’ lips right now. In 2014, GM bought Annie’s, the organic and natural maker of mac and cheese, snacks, frozen foods, and more. This was when healthy and organic eating was a more nascent area, too, so GM was indeed adding innovation to its brand umbrella.

As more startup food companies come onto the scene, you can bet there will be more big names going shopping. Food tech startups raised $5.7 billion in 275 deals last year, according to Forbes, making for plenty of targets.