A dozen finalists have been chosen to participate at foodtech event Smart Kitchen Summit's Startup Showcase, to be held in Seattle Oct. 7 to 8. Among the startups are StixFresh, which makes a sticker that extends the shelf life of produce, and CocoTerra, the maker of a device that creates milk, dark or white chocolate in approximately two hours.
Natural food and beverage product sales rose 5% to $47.2 billion during the year ending in May, according to a report from SPINS. Top natural products include eggs, shelf-stable beverages and frozen and refrigerated meats.
Uplift Food founder Kara Landau says the Mondelez SnackFutures accelerator played a vital role in developing Daily Uplifter, a prebiotic powder supplement that supports mental well-being. SnackFutures provides valuable access to consumer research, packaging and product development expertise, she says, which is also resulting in the release of Uplift Food's Gut Happy Cookies this month.
Four culinary entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in restaurant accelerator Fishers Kitchen in Fishers, Ind., which will feature their respective concepts when it opens this fall as an eatery at the Sun King Fishers Innovation Brewery at The Yard at Fishers District. Mayor Scott Fadness, one of the board members on the selection committee, said the accelerator was a first step toward making Fishers an entrepreneurial destination.
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UK-based Strong Roots has raised $18.3 million in a new funding round that it will use to continue expanding its line of plant-based frozen foods. The company's products including root vegetables, sweet potato fries and roasted beetroot wedges are sold at major UK grocery chains and eight of the products launched in the US recently at retailers including Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Target.
Consumers increasingly define "healthy" in different ways, and 90% now say the concept of a personalized diet is a trend with staying power, according to Datassential. Some restaurant chains are catering to demand for build-your-own meals and menu items that fit with specialized diets, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, which launched a line of Lifestyle Bowls earlier this year.
Internet of things sensors inside shipping vehicles, storerooms, displays and refrigerators can help cut down on spoilage caused by temperature fluctuations, Marc Pegulu writes. Swiss supermarket chain Migos, for example, uses Axino sensors in its refrigerators, which monitor temperature in real time and can be programmed to adjust temperatures to prolong shelf life.
McDonald's will acquire startup Apprente, which is working to use voice technology and artificial intelligence to improve speed and efficiency at the drive-thru. It's the third tech-focused deal for the chain this year, and the staff of Apprente will be the founders of a new group within McDonald's tech team called McD Tech Labs.
ReFED and +Acumen have launched a nonprofit startup known as the Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator that wants to take a tech-based approach to fighting food waste and hunger by investing in 10 nonprofits with similar goals. Two recipients, Plentiful and Replate, use digital tools to help people access food banks and pick up donations from businesses.
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