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[email protected]: Food tech fund | TikTok marketing | Plant-based meat deceleration

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Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Atlantic Labs spins-out FoodLabs, a €100M FoodTech fund addressing climate and health

Here's more evidence of the tech industry pivoting to focus on climate and sustainability issues: European investment firm Atlantic Food Labs is relaunching as FoodLabs—and has allocated a €100 million FoodTech fund to invest in food, health and sustainability startups. The first companies to receive funding from FoodTech include Microharvest ("Providing access to sustainably produced nutrients and proteins"), Habitual ("a digital health startup providing digital diabetes reversal direct to consumers"), Foodji ("a digital solution for fresh and healthy food to go") and Klim ("with the mission to make agriculture more sustainable through carbon farming"). Tech Crunch reports. 

‘Now we work with thousands’: How getting on TikTok transformed this drink brand’s influencer strategy

Today's savvy marketers are marketers are using the TikTok platform to leverage organic content, hoping a viral moment will help build their brands on the short-form video app. Infused water brand Blk found major success with this tactic; Digiday writes that it is a brand awareness play and the company measures the return on its TikTok investment in terms of impressions and customer awareness rather than strictly increased sales. Right now, TikTok is looking for ways to partner with small and medium-sized businesses, better positionin itself to compete with Facebook and Instagram.

Plant-based meat deceleration signals niche future

Plant-based meat sales at retail are beginning to plateau following a sharp rise throughout the pandemic period, while consumer engagement with conventional meat remains strong. Experts suggest that this trend is likely to continue as shoppers prioritize protein diversity coupled with plant-forward eating thanks to flexitarian values. Plant-based meat alternatives are still below 10% household penetration on the retail side, but The Food Institute notes that there is much plant-based meat innovation to come beyond the wave of frozen meals that cropped up over the past year, particularly within full cuts and deli slices.

Vrimp your shrimp: Nestlé launches faux seafood product made from seaweed

Nestlé recently revealed a SUPER niche plant-based meat venture in the form of its pea-and-seaweed-based Vrimp product. Vrimp is intended as a shrimp substitute and, according to the company, really does have the "authentic texture and flavour of succulent shrimps."  Vrimp is one of several plant-based foods being launched by the Swiss company; it has also developed an egg substitute, vEGGie. Because it is mainly soy protein, it is a versatile ingredient for cooks and can be scrambled like real eggs. The company also launched a tuna alternative called Vuna last year. Learn more at The Guardian.

Scientists discover how to manipulate plants' response to light for food growth

Farmers may soon have the ability to turn a plant’s genes on and off depending on changes in light and temperature, emerging research covered by The Spoon reveals. When plants are too close together in a field, they compete for light. Shorter plants that end up in the shade of other plants exert extra energy to grow their stems taller than their neighbors. This extra energy is then taken away from the seeds, leaves or fruit. By manipulating plant genes, scientists were able to ensure even those plants that weren't receiving as much sunlight were able to successfully grow their desirable edible portions more rapidly and robustly. This will be huge as farmers grapple with climate change and a growing population.

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