Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Crushing Ag and FoodTech Innovation - Five Israeli Startups to Watch in 2021

Image credit: Justin Veenema on Unsplash

It’s the holidays. This year is going to be different for many of us with festivities via Zoom as opposed to in person, but the common denominator for the festive season remains the same - food! So, grab a munchie or a beverage, and check out these Israeli startups that are crushing ag and food innovation!

Hack your metabolism

Lumen measures metabolism in real-time through a device and app, enabling daily personalized nutrition. By using a carbon dioxide sensor and flow meter to determine the carbon dioxide concentration in a single breath, the type of fuel your body is using to produce energy can be determined. In November, together with Garmin International, Lumen launched a Connect IQ Lumen App and Garmin Health API integration, allowing users to better understand the impact of fitness and nutrition decisions on their body in real time.

Follow: @LumenMetabolism

Same taste - no after taste

DouxMatok offers targeted delivery of flavor Ingredients, such as sugar and salt, enabling healthier consumption of foods without compromising taste. In October, the company announced a strategic collaboration with Roberts Sugar to deliver a unique sugar reduction solution based on cane sugar, to food companies in North America. DouxMatok’s solution is expected to be available to the food industry in the United States as of 2021.

Follow: @DouxMatok

Better yields for farmers’ fields

CropX Technologies helps farmers get bigger, better yields by offering proprietary soil sensor technology and cloud-based Ag analytics that integrate with irrigation systems. The affordable, easy-to-install CropX system helps farmers increase crop yield and quality and reduce water, fertilization and energy costs. At the beginning of the year the company announced the acquisition of Nebraska-based CropMetrics, a provider of cloud-based, precision-irrigation tools. 

Follow: @Crop_X

Any tree, any time

SeeTree provides farmers with one of the most advanced data and intelligence networks in Agtech by providing visibility into the health records and productivity of any individual tree at any time, and over time. The company provides a comprehensive service combining boots on the ground and high-resolution multi-dimensional sensing imagery utilizing drones, sensors and special vehicles to collect precise data. Harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence and combining it with agronomic human intelligence, results in a synergy that facilitates accuracy and consistency.

Follow: @SeeTree_AI

From Nature - Back to Nature

TIPA® Compostable Packaging is a supplier of flexible compostable packaging that will fully biodegrade in a compost environment, including laminates and labels. TIPA offers certified food grade packaging for fresh, dry, chilled, baked, and frozen goods and has amassed a stellar array of clients that includes Stella McCartney, Natoora and Bimbo. In November, it was announced that TIPA and Commonwealth Packaging in the United States would partner to help retailers embrace sustainability while still delivering an effective packaging experience to its customers.  

Follow: @TIPACorp

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Congratulations To The FoodTech 500 Top Ten!

Congratulations to the FoodTech 500 Top Ten that exemplify what it means to be one of the stars of the FoodTech industry! 

The deeper insights into the people and companies on the FoodTech 500 list make for fascinating reading as they describe how they started out as a company, and their thoughts on the role of technology in the FoodTech industry. Explore the full list of the Fortune 500 of FoodTech here.

Some fascinating factoids about the FoodTech 500:
  • In total, 78.2% of FoodTech 500 companies are less than 5 years old and 56.1% are at pre-seed or seed-stage funding. 
  • Despite their early stage, close to 75% are revenue-generating.
  • The FoodTech 500 represents a truly global response with over 1.200 applications from 54 different countries, across 8 different categories of AgriFoodTech. 

Tomorrow's food trends have a very good chance of starting with the the FoodTech 500, particularly the Top Ten. Watch this space!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Struggling With Whether To Delete Your Social Media Account? Think About It.

As many of us struggle with what to do or not with respect to social media in general, or whether to delete Facebook in particular, Tokyo Rose comes to mind.

During WWII, radio was the medium which conveyed Tokyo Rose's message of disinformation. Radio was also the means of conveying messages of hope and support to those in occupied territories. In the case of Tokyo Rose, it wasn't the medium per se that would do the harm to the Allies, it was the message and the motive behind that message.

And so it is with social media today. Motive matters. As we struggle with which medium to use or not, which to delete or not, why we chose a certain medium and what we want to say or share are important. 

When we acknowledge the why and the what, we can make informed as opposed to knee-jerk decisions. We can think mindfully about our choices and in doing so take back the control that technology has in many cases been designed to take from us.

For some of us Facebook is the only practical means that we have found to keep in touch with our families overseas. And that's OK and not a need for constant mental self-flagellation. Like with radio, we can chose where we want to tune in and where to tune out. We can unfollow the people whose posts we no longer want to see and chose to have posts from friends and family first in our feed. 

Instead of a filter bubble determined by a profit-minded AI in an algorithm, we can create our own walled mental gardens of nature, music and puppies, or not. Both choices are valid for each of us. What is important is that we shine the light of independent thought into the darkness that social media can sometimes become. That we think and then we choose.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Life Cycle Analysis Allows For Making Informed Science-Based Decisions

When it comes to packaging, there are always trade-offs to be made. Our idealized view of the way in which eggs should be packed - for example as shown in the image on the right - or what may sound or feel right, is not always what does right for the environment. 

That’s where Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can help - through allowing one to make informed science-based decisions. 

In the case described below, a LCA helped Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs make the decision as to whether paper or recycled plastic cartons are better for the environment. 

The $64K question

In a post on their website, Pete and Gerry's say, "A question that we get a lot usually goes like this: 'I love your eggs and your commitment to animal welfare and the environment, but why do you use plastic egg cartons? Isn’t that worse for the environment?'"

"It’s an excellent question," they continue. "We’ve all come to see plastic as bad. It’s derived from a non-renewable source (oil), it doesn’t decompose for a very long time, and these days, a lot of it is winding into the oceans. So it’s understandable that it has a bad reputation."

"On the other hand, the molded pulp cartons and the polystyrene foam cartons are not environmental home runs either, for many of the same reasons. So what’s a well-meaning person to do?"

Third party LCA study

To find the answer and Pete and Gerry's worked with a third-party to conduct a LCA of the options available on the market. In 2012 they hired Quantis, a Canadian research company specializing in the environmental impact of products, to do a complete comparative environmental life cycle assessment of egg cartons.
According to Pete and Gerry's, "Quantis looked across the raw material sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, and end of life/recycling aspects for RPET (our recycled PET clear package), virgin PET, Recycled Molded Pulp (RMP) and Polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam). They scored that as a total Carbon/Climate Change footprint score based on all of those life stages. They also scored them on the basis of Human Health, Ecosystem Quality, and Resource Depletion measures."

Choice made based off real data

"We went with the most environmentally-friendly packaging based off real data," Pete and Gerry's explain.

"The RPET carton that we use was determined to be superior, or vastly superior, to both the Molded Pulp and Polystyrene as a whole, and across all of the individual life stages, with the one exception – it has a slightly higher manufacturing impact than recycled pulp. It is worth noting that the worst option was typically the PET plastic made from virgin plastic. That’s because of the high amount of fossil fuels required both as energy and raw material in its production. This is what large 2-liter soda bottles are made from (so think about that the next time you’re considering buying soda). We take the recycled material from those containers to make our cartons. The tri-fold PET also has an important consumer benefit in that it provides the best protection for the eggs while allowing you to see the unbroken eggs without opening the carton in the store."

"Once used, our cartons can then be placed right back in the recycling stream for another trip through the system. Paper pulp can also be recycled. Styrofoam all goes to the landfill to wait for the end of time."

Best possible solution for the time being

There you have it - what sounds or feels right does not always do right by the environment. As Pete and Gerry's conclude, "While we wish we could sell our eggs in wooden boxes or wicker baskets that were re-used over and over, we feel as though we’ve arrived at the best possible solution we can for the time being."

Bravo, Pete and Gerry's for not going with gut feel, and for taking the time and money to conduct a LCA to be able to make an informed science-based decision regarding the best packaging for your organic eggs! Looking forward to following you on your sustainability journey on Twitter!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Compostable Snack Bag Wins Bioplastics Innovation Award

At the start of #BioplasticsWeek 2018, the Plastics Industry Association Bioplastics Division on September 18 announced Danimer Scientific and PepsiCo as the joint winners of the 2018 Innovation in Bioplastics Award. The two companies developed the next generation of bio-based and compostable flexible packaging using Danimer 24365B & Danimer 01112 Resins. This new industrial compostable snack bag is said to have the right balance of sustainability, performance and cost. 

The annual Innovation in Bioplastics Award is an honor that goes to companies applying bioplastics to innovative, purposeful product design. “We are excited to honor Danimer and PepsiCo for their unique and creative application of bioplastics innovation,” said PLASTICS’ President & CEO, William R. Carteaux. “These innovations are a major contribution in progressing bioplastics forward as a competitive option in more applications across various industries. What an amazing way to kick off Bioplastics Week.”

The industrial compostable snack bag is comparable in feel, noise and performance to PepsiCo’s current bags and certified to be industrially compostable by TUV Austria. The new Danimer resins that are blends of biopolymers and mineral filler give the bag its white exterior and can be processed in blown film lines for improved economics.  The new bio-based structures are currently being piloted in a limited test in the US and Chile, with plans for a test in India later this year.

“We would like to thank the Plastics Industry Association for recognizing the work PepsiCo and our team are doing to create sustainable food packaging,” said Scott Tuten, chief marketing officer at Danimer Scientific. “As the industry becomes more environmentally conscious, we look forward to continuing our partnership with PepsiCo to develop quality, compostable and biodegradable plastic products for a wide variety of applications.”

Home Compostable Next

Danimer and PepsiCo are collaborating on a third-generation chip bag that is based on Danimer’s PHA technology and will be fully biodegradable in home-composting environments.

“PepsiCo and Danimer have a shared vision for a future of food packaging that is more sustainable without compromising food safety or quality,” said Garry Kohl, Senior Director R&D Global Packaging Innovation for Snacks & Foods at PepsiCo. “We are proud to be recognized for this work, which supports PepsiCo’s stated goal to make 100-percent of our packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.”

Bioplastics Week

The Innovation in Bioplastics Award is announced annually during PLASTICS’ Bioplastics Division’s Bioplastics Week. Bioplastics Week is a social media driven initiative created to increase bioplastics’ visibility and educate people about the many benefits they provide. Follow the conversation using #BioplasticsWeek.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New Absolutely-Must-Visit Poster Print Shop And Gallery In San Francisco

If you’re going to San Francisco - or if you’re lucky enough to live there - the Haight Street Art Center (HSAC), a first-of-its-kind poster print shop and gallery that supports a collective of poster artists, is a must visit.

Dennis Larkins' incredible "Eyeconic" flies high above a wall of rock posters.
With 7,000 square feet of gallery exhibition space, HSAC is one of the largest galleries devoted to poster art in the United States. In addition to the print shop, the Center features community engagement facilities, including a classroom for teaching poster art techniques, a special events space, and a large gallery. Permanent and temporary exhibitions will be free of charge to the public, and the Center and its artists will sell silkscreen and offset prints.

Founded on a cooperative operational model, the HSAC features a state-of-the-art print shop to be managed by and for artists. The Center’s business model offers artists low overhead costs to improve the economics for creating and selling poster art. 

Exercising public art’s proven power to attract, inspire and connect, HSAC will serve not only the Lower Haight, but the city at large with educational programming for the San Francisco community: from students to seniors, apprentices to master artists, and the local residents to visitors.

The Art of Consciousness 

Mariusz Knorowski, Chief Curator at Poster Museum at Wilanów, Warsaw, Poland.
The inaugural exhibition, “The Art of Consciousness,” features more than 90 seminal works from 1965 to 1967. On display will be never-before-seen Family Dog original art from the “Big Five” of San Francisco rock poster art – Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson – whose vision inspired thousands of young people in San Francisco and provided the visual vocabulary for the vibrant community that formed in the Haight-Ashbury.

“It covers the evolution of poster art before the Summer of Love, from the Seed and Are We Next in 1965 through the psychedelic Avalon and Fillmore posters of the spring of 1967,” said Moonalice guitarist and poster philanthropist, Roger McNamee. “Check it out!”

The Art of Consciousness” runs through September. Entrance is free. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 215 Haight St., San Francisco:

About Haight Street Art Center

The Haight Street Art Center (HSAC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit San Francisco arts collective established to promote poster art production and education. The Center’s community outreach relates to poster art history and cultural impact along with a deep commitment to extending San Francisco’s proud heritage of publicly accessible artwork—artwork created to celebrate, advocate, and connect people.

Left to Right: Roger McNamee, Jeremy Fish and Peter McQuaid at the Grand Opening of the HSAC.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Celebration Of Poster Art At The Haight Street Art Center

Situated in the heart of Haight at 215 Haight Street, near the corner of Laguna, the Haight Street Art Center opened its doors to the public on Saturday 1 July with a Grand Opening that included activities for kids, printing demonstrations for adults, gallery tours, and a welcoming address from Mariusz Knorowski, Chief Curator at Poster Museum at Wilanów, the oldest poster museum in the world located in Warsaw, Poland.

Festivities began at 1pm with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the iconic Bronze Bunny, gatekeeper to San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood. 

A series of galleries displayed 90 posters from the breakthrough years of 1965-67 in the opening exhibit entitled “The Art of Consciousness," while artists demonstrated the silk screen process, enabling visitors to walk out with a freshly inked poster.

Celebration of poster art

The “Big Five” of poster art, who made San Francisco the epicenter of the genre are well represented: Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, Alton Kelly, Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin. 

The purpose of the art center is to invigorate poster art by providing a print shop and gallery that dramatically lowers the cost of creating and selling poster art,” said Roger McNamee, the Moonalice lead singer and guitarist with a passion for poster art. “It also provides a platform so that the artists can form and manage a collective for mutual benefit."

When Moonalice started in 2007 as a ’60s-style San Francisco psychedelic roots band, one of the founding precepts was a freshly produced poster for every show. “We figured we’d play 30 or 40 shows a year,” said McNamee, adding, “And we’ve played 100 shows a year for 10 years.” There are now close to 1,000 Moonalice posters, many of which paper the walls as well as the stairwell between the floors at the art center.

Moonalice model

In the day of the Big Five, poster artists were paid around $500 for a poster plus a dozen copies. The promoter, or the band, got the copyright, which meant that if a design hit it big in the aftermarket, the income from all those concert posters sold in bookstores and record stores went to someone other than the artist.

This is in stark contrast to the Moonalice business model, which is to pay the artist more up front, plus allow the artist keeps the copyright. There are some 35 artists in the Moonalice stable, and they will be the first to benefit from the art center’s platform.

Living history museum

The building is part of a Spanish Revival complex put up by the Works Progress Administration in 1934 as San Francisco State Teachers College. It sits on a huge lot, most of which has been developed into market-rate housing by Wood Partners.

“This is like a living history museum on top of a museum,” said Peter McQuaid, executive director of the center, who will oversee a staff of four. “We want to return to the craftsmanship where the artists print the work themselves.”

The art center includes the original San Francisco State entrance on the southeast corner of Haight and Buchanan streets, and occupies the down-slope annex, its mid-block entrance marked by the Bronze Bunny sculpture by Jeremy Fish. The entry is on the gallery level, with the print shop above it fully outfitted with scanners, printers and racks of paper.

Opening exhibition

The opening exhibition, “The Art of Consciousness,” runs through September. Entrance is free. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 215 Haight St., S.F.