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It is with a heavy heart that we join the food world in mourning the passing of Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Califia Farms and Odwalla, a leading voice in the plant-based movement over 40+ years.
A new report from the Good Food Institute has found that alternative protein startups raised $3.1 billion in 2020, three times the amount raised by the sector in 2019. Asian and Hispanic specialty grocer Weee has raised $300 million to grow its geographic reach and expand into new categories. Israeli startup MeaTech has raised $22 million on Nasdaq, making it the first cultured meat IPO in the US.
Last but not least, lawmakers in Mexico have approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis.
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Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.
1. Why Greg Inspired: A Remembrance – BevNet
It is with a heavy heart that we join the food world in mourning the passing of Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Califia Farms and Odwalla, a leading voice in the plant-based movement over 40+ years. Jeffrey Klineman writes a wonderful tribute in honor of this giant’s life.
2. Record $3.1B Invested in Alt Proteins in 2020 Signals Growing Market Momentum for Sustainable Proteins – Good Food Institute
In 2020, the alternative protein industry raised $3.1b in investments—more than in any single year in the industry’s history.
3. Specialty Grocer Weee Valued at $2.8B in Latest Round – Bloomberg
The online grocer specializing in Hispanic and Asian foods raised more than $300m led by DST Global. Funds will be used for growing geographically, expanding to new categories, investing in warehouse automation, front-end development and recruiting new hires.
MeaTech will become the first lab grown meat company traded on Nasdaq. It will use net proceeds to advance its program to develop commercial technologies to manufacture alternative foods. It sank as much as 24% in its first trading day.
5. Mexico Set to Legalize Marijuana, Becoming World’s Largest Market – New York Times
Lawmakers in Mexico have approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, but in a country still marred by a deadly drug war, the proposal has proved divisive.
6. The Fall from Favor of Danone’s Purpose-Driven Chief – Financial Times
Ousting of Emmanuel Faber underlines challenge of pursing profits and ESG goals.
The company priced shares at $25 per share, raising about $450m at a valuation of $3.6b. The stock closed on Wednesday at $34.75 per share.
8. A Covid Outbreak at a California Meatpacking Plant Started a Year Ago—and Never Went Away – Mother Jones
Almost half of the workers at the Farmer John pork processing plant have been infected with the virus. Currently, 784 workers at the plant have tested positive for Covid-19. Five have died.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms raised $50m via Islamic bonds led by Shuaa Capital, and Sancta Capital led the $10m. The capital will fund its Middle East expansion.
10. Shelf Engine Raises $41M for Grocery Order Automation – The Spoon
General Catalyst led the round. Funding will be used for continued expansion and bulk up its team of engineers, data scientists and supply chain automation experts.
11. Meet Plant-Ag, the $9B Startup That Will Let You Trace Your Food from Field-to-Plate – Fast Company
Karim Giscombe, a former director at Merrill Lynch, is raising $9b to build a supply chain that can track a vegetable’s journey from farm to grocery shelf. The platform will launch in the coming weeks.
12. Alexandria REIT to Form $250M Agrifoodtech SPAC – AgFunder
The SPAC will aim to acquire technologies and privately held businesses in the agritech and climate change mitigation sectors.
13. The New Stimulus Package Allocates Over $28B for Restaurants. Oregon Has a Lot To Do With That. – Eater
This relief package is a version of the Restaurants Act, a bill drafted and brought to congress by Portland’s own Rep Earl Blumenauer.
14. UAE: Cloud Software for Cloud Kitchens: Grubtech Raises $3.4M – The Spoon
Investors were undisclosed. Funding will go towards product development and expansion across the Middle East-North Africa region as well as Europe and the Americas.
15. On Canons – Alicia Kennedy
Women, trans and non-binary chefs are not covered, cited or partnered with in the same breathless manner as cis men are. That day isn’t coming anytime soon, though things are shifting.
16. Indoor Agtech: An Evolving Landscape of 1.3K+ Startups – AgFunder
Indoor agtech is increasingly able to address many of the most pressing challenges facing the entire agrifood value chain.
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The post Remembering Califia Founder Greg Steltenpohl, $3.1B Invested in Alternative Proteins in 2020 + More appeared first on Food+Tech Connect.plant-based alternative protein cultured meat meatech califia farms califia alternative proteins meat pork protein cultured investing ipo investors shares funding fund nasdaq esg investment