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Remembering Califia Founder Greg Steltenpohl, $3.1B Invested in Alternative Proteins in 2020 + More

Source: Vegconomist Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t…

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Source: Vegconomist

Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of this week’s top headlines.

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 ProteinsGood 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 RoundBloomberg

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.

 

4. Israeli Cultured Meat Co MeaTech Raises $22M on Nasdaq – Globes

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 MarketNew 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 ChiefFinancial Times

Ousting of Emmanuel Faber underlines challenge of pursing profits and ESG goals.

 

7. Restaurant Tech Firm Olo Shares Soar 39% in IPO As Online Ordering SurgesCNBC

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 AwayMother 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.

 

9. UAE: Middle East Startup That Grows Food in the Desert Raises $60M in FundingCNBC

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 AutomationThe 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 $3.4MThe 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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