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Extraordinary Startups at IFT FIRST


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Chicago – Dozens of entrepreneurs participated in the Startup Pavilion, a dedicated exhibition at IFT First, the annual meeting of food technologists held July 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Emerging companies showcased solutions ranging from sugar reduction to sustainable agriculture.

The winner of the pitch competition was Equinom, an Israeli seed developer with US headquarters in Indianapolis. The company recently achieved a record 75% protein in an exploratory minimally processed pea protein component by breeding new varieties of yellow peas using its technology platform. The technology identifies traits favorable for food applications in the genetic structure of seeds and predicts the best crossbreeding matches to yield improved varieties without the use of genetic engineering.

“By building nutrition and flavor into seeds, we enable less processing, tastier and more nutritious, accessible and affordable plant-based food,” said Galit Fenreich, Chief Marketing Officer during the pitch event.

Many startups introduced plant-based innovation. Alkemeat, Chicago has developed a whole-sliced ​​meat substitute made from soy protein isolate, soy flour and wheat gluten. The product looks and tastes like premium beef, but costs the same or less, said founder Huan Xia, PhD.

Planetarians, San Francisco, has created plant proteins using byproducts of soybean oil and beer.

“We harvest soy from the oil extraction industry and spend yeast from the brewing industry and mix those using our proprietary technology,” Max Barnthhouse, head of formulations at Planetarians, describes the protein as “value-progressive.” Said happened.

Cella Farms, Alameda, Calif., uses fermentation to create high-protein cereal flour for bread, pasta, crackers, tortillas, cookies, and more.

“Our flour has six times more digestible protein and 40% fewer carbs than normal flour,” said Monica Bhatia, Co-Founder and CEO, Sela Farms. “Imagine eating a simple avocado sandwich and getting 20 grams of complete protein from the bread … Our radical vision is to displace meat.”

Upcycled Foods, Inc., Berkeley, Calif., showcases its range of high-protein, high-fiber ingredients, including a new Protein Crisp launched in partnership with The Kerry Group. The company’s key component is the platform Regraded, which converts beer waste into nutritious food, but other areas of interest include “finding overlooked and underpriced foods” within coffee and chocolate supply chains, the co-founders said. and CEO Daniel Kurzrock said.

“There’s a lot we’re going off the table,” he said. “We are here to close that loop, making it easy and accessible for food developers as an ingredient supplier and innovation partner.”

Nutraberry, Seattle, offers powders based on upcycled seeds of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, which are rich in fiber and polyphenols, said David Wishnik, co-founder.

D’Wash Organics, Los Angeles, supplies date sugar, date syrup and date paste derived from unripe dates unfit for the market. According to the company, dates are rich in antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index than honey and other sweeteners.

BT Sweet (Better Than Sweet) Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel, Cambya, is a plant-based, one-to-one drop-in sugar replacement. The Cambya Sweetening Platform was created to reduce sugar in a wide range of food and beverage applications without compromising taste or other organoleptic properties. It provides optimum sweetening potential without the need for masking agents and does not leave behind any aftertaste, according to the company.

The proprietary formula is based on soluble fiber, monk fruit and select botanicals and has a one-to-one sugar equivalent in body and flavor, said Jesse Potack, CEO of BT Sweet.

Canned, Chicago, produces cold-pressed sugarcane juice, which is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, according to the company. The beverage is blended with fruits and herbs and contains no added sugar.

Think Better Foods, Minneapolis, is the manufacturer of VeggieFi, a brand of freeze-dried vegetable chunks that can be used as a binder, coating, or topping in savory or sweet food applications. Varieties include carrot turmeric, purple carrot, beetroot and cauliflower. Co-founder, Kari Werdelman, said the products are “super neutral in taste,” providing vegetables per quarter-cup serving.

Levelle, New York, is developing sports nutrition products that meet the unique fueling needs of women, which are made from organic ingredients and “no engineered sugars, additives or artificial colors,” according to the company. According to the company’s findings, nearly half marathon runners in the United States are women, yet only 30% of sports science and sports medicine studies involve women, and less than 2.5% of all sports nutrition products are formulated for women. .

Linda Alvarez, co-founder and MD, said, “Products on the market are built based on men’s physiology and are great for male athletes, but they can cause myriad physical side effects in female athletes during training and competition. Huh.” CEO. “We’re inspiring women to run the world.”



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