These 10 Startups Are Creating The Future Of Food

Scientists and entrepreneurs are revolutionizing the way we think about food.

We’re seeing new ingredients, like insects, and new means of production, including 3D printers.

Investors are taking notice. In 2013 VCs invested $US146 million in the food and beverage industry, according to a report from CB Insights.

We’ve put together a list of 10 food startups that aren’t just creating sustainable, healthier food options — they’re shaping the future of food.

Modern Meadow grows meat and leather in its lab.

Modern Meadow uses 3D bioprinting to create food products, including its hamburger.

Founders: Andras Forgacs (CEO), Gabor Forgacs (chief scientific officer), Francoise Marga, Karoly Jakab

What it is: Modern Meadow grows leather and food in its lab using biofabrication, which takes small biopsies from animals leaving them unharmed. Modern Meadow's next development, pending FDA approval, will be marketing its 3D printed beef.

Funding: Just received $US10 million from Horizons Ventures; prior funding from investors including Sequoia Capital and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel


Soylent lets you drink complete meals.

Founder: Rob Rhinehart (CEO)

What it is: Soylent is a food product designed to be a complete meal replacement. It's made up of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates essential for human nutrition. Soylent comes in a powder form as well as an oil-based solution, and both are mixed with water to create the meal substitute.

Funding: $US2.3 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Initialized Capital, Lerer Ventures, Hydrazine Capital, Y Combinator


Solazyme turns algae into food ingredients for your favourite recipes.

Solazyme's food ingredients, made with algae, offer health benefits to consumers.

Founder: Jonathan Wolfson (CEO)

What it is: Solazyme, a company known for creating renewable biofuels and skincare products from algae, has ventured into new territory: food. Its microalgae-derived food ingredients, which include eggs, butter, and vegetable oil, offer reduced calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than traditional products.

Funding: $145.80 million from Harris & Harris Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Roda Group, Bunge, Bluecrest Capital Finance, Morgan Stanley, Chevron Technology Ventures


Hampton Creek replaces eggs with plant-based substitutes.

Hampton Creek wants to overthrow the multibillion-dollar egg industry by introducing egg-free food products.

Founder: Josh Tetrick (CEO)

What it is: Hampton Creek wants to make the multibillion-dollar egg industry obsolete by introducing egg-free alternatives to consumers. Besides creating a realistic alternative to the chicken egg, the company has also created Just Mayo and Just Cookies, which use plant-based ingredients instead of eggs.

Funding: $US30 million from AME Cloud Ventures, Jerry Yang, Scott Banister, Jessica Powell, Horizons Ventures, Ali Partovi, Eagle Cliff Partners, Collaborative Fund, Kat Taylor, Ash Patel, Khosla Ventures, Hadi Partovi, Founders Fund


Beyond Meat provides plant protein-based alternatives to meat products.

Beyond Meat's grilled chicken-free strips are just one of its plant protein-based meat alternatives.

Founders: Ethan Brown (CEO), Brent Taylor (vice president of corporate development)

What it is: Beyond Meat uses plant proteins to make synthetic alternatives to meat products. So far its two main products are chicken-free strips and beef-free crumbles. The company's goal is to help reduce global consumption of animal meat by 25% by 2020.

Funding: Investors include Obvious Corporation and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers


NuTek Salt shapes the future of table salt without using sodium.

Using potassium salt instead of sodium salt, NuTek Salt reduces your sodium intake without compromising taste.

Founders: Tom Manuel (CEO), Sam Rao (vice president and chief innovator)

What it is: NuTek Salt is a natural potassium salt, extracted the same way sodium salt is. It's a healthier alternative to sodium salt that doesn't compromise the taste you'd expect from salt.

Funding: Investors include Khosla Ventures


Six Foods' insect-based food products provide more protein and sustainability than traditional snacks.

Six Foods' Chirp Chips are made from beans, rice, and cricket flour.

Founders: Laura D'Asaro, Meryl Natow, Rose Wang

What it is: Founded by three friends from Harvard University, Six Foods believes in the power of foods derived from six-legged creatures: insects. Its first product, Chirp Chips, are made with beans, rice, and a flour made from roasted crickets. Available in three flavours -- sea salt, hickory BBQ, and aged cheddar -- Chirp Chips contain three times the protein of regular potato chips.

Funding: $US70,559 pledged on Kickstarter


Kite Hill's artisan cheeses bring new life to vegan-cheese options.

Kite Hill's White Alder, a soft ripened cheese, is made from pasteurized nut milk.

Founders: Dr. Patrick Brown, Monte Casino, Tal Ronnen, Jean Prevot (COO)

What it is: Using almond milk and macadamia milk, Kite Hill's artisanal cheeses come in varieties like Cassucio, truffle dill and chive, Coastanoa, White Alder, and ricotta. 'Nondairy cheese is nothing new,' Tal Ronnen, cofounder of Kite Hill, told the San Francisco Business Times. 'But traditionally, nondairy cheeses are made with highly processed ingredients with oils.' Kite Hill's cheeses are all-natural, including just four ingredients: pasteurized nut milk, cultures, enzymes, and salt.

Funding: Investors include Khosla Ventures


Real Food Blends offer tasty and healthy food options for those on feeding tubes.

Real Food Blends improves upon food options for those who require feeding tubes.

Founder: Julie Bombacino

What it is: Typical meals given to the 1 million Americans who eat through feeding tubes consist primarily of corn syrup, water, and vitamins. Real Food Blends changes all that. Meals that the company offers include blends made of orange chicken, carrots, and barley; quinoa, kale and hemp; and salmon, oats, and squash.

Funding: $US15,701 crowdfunded on IndieGogo


UNREAL Candy makes your favourite junk food healthier.

UNREAL's candy selection is healthier than traditional candy, and contains no corn syrup or gluten.

Founders: Adam Melonas, Nicky Bronner, Michael Bronner

What it is: After discovering how much junk was in his Halloween candy, 13-year-old Nicky Bronner and his dad Michael turned to master chef Adam Melonas to help them craft a healthier candy. UNREAL Candy contains grass-fed dairy and sustainable palm oil and no corn syrup, GMOs, or gluten. Mimicking its junkier alternatives, UNREAL Candy includes a peanut butter cup; candy-coated chocolates; chocolate, caramel, and nougat bars; candy-coated, chocolate-covered peanuts; and chocolate, caramel, peanut, and nougat bars.

Funding: $18.70 million


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