Season 5, Post 33: Tasty titbits
We’re all fascinated by food, so much so that your author even writes a restaurant review Blog in his spare time. Food is necessary but at the same time can be excessive. Much is wasted too. Over 10% of the world’s population is affected by hunger and as many as one in four suffer from food insecurity (per the World Health Organisation). We therefore need to think more intelligently about food. We have written on this topic regularly, but the following recent developments piqued our interest.
Indoor (or vertical) farming is not new, but a detailed article we read highlighted how electroculture is driving the market in new directions. The word is a portmanteau of ‘electricity’ and ‘agriculture.’ Its advocates suggest that new farming systems can help mitigate both food crises and the environmental impact of farming. The broad idea relates to how electricity – particularly in the form of smart lighting or even infusing plants with charges – can stimulate both growth and yield. Plant wearables, or more prosaically, monitoring devices are another development. Trials are currently underway in Europe and the US.
Some of the output from vertical farms may find their way into the products of SavorEat. Describing itself as a “next generation meat alternative products” business, the company will be making its debut in the US later this month. Founded in Israel, the company uses a combination of a chef robot, proprietary 3D-printing technology and a unique set of ingredients. Think of it as a combination of food inputs, hardware and software, allowing consumers to customise their burgers, based around fat, protein or consistency requirements. Your author has yet to try the product, but when he spoke with SavorEat’s founder recently, she described her purpose being to create “food as an experience.” Today’s products should be seen as akin to the first iPhone; they should only get better.
If this doesn’t sound far enough out, then consider the work being done by Solar Foods. Based in Finland, the business has created solein, which it believes to be “the purest and most sustainable protein in the world.”Solein is made out of thin air. Yes, you did read that correctly. The approach pioneered is to take airborne microbes and ferment them using bioprocesses. A recent announcement seeks to use a similar process to create milk from scratch. In the words of the company’s founder (with whom we spoke last year), the work being done by Solar Foods is “an interesting R&D endeavour”, which needs scale. Similar to us, he also recognises that there is no silver bullet for the industry.
6 September 2023
The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.
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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager
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