Siva Vanapalli, Ph.D.
The Future of FoodTech Conference and Industry Innovations Recap
The 2023 Future of FoodTech conference was held in San Francisco, from March 16-17, with more than 1500 attendees. This conference brought together food brands, ingredient providers, active investors, startups, and technology pioneers.
During the two-day summit, FoodTech visionaries and thought leaders discussed the challenges of optimizing the taste and texture of plant-based ingredients while delivering nutritious food formats sustainably and affordably to consumers.
Here are some key takeaways from the panel discussions:
The overall taste, texture, and eating experience keep novel foods at the dinner table and increase repurchasing intent of customers.
The FoodTech industry has not achieved price parity yet with traditional producers, but the economies of scale will help bring prices down.
More comparative clinical studies evaluating the health benefits of plant-based alternatives to traditional foods need to be conducted to help inform consumers about their potential nutritional and health benefits.
Despite the lack of current price parity, raising consumer awareness and education on the sustainability impact of plant-based foods will play a critical role in increasing their adoption.
Significant manufacturing and scale-up challenges exist for precision fermentation and cultivated meat technologies. However, forming industry consortiums to share resources is an important step to prevent current FoodTech innovations from experiencing significant setbacks.
Startups bringing new sources of proteins, dietary ingredients, meat alternatives, and hybrid formats for healthier, nutrient-packed foods are essential to fuel innovation in the FoodTech ecosystem. To move beyond proof-of-concept food innovations, a collaboration between startups, investors, and established industry players is critical.
How does NemaLife fit into the FoodTech innovation ecosystem?
NemaLife partners with FoodTech companies to determine the safety, health benefits, and performance of novel food ingredients and bioactives. The constant need for taste, texture, health, and sustainability innovations the FoodTech industry has created an immense opportunity to accelerate the discovery and characterization of new sources of plant-based ingredients, as well as repurpose existing dietary bioactives into new product categories. New and scalable technologies are therefore needed to discover and characterize ingredients in a sustainable fashion, while derisking product development.
Our interdisciplinary team comes with decades of expertise in microfluidics, AI, biology, and food science. Together, we have created two screening platforms to address the unmet needs of the FoodTech industry. Our first and most advanced platform is our organism-on-chip platform, which provides in vivo data for food ingredients and their combinations with a focus on health benefits ranging from gut health to longevity. The second platform in development is our proteins-on-chip platform, which provides performance data on the emulsification and rheology of novel food proteins.