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Future of food: 6 innovative circular foodtech startups to watch in Europe in 2023

Circular Foodtech Startups

Worldwide, the number of people who require food has risen substantially, resulting in a substantial increase in agricultural production. A serious attempt to meet such a demand in a resilient and sustainable manner will result in changes in food production and consumption, thus contributing to global warming.

Approximately one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to food production, which strains natural resources like land and water. Changing our food systems is essential in order to address the food production demand and its impact on the climate. One such key foodtech innovation for climate transition is food circularity, which creates a closed-loop food system in which waste is minimised and resources are used in a sustainable way. This can be achieved by implementing practices such as reducing food waste, composting organic matter, and using regenerative farming techniques.

Food circularity also emphasises the importance of a circular economy, which involves the reuse and recycling of materials, and reducing waste. A total of $329 million was invested in circular foodtech startups in Europe in 2022. Some of the recent foodtech investments in Europe include, Meala, Huel, and Bright Biotech.

That said, here are some innovative circular foodtech startups in Europe as per a report by FoodLabs and Dealroom.

PeelPioneers (Netherlands)

PeelPioneers Founders
Image credits: PeelPioneers

Founder/s: Sytze van Stempvoort, Bas van Wieringen, Lindy Hensen
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $13M

The Dutch startup PeelPioneers specialises in recycling citrus peel waste into valuable products such as essential oils, animal feed, and fertilizer. A large amount of citrus peel waste was being discarded in the Netherlands each year and the company turns the same into a valuable resource and reduces the environmental impact of the citrus industry.

PeelPioneers collects citrus peel waste from supermarkets, catering companies, and juice producers, and processes it into essential oils and other products using a proprietary technology. The essential oils are sold to perfume and flavor companies, while the remaining by-products are used as animal feed and fertilizer.

Winnow (UK)

Winnow Founders
Image credits: Winnow

Founder/s: Marc Zornes, Kevin Duffy
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $31.9M

With the intention to tackle food waste, London-headquartered Winnow’s technology includes a smart scale and camera system that helps chefs to track and analyse the food waste generated in their kitchens. By collecting data on the types and quantities of food being thrown away, the system provides insights into where waste is occurring and helps chefs to make adjustments to reduce it.

Winnow’s data analyses the data and provides real-time feedback to kitchen staff and generates reports on waste reduction progress. The company also provides training and support to help kitchens optimise their operations and reduce waste. The company’s solutions have been adopted by a range of commercial kitchens, including hotels, restaurants, and food service providers.

REDUCED (Denmark)

REDUCED founders
Image credits: REDUCED

Founder/s: Emil Munck de Voss, William Anton Lauf Olsen
Founded year: 2020
Total funding: $3.6M

Danish foodtech company REDUCED specialises in c reating high-quality food products and flavour enhancers from upcycled raw materials. Its mission is to reduce food waste by using vegetables, protein, and other food sources that are left over from the food industry. Also, it focuses on taste, quality, and sustainability.

Its primary product is a smart, energy-efficient heating and cooling system that uses heat pumps and a cloud-based control system to optimise energy consumption. The system can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app, and the cloud-based platform provides data on energy usage and cost savings. The company is committed to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and its solutions are designed to help customers save energy and money while also reducing their environmental impact.

Last year, REDUCED cooked up €2.9 million in a fresh funding round led by Vækstfonden and VÅR Ventures, alongside Rockstart, Pollen Capital and business angels.

Noriware (Switzerland)

Noriware founder
Image credits: Noriware

Founder/s: Jessica Farda, Stefan Grieder, Julius Thoma
Founded year: 2022
Total funding: NA

Swiss startup Noriware is developing CO2-neutral, plastic-free alternatives to conventional plastic products using seaweed. Noriware’s seaweed-based packaging film is entirely composed of natural materials that are biodegradable and made of 100% raw natural materials, making them even edible. The raw material seaweed’s growth has a negative carbon footprint, with the final product being home-compostable in a revolutionary time frame, leaving no residual waste behind.

Last year, Noriware received support from a leading university in Switzerland and funds from the NTN Innovation Booster Plastics for Zero Emission by Innosuisse to further develop its biodegradable algae packaging and revolutionise the packaging industry.

Vytal (Germany)

Image credits: Vytal

Founder/s: Fabian Barthel, Sven Witthöft, Tim Breker
Founded year: 2019
Total funding: $12.2M

Vytal offers a reusable packaging and delivery system for food and beverage businesses. Its solution includes a range of reusable containers, cups, and lids that are designed to be used multiple times and then washed and sterilised before being used again. The containers are made from durable, food-grade materials and are designed to replace single-use packaging, such as disposable plastic or paper containers.

In addition to its reusable packaging, Vytal also provides a delivery and collection service for participating food and beverage businesses. When customers order food or drinks for delivery, the items are packed in Vytal’s reusable containers, and then delivered to the customer. After the food is consumed, customers can place the empty containers back in the delivery bag and leave it outside for collection. Vytal then collects the used containers and delivers them to its central cleaning facility to be washed and sterilized.

Early in 2022, Vytal raised $10 million in a Series A financing round from Grazia Equity, Rubio Impact Ventures, and Lawrence Leuschner.

Ricehouse (Italy)

Ricehouse team
Image credits: Ricehouse

Founder/s: Tiziana Monterisi, Alessio Colombo
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $600K

Italian circular economy startup Ricehouse creates sustainable construction materials from organic waste from the rice industry to create natural building materials such as rice straws, husks, and chaff. Their products include insulating panels, base plasters, screeds and subfloors, cladding systems, and vertical matt-closing components. The goal of Ricehouse is to construct a house made entirely of rice and everything that houses humans, from the smallest to the largest scales.

In 2021, Ricehouse secured $600K from significant social impact funds such as Boost Heroes (B Holding Group), Impact Hub, ea|impact and private investors.

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