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Food + Beverage Trends

#LAUNCHFood Forum Recap – San Francisco

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Last week our founder Alessio D’Antino flew to San Francisco to take part of LAUNCH Food Forum, a fantastic global open innovation program for innovators, entrepreneurs, or intrapreneurs with big ideas for improving health outcomes by enabling people to make healthy food choices. Founded in 2009 by NASA, US agency for International Development (USAID), Australian AID, US Department of State and Nike Inc, LAUNCH has tackled various challenges in water, health, sustainable chemistry and more. The 2017 LAUNCH Food Forum aimed at supporting an amazing group of 12 innovators from all over the world. In order to support these entrepreneurs with further developing their business, they have created LAUNCH Food Council: a strong group of 50 experts, strategists and decision-makers from across the food system who are committed to helping create a healthier world through innovation.

He was invited to join the Forum as a Council Member and had been asked to provide feedback, suggestions, and offers of support in five key areas: capital, capacity, connectivity, credibility, and creativity.

The crowd was a mix of incredible entrepreneurs, investors, intrapreneurs, key thought leaders from the academic world, as well as numerous representatives from top-notch NGO’s.  It’s been a unique opportunity to meet, all at once, such fascinating people from organizations like NASA, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, WWF, IKEA, USAID just to name a few to explore what the future of food could look like .

Meet the 2017 LAUNCHFood global innovators below:

  1. Dipika Matthias: Coffee Flour is a nutritionally dense flour made from discarded coffee cherry pulp and skin.
  2. Beverley Postma: HarvestPlus has developed staple food crops enriched to provide between 25% and 100% of daily requirements for vitamin A, iron, and zinc.
  3. Jarrod Goldin: Entomo Farms makes high-quality protein products from sustainably farmed, free-range insects.
  4. Habib Saqib: Telenor Pakistan presents Telenor Mobile Agriculture, a customized mobile agriculture advisory and direct farmer-to-consumer eCommerce platform.
  5. Joanna Kane-Potaka: From ICRISAT, Smart Food is a campaign to popularize food that is good for you, the planet, and the farmer — starting with millets and sorghum.
  6. Robert Oliver and Elizabeth Powell: The world-renowned chef will lead Pacific Islands Food Revolution, a health education initiative tailored to audiences in the Pacific Islands that includes multimedia and cross-sectoral wellness campaigns.
  7. Bruce Neal: FoodSwitch is a program that helps shoppers choose better foods, industry make healthier products, and government set effective policies.
  8. Kirsty Bayliss: From Murdoch University, Breaking the Mold is a plasma-based treatment that extends the life of fresh produce by delaying mold growth.
  9. Jeremy Fryer-Biggs: Evaptainers is a robust, efficient, and low-cost refrigeration solution powered by only water and sunlight.
  10. Marc Noyce and Brendan Condon: Foodwall is a modular, user-friendly, and extremely water-efficient urban food growing system.
  11. Salah Sukkarieh: The University of Sydney has developed a data-driven digital platform connecting small-scale farmers to a global growing community while helping increase growing capacity.
  12. Tash Tan: As a selected innovator in our LAUNCH Legends challenge* for cutting-edge storytelling around public health, S1T2’s Tash Tan will develop a creative technology experience to inspire cultural movements that bring pride back to traditional healthy eating within targeted sites in the Pacific Islands.

He has summarized some personal key takeaways:

  • Food is a truly global language: it’s incredible to see so many bright minds coming together and openly sharing their visions for the future of food
  • San Francisco is still the place-to-be for understanding and anticipating food sustainability and foodtech trends (e.g restaurants serving aquaponic-grown produces, Kava bars — anyone?)
  • It’s great to see the best and brightest innovators always challenging the ‘status quo’ of our global food system and developing new solutions that can help tackle some of the biggest issues that are affecting it

To learn more see our Storify here.

Quoting what he said about it: I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate to #LAUNCHFood Forum and I very much look forward to further supporting this amazing group of innovators for creating a more sustainable and resilient future of food together. Thanks to all the amazing team at SecondMuse for inviting me to take part of this enriching experience.”

What’s wrong with fruit Roll-ups??

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It’s no secret that corporates are capable of innovating…(Yes — corporates, you read it right)

With this piece I want to offer a simple comparison between approaches to innovation using a real example: the fruit rolls-ups AKA fruit jerky

Does Fruit flavored snacks mean there is any fruit in it?

I believe food innovation doesn’t necessarily come from only startups. The Fruit Roll-ups were ‘invented” in early 1980’s and according to Wikipedia’s definition ‘The snack is a flat, pectin-based fruit-flavored snack, wrapped around a piece of cellophane for easier removal’

In a similar fashion of what entrepreneurs do, corporate people strive to come up with innovative ways to develop and successfully launch new products. General Mills introduced Fruit rollups in the United States in 1983.

 

Now the question is: is this what consumers would want to feed their kids with it all day long? Maybe in the 80’s consumers care less about this, but they definitely would not stick now

The problem is that they focus too much on (over)market their innovations and forget about what consumers actually want or even worse they take their marketing efforts to some extremes…(see below)

 

As a matter of fact General Mills was then forced to change the labelling of its fruit rolls as a consumer watchdog nonprofit, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sued GM claiming that Fruit Roll-Ups’ packaging intentionally misled customers into believing that the snack was healthy and made of fruit.

Or even worse ‘playing’ with food to get product endorsement from influencers such as Jeremy Lin (a popular NBA Player) for whom they made a basketball jersey made entirely of fruit roll-ups.

On the other hand companies like Snact, Spare Fruit or Emily crisps have taken an ‘old’ product (such as fruit roll-ups) and made it relevant for consumers by making fruit jerky or dehydrated fruit snacks feel (really) more ‘human’, while making a dent in fighting food waste

This is what consumers are demanding today, food brands that speak their language, use real food to make their products and are transparent about how they make them.

Often time, ‘traditional’ approaches can be the most innovative ones and we’re definitely seeing a ‘going back to the roots’ consumers trend when it comes to new product developments from startups. One of my favorite US startups that I believe is well representing this movement is indeed called “Back to the roots” and states to ‘undo food’ (and they even trademarked the term).

But why is their approach different? Most food entrepreneurs are just there to challenge ‘the status quo’ as they want to drive (indeed) the change via creating new movements. I believe often times fellow founders see their work as a personal endeavor to change the rules of the game and create impact. This is where they find the energy and resilience to go through the startup rollercoaster (especially when it comes to building a food business).

In my days at Diageo I’ve experienced that the longer corporate managers work in this industry the more biased they become about how they see innovation and have hard times seizing opportunities that go beyond products that are ‘innovation pipeline’. Most of the times when it comes to innovation, the key task is adapting existing products to new markets (meaning over-marketing them) instead of developing something that is truly relevant for those specific consumers. The main drive there was leveraging economies of scale by rolling-out existing products into new markets, and gain market shares for existing brands by introducing new line extensions.

To sum up, when it comes to innovation in food, I strongly believe personal drive is the key differentiator. Companies that foster an entrepreneurial spirit, and make sure their employees have that personal drive, are the ones capable of creating meaningful innovations (Google has understood that from their very early days…).

So how to operate the switch? I strongly believe that big organizations who will be able to innovate are the ones who thoroughly understand the importance of constantly ‘contaminating’ their managers by making them working very closely to entrepreneurs and let their people ‘absorb’ a bit of that entrepreneurial and personal drive.

While startups are better suited at developing meaningful innovations for consumers, corporates have the knowledge and leverage to bring these to the market at scale. This is why at Crowdfooding we facilitate collaboration opportunities between startups and corporates, to make sure the next wave of food innovation have the best of both (startup purpose and corporate expertise and knowledge).

Mindful food innovation vs product (over-)marketing

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It’s no secret that for a long time, big brands really didn’t have to worry too much about the product, the quality of the ingredients and the integrity and sustainability of their manufacturing processes.

Often times their marketing budget was far greater than their R&D spent — I believe the graph below says it all.

source: Circle up — Techcrunch

Even in my own experience, quickly after joining Diageo where I had been working on new product launches across Western Europe for almost 2 years, it became quite clear to me that marketing was leading the conversation when it came to introducing innovation to the market and not the product itself.

I had the feeling big brands were primarily focusing on selling their existing products and maximize their profits instead of trying to predict future trends and develop new products and creating categories aligned with them.

In addition, when deciding which product to launch, they were heavily relying on consumers researches made by agencies, instead of being on the ground understanding what consumers really wanted.

I believe while marketing is a crucial part of the business that won’t ever go away, the future of food means a return to food products taking center stage. We see that consumers are demanding better food more and more, not better marketing and I personally think they are simply choosing the brands that best mirror their needs and values.

 

In the past few years, innovators and brands developed products and concepts with flavour and overall good taste in mind. However in a world where people in some parts of the world are still starving and climate change and food waste remain still big issues to face, many food businesses started reassessing the way they’re developing new products to:

  • meet the demand of a growingly conscious consumer when it comes to health and sustainability
  • inspire consumers to eat smarter (and healthier)
  • ensure that production is sustainable and ecological

The result is providing consumers with smartly designed choices that will benefit both personal and global health and I believe we’ll see more and more business follow in the same pattern.

I believe we’ve entered the age where in food the product is king and marketing comes second. It’s the product quality doing the selling now and smaller brands, like Snact, Nix & Kix or Pip&Nut, are leading up the way by providing consumers with wholesome and sustainable products; and letting that be their marketing focus. As startups they all still need to do quite a little bit of marketing but they do maximize their (often tiny) budget on digital marketing smartly and do let the product and word-of-mouth do the rest.

Now the question is: as a sense of mindful innovation rises to the top, will big food brands be able to keep up with ever-changing consumers’ needs alone?

In my experience meeting with a number of corporate executives in leadership positions at food companies, I’ve encountered some great people who have deeply grasped the value of collaborating with startups to create better food and I’m very much optimistic that these people will help their companies lead the charge for developing more mindful innovation. After all, intrinsically great food products might mean less work for the marketing department, but certainly more value for the consumers.

What if big food brands partnered up with startups to create a better food system?

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In the last few months I have been meeting a few corporate executives of multinational food companies and among all the interesting discussions I’ve had with them there is a one quote that I think is worth sharing:

“In the food industry everyone wants to get a seat in the front coach of the train. Big food brands have definitely conquered that position, the only problem is they‘ve jumped on a train that is going backwards”

We are certainly seeing a major shift in the dynamics of food today.

The big guys all seem to be too slow and perhaps enslaved to shareholders to innovate but they may be too large to perish… at least for now.

On the other hand, small food brands are gaining more and more popularity among consumers to a point where they may become the next big food company.

But what if they were collaborating to create a better food system (as well as more wealth) together? What if examples of the likes of Innocent drinks (acquired by Coca-Cola) or Grom (acquired by Unilever) will become the norm?

Big food corporates can enable scale for smaller food brands

For a small brand it will mean:

  • Tapping into the enormous production, marketing and branding infrastructure
  • Improving margins through more efficient production and sourcing
  • Accessing to greater distribution routes products can easily slip into existing distribution routes → resulting in greater impact

For a big company it will mean:

  • Gaining access to vetted brands with a progressive consumer base
  • Avoiding the expensive process of trying to start a new brand from scratch
  • Optimizing idle manufacturing capacity

In other words if larger companies’ resources could become much more accessible by startups, the barriers to entry for smaller food brands would continue to lower. By lowering the barriers more ideas will make it to market, more consumer choice and therefore better products for everyone.

It’s no secret that consumers are demanding better, healthier and planet conscious products. If we can build an infrastructure to enable food entrepreneurs to thrive, there will be more choice and brands that create better food for people.

To this end, I’m thrilled to announce that along with some of our corporate partners we’re building the Crowdfooding Hub, a physical space in the hearth of London where startups and corporates will connect to create innovation for the food and drink industry — to learn more email us at info@crowdfooding.co

And yet It Moves! How Meat Consumption Has Changed

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: changes in meat consumption.

When the WHO classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic,” and processed red meat as “carcinogenic” to humans, at the end of 2015, it was the ultimate final straw on a horrible year for the industry. Sales had reached their lowest point in many countries, and it seemed like its decline had finally arrived.

Like all cycles however, once you touch the bottom, the only way is up: over the next ten years, pro capita red meat consumption is bound to increase, as this graph from the 2016 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook shows.

But while the future looks less grim for read meat, there are tell-tale signs coming from consumer behaviour (or, the picture of what is happening right now) and investment trends (or, the prediction of what will happen in the future) that things will never be the same again.

Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: And yet It Moves! How Meat Consumption Has Changed.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Part 1 — Crowdfunding: reward or equity?

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

In part 1 of this series, we define the two major ways of crowdfunding: reward and equity based crowdfunding.

Think of it as a beehive. Each piece of the honeycomb is built upon the former backer, culminating in an impressive formation, all contributing to one cause.

There are fundamentally two types of crowdfunding: reward-based and equity-based

Reward Crowdfunding — raise funds from the general public in exchange for insider products or services. Backers are contributing to a cause they care about and often buying into a sense of prestige, becoming part of an inner circle who are granted access to the latest in developments and releases from the startup.

Benefits: create a very engaging relationship with current and prospective customers and receive feedback about products.

Smith & Sinclair —reward crowdfunded Cocktail Confectioners

Equity Crowdfunding — raise large funding amounts from business angels or institutional investors in exchange for shares of the startup. These individuals should have added value components to bring to the table, including industry experience and expertise as well as extensive networks which can all be used to open doors to increase company’s growth.

Benefits: raise funds to ramp up business growth and onboard new shareholders who can contribute to the success of the business.

The Pressery — equity crowdfunded Super Natural Goodness

So how does a team determine which of these methods to crowdfund their project? Covered in Part 2 of CF 101.

Check out Alessio’s medium account for more thoughts on food business and crowdfunding in London.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Pt 2— Crowdfunding Model

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

In part 2 of the series, we dive into the how we can mix reward and equity crowdfunding to optimize your own model.

Deciding between the two crowdfunding types can be difficult. So why not make the best of both worlds and combine the two? Crowdfooding allows teams to do just that. This is particularly in specific cases where entrepreneurs want to cater their fundraising to both backers and investors. This helps to simplify their cap table, lowering the number of investors to those with the right incentives.

Making use of a combined model allows startups to reap the benefits of each type, engaging and validating with customers through reward-based funding while defining their own terms for equity funding, including how much money must be pledged in order to own shares of the business.

Since there is an innate funding target cap with reward funding, founders can unlock higher amounts of funding with the right audiences, passionate individuals or organizations with a shared care in the startup’s cause. This is particularly relevant within the UK investing scape where tax incentives have led to apathetic investors whose only interests are short term tax benefits. The right investors often bring about added value such as mentorship and networks that have potentially more impact than the funds themselves.

Think back to our beehive analogy — startups build up the foundation of their campaign on reward backers and leverage the strength to attract the equity investors they want for the terms they defined.

Our startups approach their campaigns with a balanced mix in mind and end their campaigns with real world business validation in the most real sense — the market response of who provides their funding.

To learn how to optimize your particular mix, Part 3 of CF101 will dig deeper into the definitions between the parties involved in the ecosystem.

Check out Alessio’s medium account for more thoughts on food business and crowdfunding in London.

The Entrepreneur-spiration Series: Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne & Prosecco

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Crowdfooding has partnered with WeMeanBusiness London to feature the Entrepreneur-spiration Series – where real life foodie startup founders share their stories, tips and advice on building your own brand and business.

This month we went and met Amanda Thomson, Founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Skinny – a portfolio of Champagne and Prosecco for the next generation of wine lovers globally who want to drink top quality sparkling wine, whilst reducing the levels of added sugar in their bottle.

Billed as “the basic bitch drink” by The Guardian this summer, Skinny Champagne and Prosecco is a god send for those that want to cut their calories while they enjoy their chilled glass of fizz.

Hallelujah I hear you cry!

Amanda’s mission is to be completely open about what we’re drinking and cut sugar where it’s not needed. Her brand is not counting calories, but sharing them for transparency, encouraging us to ask why we can’t drink better and cleaner?

The Skinny range of Champagne and Prosecco definitely answers this question, so Lesley Bambridge from We Mean Business, set out to find out more. Read the full article on the We Mean Business, London blog…

http://www.wemeanbusinesslondon.com/blog/2016/10/31/the-entrepreneur-spiration-series-thomson-scott-skinny-champagne-prosecco

 

 

Chocothon – Launches Today!

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We are incredibly excited to announce the official launch of Chocothon’s crowdfunding campaign today! The campaign kicks off with a world tour to present it to key stakeholders around the international chocolate community. Our goal is to build a more sustainable cocoa supply chain that is equipped to fulfill global demand.

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Chocothon is a joint effort led by Google Food Labs and the International Trade Centre (ITC) with knowledge support from Business School Lausanne (BSL) and the Future Food Institute (FFI), aimed at creating a shared value platform to foster sustainable Ghanaian cocoa farming. Crowdfooding is thrilled to act as technical partner, providing the platform on which the funding to support this cause can be raised. We believe crowdfunding is truly impactful in bringing out diverse levels of engagement across the audiences this campaign will touch. Coinciding with the collaborative theme throughout the Chocothon philosophy, crowdfunding aims to not only gather financial resources towards this cause but also the knowledge and expertise that can be shared and contributed.

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What can you do to help Chocothon? Spread the word to your personal network, raising awareness and heightening understanding of the problems and solutions we’re exploring in our journey.

To learn more about the cause, read The Food Rush‘s coverage of Chocothon.

The Future of Food: Meat

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: The Future of Meat.

Meat is constantly in the middle of thorny controversies these days.

  • Cows belches contributing to global warming: check.
  • “Probably carcinogenic to humans” per the WHO: check.
  • An intensive production system that treats animals inhumanly: check.

To many, the case is big enough to make it the perfect enemy. But even for those who want to tread carefully on the debate, it’s hard to deny one very simple thing: the world consumes too much meat.

The way to convince people to eat less of it is to offer valid alternatives. In some cases, pointing at other protein sources (such as legumes and dairy) will do. For many people however, meat (and red meat in particular) is more than a source of protein, it’s an intense food experience.

In Nature’s catalogue there’s no valid plant-based substitute for that, which means someone will have to create it. Two start-ups, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are doing exactly that, without taking any shortcuts in the process.

Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: A Vegan and a Meat-Eater Walk Into a Restaurant and Order a Burger…. (No, Seriously).

 

Crowdfunding for Food: Creating Space for Successful Innovation

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Something is changing in the food and beverage industry

It’s no secret that multinationals have dominated the industrial food system for years now, but the landscape is changing, and changing fast. In the past five years alone, the top 25 food and beverage companies have lost $18 billion in market share, giving way to young companies and quick growing startups. Campbell’s Soup CEO Denise Morrison estimates that over $8 billion in VC funding has gone to over 400 start-ups since 2010. At the same time, a report from US based Rosenheim Advisors shows that the UK was among the top drivers in investment and acquisition activity in the food and technology sector.

The Food + Drink Investment Landscape

Despite all indications that there is market demand for innovation in the food and drink world, it’s still not easy to get a great idea off the ground. That is why food entrepreneurs are heading to crowdfunding sites to get started. According to NESTA, in 2015 food and drink was among the top three most crowdfunded categories in the UK, taking up a fair share of the £245 million in financing through equity-based crowdfunding for seed, start-up and early-stage financing. Despite the overall growth, food and drink start-ups are still struggling to reach funding goals through crowdfunding. According to Kickstarter, one of the leading reward-based crowdfunding platforms in the US, 75% of food projects don’t reach their fundraising goals. There’s space for growth in the F&B crowdfooding sphere.

Says Mike Lee, former Innovation Manager for Accell Foods, “The future of food belongs to entrepreneurs…Crowdfooding is a platform that’s lowering barriers by making smart connections to the funding and expertise needed for ambitious F&B startups to succeed. The food system thrives when there’s a diversity of good, new ideas in the ecosystem and Crowdfooding is a way to ensure that diversity will flourish.”

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Crowdfooding does it differently

Crowdfooding wants to make successful crowdfunding more streamlined, accessible and attractive for the bright minds behind food and beverage innovation. Crowdfooding offers a one-stop shop for food entrepreneurs to raise funds throughout the development of their ventures. As both a reward and equity-based crowdfunding platform, we aim to make it easy for companies to tap into a targeted network of supporters and investors specifically interested in advancing  food-related businesses, not just at the early stages. 

A flexible and focused platform, Crowdfooding is well aware that there are strong incentives in the UK for individual investors to invest in start-ups, but we have realised that food entrepreneurs need a lot more than just capital to grow their business. While money is great, knowledge is powerful. That’s why we make sure companies understand the dynamics of crowdfunding and come fully prepared before engaging. We support our companies throughout the development of their campaign and help them deploy plans to make crowdfunding successful by offering a bespoke service to prepare, build and roll-out their campaign. On top of this, before kicking off a campaign we require companies to run a “pre-campaign” whereby they gather interest from prospective backers to validate whether crowdfunding is a suitable option for them without risking the launch of an unprepared campaign. Like the investors attracted to our platform, we want to work with young companies to get them support, financial and know-how, to fully take advantage of crowdfunding.

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But we don’t stop there. For each equity crowdfunding opportunity, Crowdfooding is enlisting an external Investment Committee specialised in venture capital financing, business analysis, technology, consumer packaged goods and nutrition. Through this, Crowdfooding aims to bridge the knowledge gap surrounding the food and drink investment process for both financiers and entrepreneurs.

We believe food is inherently community-based, gathering people around the table to enjoy the success of a bountiful harvest and well-prepared meal. Crowdfooding wants to take that community aspect from the table to the investment realm and open up a space that will help young F&B innovators thrive. This is our community, join us now on crowdfooding.co.uk!

The Future of Food: Pizza

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: The Future of Pizza.

What’s new in pizza? The last time it made sense to ask this question was at the end of the 18th century, when people in Naples started to add tomato sauce to their flatbread, inventing pizza as we know it. After that, not much changed.

Now however, we can safely say something’s new in the pizza world, at least in the way it’s prepared and cooked, and not surprisingly the Silicon Valley has something to do with it.

3D printing, of course

How about a heart-shaped pizza with your face on it painted in cheese? That’s what 3D printer Beehex can do.

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Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: From Naples to Mars and Back: the Future of Pizza is Here.

KERB’s Petra Barran on the Street Food Revival

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Street food. What images the term conjures up probably depends on where you’ve been and what you eat. New York City tourists might think of cheap hot dogs on 5th Ave whereas Copenhagen locals might reference the uber-organized Copenhagen Street Food stalls housed in an old paper warehouse. Backpackers in Asia maybe associate street food with bugs, bellyaches and late night crepe-throwing whilst on the other side of the southern hemisphere, in Peru, anticuchos (cubed beef heart on sticks), ceviche and guinea pig on sticks are all popular on the street food scene.

It’s difficult to have a collective vision for a type of food that is defined by the mere fact it is sold in a public space by a vendor or hawker and is ready for immediate consumption, especially since street food is constantly being reinvented and reinterpreted. And even though street food is often regarded as a trend, it’s certainly not new on the foodie scene. A brief history of street food just in the UK puts eating in the streets back to Roman times, as excavations within the Square Mile area consistently turned up oyster shells, a common snack for the common people of another time. The trend of eating on the go continued, from the oft-sung about Muffin Man of Georgian London to the hawking of pea soup and hot eels to the rapidly growing group of city workers during Victorian times. It’s hard to attribute trendiness to a concept that has survived over the ages.

So what about the UK street food vision of today? Well, . A passion for food has been a constant in her life ever since she discovered a Sainsbury’s cookbook at age ten that became her early years go-to for kitchen experimentation. But her first real taste of the street food scene was inspired by visits the US where the reign of modern street food started early and started fast. Petra began her own venture, gaining years of on-the-ground training with the launch of her mobile chocolate van in 2005. From there, she was so inspired by the passionate and interesting people she met along the way, that creating a street food collective seemed like the obvious next step.

Petra opens up to Crowdfooding about her ultimate goal to get good food onto the city streets by bringing together interesting people with passion. The latest KERB project, KERB Camden, launches on Friday, August 12th and brings together a street food affair with 35 vendors open and available 7 days a week, 364 days a year. The variety of cuisine isn’t the only thing to get excited about—KERB Camden Market is also testament to what collaboration can accomplish in revitalizing city street food scenes, which have come a long way from streetside oyster shucking.

Read on for some words of wisdom from London’s very own street food pioneer, Petra Barran.

©AllThingsMeaty

Can you tell our readers about your career journey to date and how you got involved with street food in the first place?

I ran a choc-mobile, Choc Star, from 2005-2011 and drove it all over the country. Through doing festivals and markets I met loads of other great traders and realised that if we got together, got organised and pooled our talent then we could make something bigger happen than if we were all separate. eat.st was born in 2009, followed by KERB in 2012.

How did you settle on chocolate as your first street food offering?

Because I love it and I thought it would be a great tool for helping me travel Britain, have adventures and meet lots of good people.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as a mobile chocolatier?

Finding a pitch, weather, doing everything myself…the physicality of it…melting chocolate in the heat!

How has the British street food scene evolved since you first started Choc Star in 2005?

It’s another world. No longer is it a quirky lifestyle choice filled with itinerant adventurers. Now it is viewed as an alternative to starting a restaurant and a route to investment and financial gold. The scene is still populated with brilliant people but it has become more mainstream, more commercial, less ad-hoc—all important parts of the process in making it normal to find and eat great food on the streets…our original goal!

©AllThingsMeaty

How did the idea for KERB come about?

The combination of being a trader and studying urbanism at University College London fused the intrigue of food and cities and how vital they are to one another in terms of engaging and independent spaces for people to be. KERB is all about the transformation of urban space through great food and good people, the creation and development of a brilliant trader community, and the advancement of food quality on the streets.

What projects is KERB currently working on?

Over the last few months we’ve been working on our four lunchtime markets (KX, Gherkin, Paddington and West India Quay), our corporate catering arm and incubating new traders via our inKERBator scheme . Last week we did KERB’s Reggae Roast at King’s Cross which was brilliant: Caribbean street food + Reggae Roast sound system + lots of rum and dancing.

We’ve also announced our newest and largest location to date : KERB Camden Market with 35 amazing traders which opens to the public Friday, August 12th, 7 days a week, 364 days a year. We’re really excited to get started and unleash the lineup on the world!

What are the most exciting innovations and culinary offerings on London’s street food scene right now?

Steak and chips, cooked in front of you for less than £10. That’s amazing! Blu Top’s ice cream sandwiches with incredible flavour combinations. Taiwanese fried chicken in a bag from Daja Chicken. Poke Hawaiian sushi is beautiful and healthy.

©AllThingsMeaty

©AllThingsMeaty

What is the best advice you can give food entrepreneurs looking to start their own street food business?

Have a really clear understanding of WHY you want to do it and keep that as your compass as you navigate the turgid waters!

Has the street food revolution democratised good honest food or moved it further from reach?

Stage one has been to make it more available and more viable as a career move. Stage two will be when we can bring together all kinds of people to enjoy it and operate in it. It will happen!

What are the trends we are going to see in street food over the next couple of years?

More collaboration. Just as KERB is a collaboration of talented food traders and its food-loving customers, as we evolve and seek progression and longevity, we all need to connect with other organisations to continue to make great things happen.

Is it Possible to Design a Waste-Free Coffee Experience?

By | Food + Beverage Trends | One Comment

LET’S TALK WASTE. English celebrity chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from famed TV cooking series River Cottage, hates waste. In fact he has an entire show dedicated to it: Hugh’s War on Waste

PART FIVE: THE CONSEQUENCES OF COFFEE CULTURE

Click here if you missed PART ONEPART TWO, PART THREE and/or PART FOUR

 

LET’S TALK WASTE. 

English celebrity chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from famed TV cooking series River Cottage, hates waste. In fact, he has an entire show dedicated to it: Hugh’s War on Waste.
Built with the help of students from Central Saint Martins in London, Hugh’s ‘coffee cup battle bus’ aims to raise the issue of coffee waste with the public. He claims that almost 5000 coffee cups are discarded each minute, but less than 1% of these are actually recycled. He also notes that recycling specialists Simply Cups handle fewer than six million cups a year, a small number given that seven million cups are discarded daily.

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Not only do we have the problem of discarded coffee cups on our hands, but what about all the plastic and aluminium waste created by our oh-so innovative capsule-pod systems? Tom Baker from Australian cold pressed coffee liqueur company MR BLACK sums it up nicely, “I think we’ll see a reaction against waste created by capsule-pod systems like Nespresso and Keurig – 40 billion plus plastic capsules going to landfill is a problem that needs to be addressed. When we first saw these machines ten years ago we collectively thought “great, easy coffee in the morning,” now it’s more of a “what have we done.” Great time to be a coffee, not a great time to be a turtle in the pacific.”

While Nespresso and Keurig products are recyclable (the capsule) and compostable (the coffee grounds), unfortunately they cannot be tossed in the recycling bin like other aluminium products because the recyclables need to be separately treated. That is, coffee grounds have to be separated from the capsules before the aluminium can be recycled. Even if this is achieved there is still a secondary problem. Many recycling programs can’t process items as small as the capsules because they fall through the holes for weeding out debris, or jam the sorting machines.

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“In a zero waste world there is no place for disposable coffee-capsules,” says Zero Waste Europe. “If capsules are to stay it should be under the condition that the companies set up take-back systems that allow them to recover the coffee grounds to make good compost and the capsule to be reused.”

Recycling the plastic, paper and aluminium vessels that harbour our coffee is very important. But what about the coffee itself? What is being done with waste coffee grounds, or the rest of the coffee plant for that matter? Alex from London’s IKAWA Coffee Roasters notes, “Less than 5% of the coffee cherry harvested from the coffee tree is actually used when brewing coffee, so there are opportunities to repurpose the coffee ground waste.”

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“In Brighton there are a couple of businesses employing very creative techniques. Since 2011, Espresso Mushroom Company  has been collecting used coffee grounds and re-purposing them as compost to grow mushrooms with. They have developed simple grow-your-own kits, which allow the customers to watch the mushrooms come to life before their eyes. Not only does this reuse a waste product, it creates delicious mushrooms and highly nutritious compost,” he says. Another company, GroCycle, is doing a similar thing. They converted an old unused office building into an Urban Mushroom Farm in Exeter, UK. Each week, hundreds of kilos of coffee grounds are collected from city cafes and used to grow Oyster mushrooms. These mushrooms are then delivered to restaurants in South West England, and the waste from the growing cycle is turned into fertile compost for local use.

A highly innovative London-based enterprise that is tackling coffee waste is bio-bean, a clean technology company that has industrialised the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and in the near future, biochemicals. ​These​ carbon-neutral​ products can be used​ as sustainable alternatives to ​fossil fuels, replacing traditional feedstocks and helping business to save money whilst achieving their corporate social responsibility goals.

Founded by entrepreneur Arthur Kay, bio-bean focuses on collecting waste from large-scale coffee producing factories and chains in or around London. From here the waste is transported to the world’s first waste coffee recycling factory in Alconbury Weald, which processes 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds each year, one in ten cups of coffee drunk in the UK.

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The technology bio-bean is using to do this is a mixture of old and new. In an article in the Guardian, Kay explains that the process commences with drying the coffee grounds, removing any contamination (milk bottle tops, plastic spoons etc.) and later extracting their oil (via a patented technological process). “It’s a biochemical process, a solvent that you evaporate through what’s called ‘hexane extraction’. By weight it is about 15-20% oil.” The remaining 80-85% is then passed through a series of machinery in order to create a uniform product, either in the form of coffee pellets (used to heat buildings) or briquettes (used in woodburners and chimineas). The solvent is also 99.9% recyclable, meaning it can be used over and over.

Throughout 2016 the company will be conducting extensive research and development into the commercial application of biodiesel from waste coffee grounds with the ultimate goal of being able to fuel London’s public transport system.

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Kay envisions that his company will help to create a more sustainable supply chain. While many have concentrated on the first stage of the supply chain to ethically source coffee, bio-bean realises that the next step of sustainability is to close the loop and ethically dispose of it. The company is already working with big names like Caffé Nero, Leon, Department of Coffee, Gail’s, Cru Cafe, McDonalds, Costa, Network Rail and many others.

Independent coffee shops are also able to sign up to the program if they are located anywhere inside the M25 and increasingly further afield. Depending on the volumes that a coffee shop produces bio-bean will advise whether a bagged kerbside collection or bin collection is more suitable.

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Another way to combat waste is to start using other parts of the coffee plant, not just the coffee beans. There has been experimentation in this area with ‘cascara,’ the dried skins of coffee cherries. Normally coffee cherries are considered a by-product of the coffee-making process and are discarded as waste. Now these cherries are being reused to produce a unique drink of their own, which lies at the intersection between tea and coffee. Cascara is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry and red current. Andrew Tolley from Taylor Street Baristas says, “Cascara has potential but it will need to be a tasty product in itself and not just a novelty. We have served cascara lemonade and cascara ginger spritzes in the past and they have been well received.”

The coffee cherry is also being used for another agricultural innovation: coffee flour. The Seattle based startup CoffeeFlour is collecting coffee fruit, milling it and turning it into flavourful, gluten-free flour. CoffeeFlour is currently in production across three continents, specifically operating in Hawaaii, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam. Coffee flour is high in fibre and is a good source of potassium, but like Cascara it doesn’t taste like coffee, instead it expresses more floral, citrus or roasted fruit-type notes and it is great for baking.

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So, for all you coffee enthusiasts and professionals out there, try thinking about how you can deliver a more sustainable and waste-free coffee experience. For coffee shop owners, maybe you could start offering Frank Green cups for purchase in your cafés or delicious baked goods using coffee flour? For home consumers, look into purchasing an espresso mushroom kit and if you own a capsule-pod coffee machine make sure you find out how to recycle those pods properly!

To conclude…

Coffee is a remarkable product that has seen a lot of innovation of late. From a very strong trend towards specialty coffee, roasted in a way where the characteristics of the beans shine through, through to coffee after dark and advancements in home and retail cold brew technology, the future of coffee is definitely exciting.

If you haven’t already done so, comment in the box below and tell us what you think the future of coffee will look like!

The Tech That is Shaking Up the Coffee Sector

By | Food + Beverage Trends | One Comment

LET’S TALK COFFEE TECH. IKAWA Coffee Roasters in London use innovative technology to allow Home and Pro users to create, share and repeat, precise roast profiles, leading to a better experience for coffee professionals, traders, producers and drinkers, and are designed to allow them to get the best from their coffee.

PART FOUR: THE COFFEE CONSUMPTION PROCESS

Click here if you missed PART ONEPART TWO and/or PART THREE

 

LET’S TALK COFFEE TECH.

IKAWA coffee roasters in London use innovative technology to allow Home and Pro users to create, share and repeat, precise roast profiles, leading to a better experience for coffee professionals, traders, producers and drinkers, and are designed to allow them to get the best from their coffee.

The company has launched two products – The IKAWA Pro Sample Roaster (in 2014) for coffee professionals and the IKAWA Home Roaster for hard core coffee nerds.

The Pro Sample roaster is used by coffee traders, speciality roasters and multinational coffee companies as a business tool for sample roasting. Priced at £2,200 it is a considerable investment, but compares favourably to alternatives on the market. What is even more exciting is the IKAWA Home Roaster that is due to launch later this year following a crowdfunding campaign that raised over £150k in May 2015.

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“We see the IKAWA Home Roaster as the next major advancement in coffee connoisseurship: However you like your coffee whether it’s a dark or light roast, or brewed by AeroPress or cafetière, it comes from ‘green’ unroasted coffee beans. To get the perfect coffee you need the best green beans and the ideal roast recipe tailored to those beans,” says Alex Georgiou, Marketing Manager at IKAWA.

Creating and adjusting recipes can be achieved using the accompanying roaster app, which allows the user to change roast duration, temperature and even the airflow. The app works via Bluetooth, and during the roast, it displays realtime data showing how the actual temperature is following the set profile.

“It has taken us years to develop the app, and also the firmware that sits inside the roaster, and the costs are significant, however the great thing about the app is that even once a customer has purchased the roaster, we are able to make improvements to the roasting system through app updates and firmware updates. The app also helps facilitate the sharing dimensions, ability to send a roast profile to another user, so as well as IKAWA providing recommended roast profiles to our home customers, we can’t wait to see what our customers create,” concludes Alex.

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Whilst the domestic market is seeing a massive surge in home brewing and home roasting technology, what about technologies happening on the retail side? “Retail is changing, and the way that cafes take orders, payments and loyalty programs will need to change with it. Companies like Grind & Co are on the front-foot with their own app and Apple Pay integrations, but there’s a shake-up coming to the sector,” says cold pressed coffee liqueur specialist, Tom Baker from MR BLACK.

Developed in secret for over a year, the Grind App allows you to skip the queue, ordering and paying ahead for coffee and food across London. With the Grind App, you simply select a Grind, choose your drink and customise your order, with all your favourite orders saved for next time. The customer can pay by credit card, debit card or Apple Pay, and then head to their local Grind café for collection.

Another huge innovation is with digital payment technology, and companies like eWay, PayPal Here and Square are at the forefront of the mobile payment space.

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Saxon Wright, the owner of Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee Roasters in Australia, is about to show off this new type of payment technology by opening Pablo & Rusty’s cashless café in Brisbane.
Cash is a clunking old school way of engaging with a daily process,” he says. “I think all cafes will become cashless, it’s just a question of when. We see ourselves at the forefront of the industry,” says Saxon.

Pablo & Rusty’s cashless cafe is using the Commonwealth Bank’s Kounta on Albert payment system, which enables businesses to use a single device to both take payments and access front-end point of sale and back-end processing systems.

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Saxon anticipates most customers will pay using their card or phone but Pablo & Rusty’s will also offer the option of payment using Frank Green smart cups. 

The Frank Green reusable takeaway cup is a compact thermoplastic cylinder in a range of colour combinations with a button in the middle of the lid that pops it open for drinking. Hidden in the button is a chip that connects to the app, CafePay, so you can pay for your coffee with the cup. The cup and the app are the work of Ben Young, a former mergers and acquisitions man who has been working on the project since 2011. Frank Green aims to change the way people think about reusable products. The company aims to motivate people to live more sustainably and reduce unnecessary waste.

So, readers… does anyone own a Frank Green cup? What do you think of the cashless café concept? Are there other innovative mobile payment devices out there that cafés should be using?

 

Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s final episode where we examine the consequences of coffee culture: Waste.

The Future of Coffee is Going to be Cold

By | Food + Beverage Trends | 5 Comments

LET’S TALK COLD BREW. In the last couple of years, the light has started to shine on cold coffee drinks, and for many coffee connoisseurs things are just getting started.

PART THREE: WHAT ARE PEOPLE DRINKING

Click here if you missed PART ONE and/or PART TWO

 

LET’S TALK COLD BREW.

In the last couple of years, the light has started to shine on cold coffee drinks, and for many coffee connoisseurs things are just getting started.

In the US there’s a trend on the rise: Cold Brew Throwdowns, started by Sumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. It’s where roasters, brewers and baristas gather to show off innovative drinks with cold brew coffee as the base ingredient: date coffee shakes, hopped cold brew, cold brew sodas, and draft lattes — an iced latte with textured milk and cold brewed coffee served from a tap.

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Cold brewed coffee is like iced coffee’s cooler sibling. The main difference between cold brew and iced coffee involves temperature. That is, cold brew is brewed cold and never heated, while iced coffee is traditional coffee that is then cooled down. One of the reasons why cold brew coffee is having its moment in the spotlight is due to lower acidity levels. Food52, a growing and respected New York food community, explain, “The grounds aren’t subjected to the intense heat of boiling water, making the chemical profile of the final brew different than that of conventionally brewed or drip coffee. Lower acidity creates a smoother cup that’s mellow on the stomach”.

“Cold brewed coffee is, quite simply, an exceptionally tasty and healthy way to have your coffee,” says Tom Baker of MR BLACK, the innovative cold-pressed coffee liqueur company from Australia that we learned about in PART TWO on April 12th. “If you look to markets like California – relative latecomers to specialty coffee – cold brew is the norm over there. Tap, keg, pump, bottle, nitro, you name it. If you go to a farmers market in the Bay Area, you’re drinking a local cold brew and almond milk, not a flat white like in the antipodes.”

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People are finding new and better ways to brew coffee without heat, and it’s exciting. “Up until recently, most cold brew was made using vintage Japanese and Korean technology,” says Tom.
A Japanese company called Oji manufactures original water dripper technology that looks like a Harry Potter style hourglass (five glass globes and connecting filter and pot) to help create softer and clearer brews. It is very popular with speciality coffee brands like Blue Bottle Coffee who use the technology at their Brooklyn café drip bar. In this cold drip process, the water is distributed evenly as it absorbs the core elements of the coffee beans, passing through a cloth-covered metal disk on the top and bottom of the filter, and dripping the remains into the bottom vessel. It takes about 8-12 hours to produce a full pot.

“Unsurprisingly, a number of companies are creating their own spin on cold brew extraction like Bruer for the home and Filtron for the high-volume outlets,” adds Tom. The clean and attractive borosilicate carafe that is Bruer, is reminiscent of the classic Chemex coffee maker, and allows customers to make cold brewed coffee via the cold drip technique. Water is dripped onto the grounds at an extremely slow rate — between three and 12 hours for five cups of coffee. Whilst cold drip technology is often expensive and designed for coffee professionals, the California company’s $50 carafe is a more attractive option for the domestic market.

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There is increasing innovation both at the home and retail levels, especially with larger scale operators like Stumptown Coffee Roasters, who Tom highlights as one of the most exciting players that “now produce insane amounts of cold-brew weekly.” Stumptown has a cold brew facility in Brooklyn, but the bulk of the operation takes place at the company’s facility in Portland’s industrial Southeast neighbourhood. The 8,000-square-foot cold brew factory has twelve full-time employees working the grinding, brewing, and bottling to pump out ​stubbies, kegs, growlers and nitro cans. They use the highest quality coffee, cold brew it without heat for over 12 hours, then use a double filtration process to procure the end result: a complex, smooth and full-bodied brew with low-acid and a chocolate finish.

Tom has been testing rapid infusion methods using pressure, agitation and ultrasonic stimulation to decrease extraction times, yields, flavour and texture. He comments, “Filtration – or lack thereof in our case – is the most pivotal step in cold-brew production, so we’re always trialling new ways of separating solid from liquid without stripping flavour. It’s an exciting space that has more in common with winemaking than traditional coffee skills.”

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The coffee community is now starting to learn more from these other beverage sectors (wine and beer) especially when it comes to equipment, mixing methods, an attitude towards blending and technology.  “Today great coffee bars do not open without draft systems now,” says Dianne Aylsworth, director of cold brew at Stumptown. It is predicted that this trend will grow in the coming year. Remember when bars only had three to four tap handles of beer, and now they all have about ten? Well with innovation in cold brew and other drinks, the draft offerings in cafes will likely follow suit.

We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on where the cold brew movement is heading? Has anyone ever tried a draft latte or nitro cold brew? Tell us about your experiences!

 

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article where we look at the converging realms of coffee and technology: home roasting, specialty apps and payment technology.

 

The Miracle of Coffee Shouldn’t Stop at 4pm

By | Food + Beverage Trends | 5 Comments

Coffee is a miracle of nature right? A Maillard reaction and amino acid filled, nutty, fruity, bitter and complex miracle of nature. Coffee has been responsible for wars, for the renaissance, it’s the largest traded commodity after oil. Coffee rocks right? And every day people worship at the altar of coffee right up until about 4pm. We think the miracle of coffee shouldn’t stop at 4pm, so we made a drink to keep the party going after dark.<\p>

PART TWO: SOCIAL PRACTICES CONCERNING COFFEE

Click here if you missed PART ONE

 

LET’S TALK COFFEE AFTER DARK. 

“Coffee is a miracle of nature right? A Maillard reaction and amino acid filled, nutty, fruity, bitter and complex miracle of nature. Coffee has been responsible for wars, for the renaissance, it’s the largest traded commodity after oil. Coffee rocks right? And every day people worship at the altar of coffee right up until about 4pm. We think the miracle of coffee shouldn’t stop at 4pm, so we made a drink to keep the party going after dark.”

These are the fine words of Tom Baker, co-founder of MR BLACK, a coffee roaster and craft distiller in Australia that makes cold press coffee liqueur. Established in 2012 by Tom (who was previously a product development designer for big liqueur companies) and Philip Moore, one of Australia’s highest awarded distillers (of Distillery Botanica in Erina, New South Wales), the company is taking good coffee into the evening.

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It took nine months of experimentation and earnest hard work to develop MR BLACK, and winning a gold medal at London’s 2012 International Wine and Spirits Fair certainly validated their efforts. After the success of their crowdfunding campaign (where they nearly tripled their fundraising goal) to secure the capital necessary to produce their first batch, production has increased and the drink is being sold around Australia to coffee-loving drinkers, pubs, restaurants and boozy-coffee shops. It is also now available in the UK. “We go where the coffee’s good and the drinks are flowing, so London was an obvious next-stop. Plus I’m partial to a pint of ale so that sealed it for us,” says Tom.

Australian Central Coast roaster Glee Coffee supplies the beans, of which there are close to 30 kilograms in each batch of 250 bottles. The final drop is made up of three bean types including Brazilian Arabica for their fresh coffee flavour, Ethiopian Djimmah for their fruit, chocolate and toffee notes, and Papa New Guinean beans for their citrus orange marmalade character.

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MR BLACK tastes great neat on the rocks or shaken with ice and vodka to make an excellent espresso martini, a drink that is becoming increasingly popular with the social coffee crowds. People love catching up with friends over a good coffee-laden beverage, but the problem is, many cafes aren’t open at night, so people catch up at a bar and have a coffee cocktail instead.

Tom sees this as a great opportunity to be exploited. “Cafés pay rent 24 hours a day, but only sell coffee for eight of those hours, and that’s a problem that’s there to be fixed,” he says.

“Operators like Shoreditch Grind in London, Winstons in Hong Kong have shown that there’s a great bar-program waiting to be unleashed – and money to be made – in many coffee shops. We’ve got a vested interest in this happening selling booze and all – but it’s money waiting to be made for cafes,” he adds.

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As more consumers continue to devour coffee-laden alcoholic drinks and cultivate a new genre of coffee expression, perhaps changing the culture of coffee shops to keep them going after dark makes sense. Maybe coffee shops are the new pub.

The first Grind cafe, Shoreditch Grind has sat on Old Street Roundabout since 2011. Today it serves coffee, food and cocktails up to 18 hours a day. Being open all day may definitely result in increased revenue, considering the additional food and beverages that can be sold over an 18-hour time frame, but what about expenses: Labour? Rent? Ingredient costs? Overheads?

We want to hear your thoughts. Do you think there is money to be made in coffee after dark?

 

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s piece where we will be looking at future coffee styles. Heads up, they are going to be cold.

Attention all Coffee Lovers… Read this!

By | Food + Beverage Trends | 5 Comments

LET’S TALK COFFEE. 

In honour of the London Coffee Festival, Crowdfooding has decided to curate a week-long coffee blog series. Each day we will release a new post that focuses on a particular aspect of coffee culture and share some insights from a handful of coffee experts. We encourage our readers to get involved in the discussion and share the content across social media.

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PART ONE: THE POWER OF PROVENANCE 

Coffee is simply wonderful. It has become a cultural icon and staple daily beverage that has fluctuated as a status symbol over time. From its heyday as a drink of the 18th-century European elite, to its rise as an on-the-go essential on the high street, and as an Instagram accessory for a new wave of millennials, coffee is not just a global trend, it’s a way of life. There is nothing like discovering a chic new café in town serving specialty single origins, or flirting with that cute barista who puts hearts in your macchiato, or snapping up that #latteart on Instagram.

A maturing scene of coffee drinkers has meant more options, and thus more opportunities to demonstrate taste, discernment and aesthetic. In New York City for example, the number of independent coffee shops now surpasses the number of locations run by the city’s two dominant chains, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. This trend has been fuelled thanks to a higher number of younger coffee drinkers, and the rise of an artisanal coffee movement where people are more willing to pay a premium price for expertly crafted specialty coffee.

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Specialty coffee is a multicultural, transoceanic, culinary work-in-progress. By the time you cradle this liquid gold in the palm of your hands first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, it has already passed through the hands of many others across the world. Leathery, sun-bleached hands in subtropical Africa and tropical Asia, that have carefully picked the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant, sorted them, processed them and dried them; Tough and calloused hands that have bagged the dried green beans and shipped them; Firm and strong hands that have roasted the beans, bringing out their unique flavour profiles; Sturdy and artful hands that have ground them and fashioned your coffee.

When it comes to this delightful beverage, we often find ourselves wondering: What’s next? Each season, we wait with bated breath to see the latest coffee tech that is being used, the coolest new brew style that is being flaunted by baristas, and the next popular hashtag on Instagram #draftlatte? But really, we want to know what the next major trend will be now.

Over the next week, with the help of coffee experts, Crowdfooding will explore some of the up and coming trends in the coffee world.

 

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LET’S TALK COFFEE ORIGINS. 

For many the next big thing in coffee has a lot to do with promoting the differences between coffee origins (the different geographical areas from where green coffee beans come from), and what high quality coffee actually is. For Andrew Tolley, co-founder of Taylor Street Baristas, this is his primary focus.

Taylor Street Baristas is a pioneering coffee brand founded by Australian siblings (Andrew, Laura and Nick) back in 2006 in London. The Tolleys operate nine quality-focused specialty coffee bars in the city, as well as a multi-level cafe in Manhattan, located on Madison Avenue between 40th and 41st.

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The principal focus at each of their coffee bars is on making the subtleties of coffee origins easier to understand for every customer. To do this, Taylor Street Baristas categorises coffee into three main flavour profiles, and curates a menu of origins based on these tastes. “The flavour profiles are Classic, Delicate and Wild. Classic generally consists of coffees that taste like a classic coffee, they have low acidity, chocolate and nut flavours. They are what people generally consider coffee to taste like. Our delicate profile is made up of highly complex coffees with gentle acidity, caramel and delicate berry/fruit notes. The delicate profile is for people who like pinot noir or highland malts – complex, and interesting without being wild. The wild flavour profile is made up of coffees that don’t taste like coffee, in the classic sense. They are floral, high acidity, big fruity coffees. If you know your coffees, this is where you find the Ethiopian coffees, the natural processed coffees and the champagne of the coffee world – Kenyan coffees. My dream is for people to be able to buy and consistently brew coffees that taste like where they are from, and to be excited about the origin and provenance of coffees, which yield truly complex and varied flavours,” says Andrew.

In their Manhattan store, Taylor Street Baristas is collaborating with Counter Culture Coffee who is known for their quality, range of coffees, sourcing and ethics. At the café they offer two different coffee options for espresso, such as the Apollo blend, which is composed of washed Ethiopian coffees with floral, citrusy and bright notes. They also select interesting seasonal coffees to reflect the flavours of multiple origins.

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Alex Georgiou, Marketing Manager at London based IKAWA, inventors of the world’s first digital micro coffee roasters, says not only will greater emphasis be placed on physical traceability and origin characteristics, but we will start to see coffee professionals build stronger direct trading relationships with producers. IKAWA aims to curate an alternative supply chain where coffee producers get a larger slice of the value, and supply coffee drinkers with green, unroasted beans. “The ultimate aim of IKAWA is that one day coffee producers will be able to sell their green coffee beans direct to consumers, along with their own recommended roast recipes. This is a new dimension to direct trade; where the producers are the experts and the provenance and unique characteristics of their coffee can shine through,” says Alex.

Using direct trade has enabled companies to bring diverse speciality coffees to new markets. Not only are these coffees being showcased in cafés, but they can also be enjoyed at home thanks to a rise in the coffee subscription model, which allows home coffee drinkers to discover unique origins from across the globe. UK-based Pact Coffee is one company using a subscription model for this very purpose. Pact Coffee sources coffee beans from growers in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala, and then roasts them in-house at their London HQ based in Bermondsey. Coffees are ground and packed within seven days of roasting and then sent to customers’ doors in a letterbox friendly package.

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Taylor Street Baristas has also launched its own coffee subscription business – Taylor Street Delivered – where customers can select coffee by flavour profile and choose how much they want delivered and how often. The benefit of this kind of model is that it allows customers to try new styles of coffee and learn more about origins, premium blends and micro-lot coffee, that is, coffee that comes from a single farm, often worked by a single farmer who produces high quality beans that have an 85+ cupping score.  These coffees are usually only available in small amounts (from 5 to 100 bags), and are independently picked or processed to have a special character. These coffees are justifiably more expensive because of their unique flavour profiles and known traceability.

As part of their subscription service, Taylor Street curates and freshly roasts a selection of coffees specifically for the user, so they’ll be in peak brewing condition by the time they land at the customer’s door. The service is customisable, so if “you are having a dinner party, you can easily get your subscription coffee early,” says Andrew.

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Our suggestion: Try a new origin at your local café or get down to a public tasting event to experience, compare, and discuss a wide variety of coffees and their fascinating characteristics.

What is the best single-origin you have tried? Does anyone use a subscription coffee service? If so, how is it going? We want to hear from you!

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s piece where we will discover coffee after dark.

 

Rethinking Protein with Institute for the Future

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On Wednesday the 2nd of March the Crowdfooding launch party took place at L’Anima Café in London. It brought an interesting mix of individuals together who orbit the food, finance and start-up realms. As part of the celebrations we heard from speakers: Guy Routledge (The Food Rush), Sara Roversi (The Future Food Institute) and Rebecca Chesney (Institute for the Future).

For those of you who were unable to attend we’d like to take a moment to share with you some insights from Rebecca’s speech on Foresight for the Future of Food.

Based in Palo Alto California, Institute for the Future is a non-profit research centre that specializes in long-term forecasting, and quantitative futures research methods. One of their current initiatives is the Food Futures Lab, which identifies and catalyses the innovations that have the potential to reinvent our global food system. The lab seeks to understand the motivations, drivers, and impacts of food innovation, and to align the minds and resources shaping the future of food.

Rebecca Chesney IFTF Press Conference Bologna

As part of their 2013 research agenda, IFTF undertook a yearlong exploration into the ways that emerging technologies and sciences are reshaping the global food web. They explored how several core strategies radically transformed, and continue to shape, our food system across five sectors: Production, Distribution, Manufacturing, Shopping and Eating. They created Seeds of Disruption: How Technology is Remaking the Future of Food, a forecast map and set of four perspectives and Artifacts from the Future, to tell the story of how emerging information technology will reshape every step of the food system.

A fascinating finding was in the realm of production and how resource hungry agriculture will shift to low-impact alternatives. “This will be particularly true when it comes to the balance between rural and urban land.  And protein. Protein’s going to be a big deal,” claimed Rebecca.

protein

When it comes to eating meat, people have very different opinions based on their attitudes towards sustainability and animal welfare, but also because of personal social, economic and cultural values. Looking out over the next decade, we are coming up against limits in how we produce and consume animal protein.

“Some advocate that we must reduce our consumption of meat at a social level, through a combination of education and policy change. Others take a technological approach and ask if cultured (lab grown) meat could fix the resource shortages and greenhouse gas emissions of today’s cattle yards,” she said.

Let’s examine this image of a futuristic butcher shop. From afar, it looks like today’s normal selection of meat. But as you start to read the labels you’ll see they are claiming unfamiliar things…. Roadkill? In vitro-lab grown?

Future of Protein IFTF Butcher Counter

“Ethically speaking, we should all be eating roadkill,” claims Modern Farmer. “The animal was not raised for meat, it was not killed for meat; it is just simply and accidentally meat — manna from minivans.” Although there are definitely legal complications and psychological hurdles to jump over, roadkill is a largely sustainable source of protein. According to the article, not eating it is wasteful. If even 1/3 of the deer killed on US roads were salvaged; there would be 20 million pounds of venison available for consumption.

Lab grown or cultured meat has taken off since the debut of the worlds first lab grown hamburger. Proponents of the idea, including Dr. Mark Post, the Dutch researcher who created the hamburger at the University of Maastricht, say that lab-made meat could provide high-quality protein for the world’s growing population while avoiding most of the environmental and animal-welfare issues related to conventional livestock production.

Posts’ hamburger was produced using stem cells — basic cells that can turn into tissue-specific cells — from cow shoulder muscle. The cells were multiplied in a nutrient solution and put into small petri dishes, where they became muscle cells and formed tiny strips of muscle fibre. About 20,000 strips were used to make the five-ounce burger.

InVitro Lab Grown Meat Alternative Protein

Lab grown meat provokes extreme reactions on both sides. Although it may be more environmentally friendly and sustainable, can we really consider cultured meat “real” food? In our opinion, the debate between what is natural and real will continue to swelter with time.

There are already a number of companies out there who are challenging what constitutes as meat, and are redeveloping meat-like products with plant protein. One such company is Beyond Meat whose mission is to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein. They believe that “replacing animal protein with meat made from plants would do wonders for human health, for the environment, for conservation of natural resources and for animals.” Their products include fake burgers, sliders, chicken strips and meatballs. The New York Times suggested that “a revolution is unfolding in the food world, resulting in the first alternatives to meat that taste like the real thing.”

Hampton Creek Just Mayo Alternative Protein

Another company that is doing unbelievable things with plant protein is Hampton Creek. The company is in the process of cultivating a database of plant species to see what flora can be used as protein alternatives. Mayo was the company’s starting point, and they have launched an incredibly successful product called ‘Just Mayo’, an egg-free dressing that uses the Canadian Yellow Pea No. 9 species as its protein substitute/emulsifier. Other main ingredients include non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil, filtered water, lemon juice and white vinegar. The company has also launched ‘Just Cookies’ – a dairy and egg free ready-to-bake cookie dough, which has been equally successful.

Rebecca concluded, “concepts such as carbon footprints and food miles, humane treatment of animals, ecosystems management, and waste reduction are all big concerns for eaters today. However, as our ability to take all of these to the extreme increases, we’ll see the tradeoffs and choices become more dramatic, creating diverse new sustainability standards.” While eating roadkill and plant-based protein may be fringe behaviours today, in a decade or less, they could become commonplace.

 

 

 

Where Food Meets Capital: Welcome to Crowdfooding

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Starting a food business is one the most exciting endeavors a human being can embark on.

Food is such an intimate and subjective thing that the thought of creating a product that everyone will like and appreciate is daunting for many. On the other hand technology has significantly lowered the barriers to entering this industry and these days food entrepreneurs are reshaping what we’ll eat in the foreseeable future. Plant-based burgers, high-protein content algae and even insects are some of the new products that have started hitting our tables.

While this is all very exciting, access to capital for these companies is somewhat limited and the reason is pretty simple. It’s hard for investors or anyone interested in financing such business to understand the dynamics of these enterprises, unless they have been exposed to this industry before.

Although investing in food is becoming increasingly popular and investors are more willing to contribute to this growing sphere, there is still a wide knowledge gap among financiers who are investing in food businesses.  It’s important to highlight that besides access to capital most early-stage food startups require lots of connections within the industry for them to thrive. Engaging early on with thought leaders allows founders to deeply grasp food market dynamics and helps steer them in the right direction with the development of their ventures.

With Crowdfooding we want to bridge this knowledge gap by connecting food and beverage entrepreneurs with the most relevant investors. We believe London is the perfect place to begin our mission of broadening access to capital for culinary entrepreneurs by combining its vibrant food scene with today’s new financial technologies.

Please bear in mind that although there are many benefits associated with investing in food and beverage start-ups, there are also a number of risks including illiquidity (the inability to sell assets quickly or without substantial loss in value), lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Your capital is at risk if you invest.