NotCo, a foodtech backed by Bezos, receives huge investment
Plant-based foodtech company NotCo, has received an investment from Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI) and expects to hit $1 billion valuation by the end of the year.
NotCo aims “to take animals out of food production while never, ever compromising on taste”. The company uses plants to replicate animal-based products and make them taste bette, without the carbon footprint. NotCo is backed by Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
Enlightened Hospitality Investments is a growth fund, made up of entrepreneurs, operators and investors.
Plant-based food popularity used as an opportunity for NotCo
Chile-based NotCo, operates in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, will use the most recent investment to expand into the U.S. foodservice market - where plant based food is raging in popularity.
Over $2b was raised by U.S. plant-based meat, egg and dairy companies in 2020, three times the amount from 2019, says the Good Food Institute.
More consumers are including plant-based foods to their diets in a bid to be conscious about their health and environment, which has led restaurant chains, retailers and food manufacturers to expand their menus or launch their own versions of faux meat or dairy.
Plant-based milk backed by Jeff Bezos
NotCo is sold in Whole Foods across the United States, but not on its parent company Amazon, despite receiving support from founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos set up the Earth Fund in 2020, valued at $10b, to help protect the planet and people from the effects of climate change. Plant-based milk is one sustainable route everyone can take.
“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share”, Bezos said on Instagram.
SokoFresh's cold storage units will stop food waste in Kenya
A foodtech company in Kenya is using solar energy to help smallholder farmers keep harvested produce cool to prevent food waste.
SokoFresh is a member of The Circulars Accelerator, an initiative to help entrepreneurs scale innovations that will help the world move towards a circular economy – in which waste is eliminated and resources are used again and again.
New cold storage units to prevent food waste
Small-volume farmers who grow avocados, mangos and French beans in Kenya, are helping to test the model from SokoFresh, which manages mobile cold storage units, that run on 100% solar energy.
By paying a small amount (1 Kenyan shilling) per kilogram on a pay-as-you-go basis, farmers or produce buyers can affordably access cold storage, when they need it.
SokoFresh plans for 400 cold storage units, in five years, to boost income for 35,000 farmers.
Cold storage units will support Kenya’s farmers
About 90% of Kenya’s agricultural produce comes from smallholders, who don’t have the kind of cold storage solutions available to large-scale producers. This means lots of produce perishes in outside temperatures after being harvested.
“More than 30% of all food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted”, said a representative from SokoFresh says. “Food loss in Africa occurs almost entirely in the production and distribution stages.”
Farmers using the model can earn up to 50% more on their harvest, while buyers receive more and better quality produce.
The cost of logistics is also reduced, because trucks are picking up full loads that have been stored in the cold storage units by multiple farmers.
Enviu, the Netherlands-based impact venture organization behind SokoFresh, hopes to have a network of 400 cold storage units in the next five years. This would help 35,000 farmers, creating 3,000 new jobs in rural areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Sokofresh supports UN Sustainable Goal 12
Around 14% of food is lost after harvest on farms and at the transport, storage, processing and wholesale stages, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This food has a value of more than $400b a year.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres last year described food loss and waste as an “ethical outrage.”
By 2030, UN member states have pledged to halve food waste and reduce food loss as part of Sustainable Development Goal 12.
SokoFresh is a part of the solution to food security and ending food waste.