Foodtech Junkies is a deep dive podcast series for anyone who is passionate about food and ag innovation. Every week we take a 360-degree view of the latest developments and pick the brains of entrepreneurs, investors, chefs, authors, experts, advocates, visionaries, and troublemakers. These are the people paving the way for positive disruptions in our global food chain. Join us for laid-back, thought-provoking conversations about trends, investments, solutions, and our common good.
Food Waste Warriors: Andrew Shakman's Quest for a Sustainable Future
33:58For over a decade, Andrew Shakman has been a leading figure in the battle to reduce food waste in the food service sector. As the founder and CEO of Leanpath, he has dedicated himself to creating innovative solutions that bring about a positive impact on our planet and businesses alike. Throughout this episode, we'll delve into the fascinating world of food waste prevention, exploring the incredible measures Andrew and his team have taken to tackle this pressing global issue. We'll gain insights into the current state of food waste on a global scale and the far-reaching consequences it has on our climate and environment. From restaurants to large-scale food suppliers, the food service industry is no stranger to the challenges posed by food waste. Andrew will share with us how his company has been working tirelessly to implement sustainable practices that not only save resources but also improve businesses' bottom lines. But Andrew's journey doesn't stop there! We'll get an exclusive look into the invaluable lessons he's learned during his mission to curb food waste and how these experiences have shaped his innovative strategies for a greener future. Moreover, we'll uncover the inspiring ways Andrew is driving change beyond the everyday work of his company. Through education and outreach initiatives, he's empowering individuals and businesses to take a stand against food waste and make a positive impact in their communities. So, join us as we embark on an enlightening conversation with Andrew Shakman, learning from his wealth of expertise and discovering the transformative power of his dedication to a more sustainable world. About Andrew Shakman LeanPath President and CEO Andrew Shakman co-founded the company to help the foodservice industry address food waste. In 2012, Shakman was named one of FoodService Director Magazine’s “Most Influential” in the foodservice industry. Previously, Shakman was president and CEO of Nine Dots, a technology firm that serves food clients including Nestle, Quaker Oats, Dole Food Company and Molson Canada. He speaks frequently on food waste management. Shakman is co-inventor of US Patent #7,415,375, “Systems & Methods for Food Waste Monitoring.” He served on the technical advisory committee for the development of Green Seal’s GS-46 Standard for Green Foodservice & Restaurant Operations. He is a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Association of Healthcare Foodservice. Shakman has a bachelor of arts from Stanford University and a master's in fine arts from the University of Southern California. About Leanpath Leanpath is the global leader and pioneer in food waste measurement and prevention, transforming kitchen culture to one where food waste, its cost, and its environmental impact are understood and prevented. Since 2014 alone, in 38 countries with over 2,500 deployments, Leanpath, together with foodservice teams around the world, have prevented over 50 million pounds /// 23 million kilos of food waste–an average 50% reduction per site. Our clients typically see 5-15X ROI and cut food purchases by 2-8 percent.
Sustainability in Focus: Exploring Energy, Agriculture, and Circular Solutions with Nicola Tagliaferro
38:01Today, we have a very special guest joining us, Nicola Tagliaferro an extraordinary individual, deeply committed to driving positive change in the world. As the head of Sustainability for EnelX and responsible for Worldwide Strategies, Circular Economy Portfolio acceleration, and Environmental Solution Development, Nicola's expertise lies at the intersection of energy, circularity and sustainability. Throughout his remarkable career, Nicola has dedicated himself to identifying and implementing groundbreaking solutions that foster environmental conservation and create a more sustainable future for all of us. With his extensive knowledge and passion for sustainability, Nicola has become a leading voice in the field, inspiring individuals, and organizations alike to take meaningful action. In today's episode, we dive deep into the profound impact that energy and agriculture have on our planet. Nicola sheds light on the interconnectedness of these two critical sectors and explores how their practices influence our environment, ecosystems, and climate. But it doesn't stop there. Nicola shares with us his wealth of knowledge and experience in developing innovative solutions that can steer us towards a more sustainable path. From cutting-edge technologies to circular economy strategies, his insights will leave you inspired and hopeful for a greener future. About Nicola Tagliaferro Nicola Tagliafierro Head of Sustainability for Enel X. In this role, he is responsible for Sustainability Worldwide Strategies, Circular Economy Portfolio Acceleration and Environmental Solution Development. He is the first Italian to be accepted, thanks to his strong commitment to Sustainability and Circular Economy innovative research, at the prestigious Aspen Institute USA within the First Movers Program. In 2000 he graduated in Economics and Business Management in Naples (Italy) with a master’s degree in Energy in 2003. He started his experience in London where he lived for 4 years working in corporate finance for American company Utility Corp United and energy forecasting for Mott McDonald Group. In 2004 he joined Eni Group where he oversaw different roles devoted to launching the power business (EniPower) to the Strategy and Panning for the entire Gas & Power global division. He joined Enel Group at the end of 2010 working in the Global Trading unit where he was in charge of Energy Trading with a focus on long-term renewable contracts. He is also the founder of an innovative start-up (Ecosost.it), winner of several acknowledgments (Wind Green Award, Timwithyouwedo and Lazio Innova best start-up) which aims to create a green product and services marketplace with a focus on sustainable communities and gamification mechanisms. Nicola is also the Author of the book Circular Economy Manager. About EnelX Enel X is the largest provider of demand response worldwide and products and services aimed at energy transformation at home, city, and industrial levels. By applying solutions resulting from the digital transformation to the energy sector, Enel X is dedicated to the fields of electric public transport, smart homes, and smart cities, intelligent public lighting, integration of renewables, and energy efficiency for businesses and public administrations. Its offer includes services and products for the Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer, and Business-to-Government segments.
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Navigating Growth: Insights from Europe's Scale Up Scene with Narjis Chakir
52:15Join us in this episode as we dive into the world of Agtech and Foodtech with Narjis, the dynamic leader of the EIT Food RisingFoodStars program in Europe. As an advocate for transformative change in the agrifood industry, Narjis is on a mission to create an inclusive future of food. With a wealth of experience in food and innovation, Narjis understands the power of meaningful connections and collaboration. In her role, she brings together a network of over 50 aspiring scale-ups in the Agtech and Foodtech spaces across Europe, fostering opportunities for startups, investors, corporates, universities, research centers, and public institutions to work together towards a common goal. Narjis holds an engineering degree and an MBA with a major in innovation and entrepreneurship, and she has worked in various marketing and innovation roles in leading agrifood FMCGs. Her expertise and passion for systemic impact drive her to reshape the future of our food system. In this episode, Narjis shares insights into the challenges and opportunities within the Agtech and Foodtech sectors, the importance of collaboration in scaling impact, and the role of innovation in driving meaningful change. Prepare to be inspired as we explore the incredible potential for innovation and growth in the European agrifood industry. Tune in to this episode to gain valuable knowledge and learn about the visionary work of Narjis as she leads the charge in creating a more sustainable, inclusive, and forward-thinking future of food. About Narjis Chakir Narjis is leading the EIT Food RisingFoodStars programme, a network of 50+ aspiring scale-ups across Europe's Agtech and Foodtech spaces. As an advocate for transformative change in the agrifood industry, she is driven by a mission to create an inclusive future of food. With a background in food and innovation and a passion for systemic impact, she believes in the importance of meaningful connections, creating opportunities for scale-ups and facilitating the collaboration between the whole ecosystem, including startups, investors, corporates, universities, research centers and public institutions as a core driver to scale impact and reshape the future of our food system. Narjis holds an engineering degree and an MBA with major in innovation and entrepreneurship and has been working in various marketing and innovation roles in leading agrifood FMCGs.
Breaking Boundaries: Helaina’s Path to Revolutionize Nutrition with Laura Katz
42:07In today's episode, we speak to the brilliant mind behind Helaina, an innovative ingredients platform that aims to revolutionize the very core of our food industry, starting with an unexpected yet crucial focus: breast milk. Laura's unwavering commitment to transforming the way we approach ingredients has not only caught our attention but also garnered widespread acclaim. She envisions a world where the quality and safety of ingredients are at the forefront of every product, addressing also the pressing issue of malnutrition, particularly in children, in developing countries. In this insightful conversation, we delve into Laura's journey as an entrepreneur, her motivations, and the challenges she has faced while spearheading this ambitious initiative. We explore the profound impact Helaina can have on the lives of those most in need, and how Laura's vision extends beyond breast milk to revolutionize the very fabric of protein-based, healthy ingredients. About Laura Katz, Founder & CEO Laura Katz, a food scientist, is the Founder and CEO of Helaina, a New York City-based biotech company pushing the boundaries of what food can do for health. With its immune-nourishing glycoproteins, Helaina is the first company to bring the immunity properties of breast milk proteins to food for all stages of life -- bridging the gap between food and health. Disrupting the stagnant infant formula category, and meeting booming consumer demand for food with immunity power, Helaina has raised more than $25 million from leading investors. Helaina’s new category of infant formula will support parents who, in the U.S., often have insufficient parental leave policies. Laura became NYU’s youngest-ever adjunct professor in Food Science & Technology in 2017 and was featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2022. She has presented at Collision, Food Hack, Fortune Most Powerful Women NextGen, Future Food Tech, Harvard Business School and Web Summit. Prior to Helaina, Laura developed food products for NUGGS, Plated, and Dylan’s Candy Bar. Laura has reached viral success as a food scientist, generating $60M+ views via an 11-episode stint as the expert food scientist for Epicurious’ 4-Levels video series. She earned a Master’s in Food Studies from NYU and a Bachelor of Sciences in Food Science and Technology from Western University. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with her husband, son Leo, and their Italian Water Dog, Fontina Prosciutto, and writing recipes in hopes of one day publishing a cookbook. About Helaina Founded in 2019, Helaina is a biotech company pushing the boundaries of what food can do for health. With its immune-nourishing glycoproteins, Helaina is the first company to bring the immunity properties of breast milk proteins to food for all stages of life – bridging the gap between food and health. A new category of infant formula will empower and equip parents with the freedom of choice, better access, and crucial immunity support for feeding their babies. As a high-value ingredient in functional foods, from nutritional bars to supplements, Helaina’s glycoproteins will provide immune benefits for all ages. Based in New York City, Helaina has raised more than $25 million from leading investors.
From Farming to Freezing: Discovering Sam Dennigan’s Inspiring Story Behind his Net Zero Regenerative Plant-Based Frozen Food Brand
55:46In today's episode, we learn more about Sam Dennigan's ambition to shake up the frozen food industry and make healthier options accessible to all. Through his company Strong Roots, he has created a global food brand that promotes a healthy lifestyle and gives back to the community by partnering with food banks. We also discussed how this past year this B-Corp achieved net zero, launched a report, and created a truly impact-driven company that looks equally at people, and the planet and makes a positive impact on so many lives. Sam Dennigan's insights and experiences will make the Foodtech Junkies podcast interview an informative and motivating listen for anyone looking to make a positive impact in the food industry. About Sam Dennigan Samuel Dennigan is CEO and founder of Strong Roots and is focused on fixing food from production to product. He was raised on his family farm and learned the ins and outs of the agri sector. In just 5 years, Sam went from veg patch to a global hundred million dollar business, with sustainability always at the forefront. About Strong Roots Strong Roots is a leading global plant-based frozen food brand on a mission to fix the freezer aisle. The company was founded in 2015 with the vision that food can be better. A certified B Corp, Strong Roots is a leader in providing a range of delicious plant-based options, that are sustainably farmed, shipped and sold, better for people and the planet. Working directly with farmers and agronomists, Strong Roots ensures a sustainable supply chain and uses only whole plant vegan ingredients– real, simple, clean. Strong Roots is enjoyed by consumers globally in over 10,000 stores including Tesco, Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart, and Target. Sam also recently closed one of the biggest deals seen in plant-based with a mission to expand the company’s global footprint.
Beyond Earth: Revolutionizing the Way We Think About Food in Space
43:43Meet Phnam Bagley, a space architect and industrial designer who is changing how we view space travel, food tech, and environmental sustainability on Earth. But, Phnam's achievements don't end there - she is also an accomplished creative director, adjunct professor of industrial design, co-host, educator, and board advisor. In this episode, we'll learn about her latest project, the Space Culinary Lab, which gives astronauts access to various foods, ensuring they can enjoy nutritious, flavorful meals on their deep space journeys. We'll also dive into the possibilities space innovation can provide to our current food system and her views on our current challenges and solutions. About Phnam Bagley Phnam designs the future of everything, on and off planet Earth. She is a French industrial designer, futurist and aerospace architect creating cutting-edge hardware and experiences in Wearables, Healthcare and Wellness, Education, Robotics, Transportation, and Aerospace. She specializes in turning groundbreaking technologies into attainable, intuitive, and beautiful products and experiences that help humans become the best versions of themselves.Her work is exclusively focused on projects that support the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and create a positive impact on humanity, the environment and innovation.Phnam works with a variety of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 and government agencies, covering 4 continents. Clients include NASA, Intel, Facebook, Atari, Philips, Alpine, Mistletoe, Halo Neuroscience, and more.She speaks internationally on the subject of “Designing the Future of Everything”, covering stories of sustainability, design, space exploration, education and human flourishing. With her partner Mardis Bagley, she co-hosts an educational video series called Future Future, sharing tools and insights about design and the future of everything. About NonfictionNonfiction is an award-winning creative studio specializing in industrial design, branding, user experience design, space architecture, engineering and strategy.We turn science fiction into reality for a better future.We engage consumers through the design of unique and sophisticated products with rich backstories. Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to funded startups all over the world. We leverage our relationships with manufacturing partners to execute your ideas on time and on budget.
Leading the Charge for a Better Food Future: Insights from Green Queen's Sonalie Figueiras
46:16In this episode, we explored our current food system, the role of technology, policy, and future trends with Sonalie Figueiras. This conversation reminds us that our relationship with food is not just about sustenance but it also encompasses a much wider societal framework. With rapid advancements in technology and increasing awareness around sustainability issues, we are witnessing a massive food system transformation all over the world. It's clear that a bright new era for food tech has dawned. As well as exploring these cutting-edge solutions, however, we also took a more holistic approach to understand what needs to be done on a macro level to ensure sustainability and equity within our current model. Sonalie's journey is a true inspiration for those who strive to make a difference in the world by serving a higher purpose, don't miss this! About Sonalie Figueiras Founder & CEO at Green Queen, Ekowarehouse & Source Green2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds. About Green Queen Founded by serial social entrepreneur and eco activist Sonalie Figueiras in 2011 and based in Hong Kong with a global outlook and an international audience, Green Queen is an award-winning impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change, the leading sustainability news outlet in the Asian region and a global reference for the alternative protein industry, one of the most important consumer products and investment opportunities of our time.
Building Stronger Communities by Sharing Surplus Food: A Guide to Fighting Food Waste
32:08Food waste is a global challenge that is not going away any time soon, but there are solutions out there that can help us reduce its impact on our communities and the environment. This is where Tessa's work with Olio comes in. By providing locals with an accessible way to share food goods that would otherwise go to waste, Olio is making a tangible impact on the world one share at a time. It's inspiring to see the positive numbers speak for themselves, but the real impact is felt by those empowered to make a difference. Together, we can create a more sustainable future and reduce our impact on the planet for future generations. About Tessa Clarke & OLIO Tessa’s childhood was spent on her parents’ farm in the UK. As a result of this rural upbringing she developed a keen appreciation for the value of hard work, the power of nature, and the preciousness of food. Having no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up, she studied Social & Political Sciences at Cambridge University, before taking on a variety of leadership positions in digital businesses. Tessa then had a life changing experience when moving country which led her to co-found Olio, an app that connects people with their local community so that surplus food and other household items can be given away, rather than thrown away; and everyday things can be lent and borrowed, instead of bought brand new. Olio exists to combat the throwaway culture at scale, and has grown its community to over 7 million people so far. It also has over 80,000 trained volunteers who collect unsold food from local businesses, and redistribute it to the local community via the Olio app. In parallel to growing Olio into a global movement, Tessa and her family have been on a personal journey to live more sustainably. As a result of this Tessa firmly believes that sustainable living is about being healthier, wealthier and happier, not sacrifice. She is also passionate about the sharing economy as a solution for a sustainable world, and about ‘profit with purpose’ as the next business paradigm.
The WNWN Revolution: How this Startup is Creating a Win-Win Innovative Approach that is Benefitting Producers, Consumers, and the Environment
38:46In a world where traditional production methods dominate the value chain for cocoa, coffee, and tea, alternative start-ups like WNWN are working hard to change the game. Through traditional fermentation techniques and a focus on regenerative farming, they are leading the charge toward a more sustainable future. It was an absolute pleasure to chat with them on the Foodtech Junkies podcast and hear about their inspiring vision for disrupting the industry. As FoodTech Junkies, we love nothing more than hearing about innovative companies pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo. WNWN is one to keep an eye on! About The Founders Ahrum Pak is the CEO of WNWN (win-win) and a former investment banker and management consultant who worked in the U.S., Europe and Asia to bring IPOs to life. She’s also a fermentation enthusiast raised in a home where the refrigerator was stocked with traditionally home-fermented Korean foods. After earning her MBA, her growing ambition to address food waste and sustainability, and a fortuitous Instagram message, led her to her cofounder Dr. Johnny Drain. Ahrum has been named one of 12 women building sustainable food systems by Green Business magazine and one of 20 Food Heroes by international food standards organization V-Label. Dr. Johnny Drain, the CTO of WNWN (win-win), is a leading global expert on fermentation who grew up a stone’s throw from the world-famous Cadbury chocolate factory in Birmingham. Johnny has brought scientific insights to some of the world’s finest restaurants and bars. His R&D work on behalf of top brands includes setting up in-house fermentation labs, creating novel ingredients, and working with the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. He earned a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Oxford. About WNWN WNWN (win-win) Food Labs was the first in the growing alt-chocolate space to bring cocoa-free chocolate to market. The London startup developed a proprietary fermentation process that transforms sustainable, widely available ingredients like cereals and legumes into premium dark chocolate that looks, smells, tastes, melts, snaps, and bakes like the real thing. In 2022, WNWN was awarded "Best Finished Product" at the World Confectionery Conference in Brussels and this year was named one of the 50 Most Impactful Companies to work for by Impact Fifty. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/wnwn-food-labs
Innovating in the Food Industry: A Conversation with CMO Jeff Binczyk of Inside Tracker
38:22In this episode of FoodTech Junkies, we chat with Jeff Binczyk Chief Marketing Officer of precision health startup Inside Tracker. With 25yrs experience in large corporations like Kellogs and an insatiable need for learning, Jeff is currently researching his dissertation on "how to successfully fail in your small food company Product launch". We’ll hear his thoughts on this topic and more about the startup he joined last year. About Jeff Binczyk Binczyk has been an industry-recognized global marketing executive for over 25 years and has held CMO or equivalent roles at Kellogg's, American Greetings, and Flavorseal. As a Doctoral candidate in Business Administration with a passion for nutrition and health, he arrives at InsideTracker with a proven track record for successfully developing and implementing growth strategies and evolving marketing teams. In his new role, Binczyk will lead through integrated creative and financial skills, drive department innovation within desired KPIs, and enhance InsideTracker's test-learn-optimize approach to profitable growth. About Inside Tracker Founded in 2009 and created by experts in the fields of aging, genetics, and biometric data, InsideTracker provides a personal health analysis and data-driven wellness guide designed to help you live healthier and longer. By analyzing your body's biomarkers, InsideTracker objectively assesses the current state of your well-being. Then, our A.I.-powered platform uses findings from thousands of scientific peer-reviewed publications and over ten billion biomarker data points to generate a custom set of actionable recommendations and insights. Integrated within an intuitive mobile app, InsideTracker reveals your personalized path to improving your health and longevity from the inside out. Read InsideTracker's peer-reviewed papers in Scientific Reports and Current Developments in Nutrition.