Heads up on an upcoming event! I’ll be moderating a panel discussion at Digital Hollywood in October. We’ll be talking about food innovators, disruptors and Influencers with a focus on industry change agents and start-up pioneers.
I’m excited about this because this is at the heart of the FutureFood mission: understanding food innovators and how they change the food supply chain.
When you think of food innovators, you might think of your favorite celebrity chef, like José Andrés, Jessica Koslow, Dan Barber, or Mei Lin. Some of these innovators are social activists, like Andrés. Others are changing our perceptions of “local and fresh” like Barber and Koslow. Still others, like Roy Choi, bring a chef’s attitude and skills to food truck culture and have launched a culinary movement on wheels. You can get any kind of food from a food truck now. Not only is it delicious, but the movement is introducing people to new foods and cultures.
There’s another kind of food innovator, though. The tech kind. Soylent has become the granddaddy of liquid nourishment. Hippeas has put much marketing savvy into puffed chickpeas. Scientists like Dr. Michael Graham have founded startups to develop new food sources in seaweed, harvesting it, and distributing it to restaurants. Nona Yehia created Vertical Harvest, a vertical farm in Jackson Hole, WY that produces vegetables even in the winter and has a social mission to employ people with special abilities.
The innovators are in local to Los Angeles, too. This is a good thing for me because I can invite some of them to be part of the panel at the Digital Hollywood event.
Farmscape is the largest urban farming company in the country. Lara Hermanson, its co-founder, has overseen the design and installation of more than 700 backyard and corporate gardens in California. Making urban farming easier and more accessible is a pivotal DIY innovation in health and sustainability.
Salty Girl Seafood is a women-led company founded by fisheries scientists. They make sustainable, tradable, ready to cook seafood. You enter a code on the back of the package and you can trace where your fish came from.
True Food Innovations is a Newport Beach investment firm run by food and real estate investor Alan True. Bought up the assets of Chef’d meal kid delivery service and has redeployed into supermarket meal kits. Also owns True Chef meal kits, already marketed in supermarkets. Reflective of the intense competition among meal-kit companies. Exploring ways to pivot meal-kits to a new direction.
Memphis Meats cultivates meat in a lab. It was founded by Dr. Uma Valeti, a Mayo Clinic-trained cardiologist and pioneer in cell-based meat since 2005.
Imperfect Produce has taken an important idea about food and made it easy to access. They collect the carrot that grew into a funny shape, the surplus berries, the lettuce that didn’t sell at the farmer’s market, and deliver it to your door. While the produce isn’t always perfect, the idea is, rescuing perfectly good food that otherwise would be thrown away.
Here are the details for the event. Hope to see you there!
Thursday, October 18 — 2:00 – 2:45 PM