A lot of talk about the future of food tends to focus on lab-based meat and fish replacements. Yet dig below the surface and there are plenty of other interesting innovations happening across the globe.
Like Swedish food tech startup Lub Foods, which has just announced a $30m funding round to expand its range of sugar-free healthy snacks. On the horizon are food products that contain fat that you can’t actually absorb!. It is so effective that it cuts the calories of foods like ice cream or baked goods by as much as 92%.
It is down to a plant-based oil called Epogee fat, or EPG, that is not absorbed by the body, due to its molecular structure that resists digestive enzyme action.
Investors have been impressed. The $30m round was led by the food-tech dedicated fund Cap Agro, Stockholm-based Gullspång Invest, investment company Dig Investment as well as the Chicago-based DNS Capital.
They have been impressed by the growth in sales of its products in the US where last year it sold $10m worth of food under the Nick’s banner, including snacks and protein bars, but mainly ice cream.
Sadly for the Swedish-owned, but now California-based company, the EU’s European Food Safety Authority, has been slow to approve its product. The company believes it will be another two to three years, so in the meantime is very much focusing on the north American market.
Co-founder Niclas Luthman told Sifted that the slow regulatory pace of the EI is having a serious impact on food tech startups.
“I would probably have stayed longer in Europe if these innovations had been approved faster”, he says. “The toolbox for us to use while making new recipes is way bigger here. This might even risk that companies in Europe with global potential, are handicapped in the food innovation race”, he continues.
“While we take baby steps the Americans have already walked miles” argues global innovation director Erik Lennartsson.
Luthman adds that they are starting to become profitable in Europe.
“What we see now is leading up to an explosion of consumer-driven demand for food innovation. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have been pushing this development, that I truly enjoy being a part of. Soon they will have to rename Silicon Valley to Food Valley”, Luthman says.