Tomorrow’s food engineers: It started in high-tech, went on to start-up, tickled the agtech, and today Israel, the great power of inventions (without being biased, God forbid), has become the beacon of foodtech, the place where ideas continue to grow that not only change the world but also each person’s personal culinary And one of us.
“Israel is a small to tiny market, so the specialty in the first place was where you could deal with software in all shades: cyber, digital, agtech, etc.,” says Liat Cinnamon, VP of Business Development and Strategy at DouxMatok, the flagship product. Its a sugar-reduced sugar-based sugar …
Before we get to the product itself, let’s go back to the cinnamon, which provides one of the main reasons for the success of the Israeli brain in the world. “We know how to develop the knowledge, but not always the industrial production. In the case of Podtech, once the tech enters the pod, it is not very different from the cyber worlds for example.” Cinnamon, which came to Podtech from Agatech (an innovative technology in the agricultural service), says that in recent years opportunities and demand have been created, and the field has attracted people from the agtech and pharma disciplines, and thus was born of itself.
What do you think characterizes the food tech industry the most?
“Thinking outside the box. Our product is the only solution that makes sugar-based sugar reduction. Think about it. There are a lot of sugar substitutes on the market, but what’s the problem with them? I wish tastes. Kids, for example, are not an audience that will buy these substitutes. Which led me to join The company had the idea of producing a solution for reducing sugar for the wider market, which would not be a substitute, but the product itself, only healthier. “
In general, the vision of Podtech is to develop more accessible and healthier things?
“Unequivocally. I think first and foremost this is the place to make a meaningful change that will affect people. And that’s what Israelis want to do. It is impossible to build a technological power in a place that does not make a fundamental change. It is technically easier to do that in the US, but it is The beauty in Israel is that a significant change in a country like ours requires thinking outside the box. “
“Israel is a wonder”
“The question we were faced with was how we could make sugar more efficient, how we could use less quantity but feel the sweetness more,” Cinnamon explains the idea behind the start-up. “We are the only technology in the world that makes sugar-based sugar reduction, our solution is based on real, natural sugar cane, without anything artificial, without artificial molecules. The idea is based on changing the crystalline structure of the sugar, which causes it to dissolve faster in the mouth. Faster to your taste buds and you will feel the sweetness, only with 30% – 50% less sugar. “
The company’s offices, established in 2015 by Eran Baniel and his father Avraham (one of the fathers of Israeli industry, a first-year member of the Weizmann Institute), are all located in Israel, but since there is no local sugar production industry in Israel, the factory is in Canada. “And from there we lead to the whole world,” says Cinnamon. “We also make sure to constantly collaborate with other podtech companies in the country, with components from other companies, in order to improve each other’s product. There is a win-win situation here.”
What does it take to bounce the company forward?
“Ultimately the food industry is a matter of price, and price is a consideration and part of the decision-making system. Israel, with geographical differentiation, has no profit to produce in Israel, so you have to produce at high volume in the early stages so if you need to send a sample to the customer, you need one. Produce inventory and samples as quickly and economically as possible, and this is one of the biggest challenges in the field. “
You must have heard the name Galam in one context or another, and it is no wonder. Galam is the first traditional food company in Israel to start dealing in podtech, even before the genre was there. “In relation to the population, Israel is a marvel in the field of food technology,” says Fernando Sheved, VP of Strategic R&D and Chief Scientist at Galam. “Israel stands out in the field of cultured meat. In the field of algae, for example, the amount of microenzyme start-ups is enormous, beyond any proportion compared to what is happening in other countries. I think it has to do with creative thinking, resources. There has been a fundamental change in the last three or four years. And abroad, too, they already recognize that Israel is a name in the field. “
Galam manufactures raw materials and additives for the food industry in the B to B market, and in early 2020, with the eruption of the corona, they set up a new plant, a long development product of the teams that managed to produce soluble probiotic fiber. “We have developed in an independent enzyme-based process thousands of tons of the probiotic fiber, and in a year and two months of activity we are already selling in 40 countries around the world.”
How do you decide which product to focus on?
“We follow the long-term trends in the market, that is, a trend that is here to stay for the next 20 years. We do not look at trends or miracle diets, but look at what consumers and what industries need for the long term. We are constantly studying the nutritional status of “Regulatory bodies, the FDA for example, publish data on the state of nutrition and chronic diseases in humans, and we examine and see what can fit into a healthy diet in the Western world and look for materials that can address the development of products for these markets.”
This means that you already know what the next invention will be?
“We are constantly looking for more things and examining at this point how they are evolving. There is no other choice, we must look a few years ahead and identify components that will be needed today and also in 15 years and even 20 years.”
On the border of the Strip
“In recent decades, the global – and Israeli – food industry has engaged in a variety of areas, understanding that the food industry has a responsibility to the planet and the company in which it operates, and this can be seen in the development of raw material solutions, carbon footprint reduction, biodegradable packaging and more. The food and the reduction of sugar, fat and sodium, “says Adv. Galia Sagi-Gazit, CEO of the Food Industries Association of the Manufacturers’ Association.” This is due to the understanding that today, more than ever, it is important to maintain a sustainable local industry. As a result, entire departments have been set up in food companies whose job is to develop sustainable solutions and new models, in collaboration with the local ecosystem. “
It is in this context that two particularly successful areas enter the Israeli food technology industry: cultured meat and algae microenzyme. If you have considered reducing meat consumption and you have difficulty with the vegetable substitutes, there is an Israeli company that will produce a whole cultured meat steak by next year. Not a vegetable substitute but real meat, without harming animals. “Cultivated meat production means the creation of meat from the animal’s cells but outside the animal,” says Meirav Yom Tov, VP of Business Development and Strategy at Aleph Farms. “The technology copies the natural process that takes place inside the animal’s body in a controlled production environment. Maximum nutritional values, and of course without the need for antibiotics. “
The civilized meat market is quite developed, what sets your company apart?
“First of all, we are the only company in the world that can produce a whole piece of meat. This is a capability based on decades of research conducted by one of the company’s founders, Prof. Shulamit Levenberg, dean of the Technion’s Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. It is a world leader in tissue engineering. “Research that came from the field of medicine and was converted into the field of food. Besides, we do not produce junk food, but focus on the culinary experience of the meat and the nutritional values.”
The company’s first product – thin cuts of beef steak – is planned to launch in 2022. “We are also planning further development of biological printing of cells that will fit within our production line and enable the production of different chunks of meat. Regulatively, this is one of the challenges we face,” says Yom Tov.
What are the challenges in your industry?
“Production on a global scale and at competitive market prices. In our case, the cells the company uses allow for mass production without an invasive process and without reuse of the animal, which is one of the benefits. We work in full cooperation with global food companies in the US, Japan and Brazil. Although the company is here and our pilot is in Israel, we plan to be a global meat production company next year. “
The Gaza Envelope area made headlines but recently in a completely different context, but we chose to end our journey in the Israeli food technology industry there. Two factories, in Kibbutz Bari and Netivot, belong to the Hinoman company, which recognized the potential of a vegetable called Mankai to become a powerful superfood that would change the diet of us all. “We have identified the possibility of reaching a precise serial production of a vegetable that has a value charge that is the wet dream of every dietitian anywhere in the world,” says Ron Salpter, CEO and founder of Hinoman. “We are the first in the world to build a growing ecosystem that optimizes the vegetable.” An attorney who worked in Japan, and later became an investment advisor. When he reached the age of 50, he decided he wanted to do something valuable and turned to the world of start-ups.
“The potential of this story captured my heart,” says Salpeter, “what was very interesting was to produce the concept: to take an accurate and powerful vegetable in its health components, neutral in taste and smell, and to upgrade and improve with it a long list of foods.”
The plant is grown in hydroponic ponds with unique technologies for Hynoman, as an outgrowth that requires a high level of accuracy, consistency, control and efficiency in the use of natural resources. “This is a new agricultural model: sustainable, sustainable agriculture that uses minimal amounts of water and energy, without the need for agricultural land and without human contact. In addition, nature has given it a natural mechanism by which it replicates itself every 72 hours, and with this unique growing technology it grows And we will shorten 365 days a year, regardless of the seasons and without the need to wait for its growth. “
The acquaintance with the Japanese language and culture and the experience of the start-up that Salpter had led to Hinoman receiving three huge investments from the Japanese company Ajinomoto in the last decade. “It is unusual for a company of this size to invest three times in an Israeli company. I think we have brought to the Gaza Strip the largest investment in the history of the State of Israel.” And not only a short international achievement Hinnom, but also a collaboration with Strauss, which aims to enrich some of the company’s products with bankers. “The idea of taking a natural vegetable, producing it in precise serial production without genetic engineering and allowing health supplementation into food wherever it is, is innovative and intriguing. Food companies from around the world visit us, and seven Harvard universities and research institutes have independently researched the purifier independently, without funding it. “.
The Corona was a challenge for them after the restaurant shutter closed all over the world and the catering market suffered a setback. “Start-ups in general must be very responsive and develop on the go. We responded quickly, and within three months we went out with frozen cleaners to homes.”
“Ultimately there are two huge industries in the world,” Salpter concludes. “A $ 130 billion-a-year superfood industry and a $ 330 billion industry of supplements. We do health supplements. Literally.”