Fifteen startups changing the future of food selected for March 28 pitch competition and mentorship

SAN FRANCISCO (January 31, 2019) FoodBytes! by Rabobank, a global pitch competition and networking platform for innovative food, food tech and agtech entrepreneurs, has unveiled the 15 startups selected for FoodBytes! San Francisco 2019. These changemakers will showcase their technologies and products March 28 at Terra Gallery – and participate in a mentorship immersion that provides insights and lasting connections to scale their impact on the way we eat, source and produce food. New this year, startups selected based on rigorous criteria will compete in FoodBytes’ live pitch competition for a chance to win honors in three categories: food and agriculture technology, consumer packaged goods and people’s choice. 

“The Bay Area is at the forefront of sustainable food and agriculture innovation, which is why FoodBytes! launched here in 2015 and why we’re excited to host our 15th edition where it all started,” said Nina Meijers, startup relationship manager for Rabobank’s Food & Agriculture Innovation Team. “The startups competing at FoodBytes! SF are pioneering new solutions to real problems in our food system, including reducing food waste by brewing beer using leftover bread, combating plastic waste with cost-comparable plant-based compostable packaging and diversifying protein consumption with ‘clean meat’ and novel alternative proteins. We’re thrilled to connect them to the Rabobank network and support them at FoodBytes! and beyond.”


The 15 FoodBytes! SF 2019 startups addressing significant food and sustainability issues are:


Food Tech:

  • SnapDNA (Mountain View, Calif.) – the industry’s fastest food safety pathogen test for E. coli, salmonella and listeria. Its technology eliminates the need to culture bacteria prior to analysis, making it possible to test food samples in the field and secure analysis in just over an hour.
  • PLANETARIANS (Palo Alto, Calif.) – upcycles byproducts and solid food waste into high-protein, high-fiber ingredients. Using a process that emits 99 percent fewer CO2 gases and requires no additional land or water, its functional protein flour from upcycled defatted seeds has 2x the protein and fiber at the same cost of wheat flour.
  • Bond Pets (Nederland, Colo.) – maker of dog and cat foods sourced from real animal protein, without the animal. The company produces high-quality animal proteins through fermentation – without the environmental impact of conventionally-raised meat.
  • Corumat (Pomona, Calif.) – maker of packaging that is 100% plant based, compostable, insulating and up to 30 percent lower in cost than traditional technologies. Corumat’s bioplastics generate 60 percent less CO2 during production than the plastics traditionally used to make red party cups.
  • Zymtronix (Ithaca, N.Y.) – stabilizes and delivers enzymes to enable cost-effective and sustainable ways of manufacturing the ingredients of tomorrow. In agricultural applications, stabilizes and delivers biocidal enzymes to create sustainable processes for crop protection.



  • Osmo Systems (Oakland, Calif.) – developer of the Osmobot, an aquaculture water quality sensor that allows shrimp and fish farmers to continuously monitor their ponds online — decreasing mortalities and improving feeding conversion at a fraction of the cost of legacy monitoring systems.
  • Hargol FoodTech (Misgav, Israel) – operates the world’s first commercial grasshopper farm using proprietary technology for efficient, large-scale farming of grasshoppers. Its grasshopper protein products offer one of nature’s most efficient and sustainable protein sources.
  • Healthy Cow (Toronto, Canada) – develops products to help dairy farmers reduce their reliance on antibiotics and hormones. Its first product, ProPreg, offers a bovine intravaginal probiotic that supports a healthy vaginal microbiome in dairy cows.
  • Bushel (Fargo, N.D.) – the grain industry’s first software platform and app that allows grain elevators and cooperatives to digitally connect with their growers and deliver near real-time information that informs better business decisions.
  • CropIn Technology Solutions (Bengaluru, India) – provides SaaS solutions to agribusinesses globally that enable agri-ecosystem stakeholders, including farmers, to adopt digital strategy and decision-making tools across their operations to maximize value per acre.


Sustainable Consumer Foods (CPG):

  • Toast Ale (New York, N.Y.) – fighting food waste by brewing craft beer from unsold bread from local bakeries that would have otherwise been wasted. Toast donates all profits to Feedback, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing food waste.
  • GEM (Los Angeles, Calif.) – maker of the first real food multi-vitamin built for women, by women. Made from 13 algae and plant-based ingredients, GEM is the first FDA-regulated daily vitamin that provides vitamins and minerals women need more for everyday wellbeing.
  • Shaka Tea (Hilo, Hawaii) – supports regenerative agriculture and economic development while offering the first line of Hawaiian-grown, no sugar-added, herbal iced teas brewed with māmaki, an antioxidant powerhouse only found and grown in the Hawaiian Islands.
  • The Worthy Company (Chicago, Ill.) – creators of the Worthy Blendie Bowl, a plant-based superfood snack. Handcrafted recipes combine fruits, vegetables, legumes and chia in a spoonable “blendie” that delivers high-protein, high-fiber nutrition on the go.
  • Taali (Wilmington, Del.) – maker of snacks made from popped water lily seeds and non-GMO, whole and natural ingredients. Taali aims to introduce healthier new grains into the US snack market to reduce reliance on potato corn, wheat or extruded foods.


Prizes for Winning Startups:

New this year, the 15 FoodBytes! SF startups are in the running to win one of three prizes: the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Award, the Food and AgTech Award (selected by the judges) and the People’s Choice Award (as voted by the audience across categories). The new CPG and tech award categories debut for the first time to better reward innovation in distinct sectors.


Winners Will Receive:

  • The opportunity to pitch and network with hundreds of C-level food and agriculture (F&A) executives at Rabobank’s Annual Food & Agriculture Summit in New York City in December 2019. 
  • Valuable business consultation services, including:
    • Legal consultation from food and ag law firm Polsinelli
    • Go-to-market consultation from The Intertwine Group
    • Recruiting consultation from Creative Alignments
  • An innovation day with ADM’s food and beverage product advisors
  • Access to Rabobank research reports


Connections, Knowledge and Resources for All Participating Startups:

  • A full-day mentorship immersion led by industry experts on fundraising, branding, consumer trends, legal and go-to-market strategy
  • One-on-one conversations with industry experts and direct feedback on products, technologies and pitches
  • In-person networking opportunities with corporate leaders, investors, influencers and peers
  • Ongoing opportunities and support from Rabobank beyond the two-day FoodBytes! event
  • A tight-knit community of 250+ FoodBytes! alumni for continued networking


FoodBytes! SF is supported by presenting sponsor ADM, a world-leading nutrition company with the widest range of specialty ingredients, blends, systems and experience that supports food and beverage companies looking to get to market quickly with products consumers love. Additional support comes from official sponsors Printpack, Polsinelli and foodspace+co; as well as supporting sponsors Agropur, Compass Group, Creative Alignments, The Interwine Group and Boulder Food Group.

“As a mentor for nine editions of FoodBytes!, I can say with confidence that FoodBytes! is an unmatched barometer for innovation in the food and ag industries,” said FoodBytes! SF judge Bob Bloom, global account director, ADM. “For ADM, it’s a valuable opportunity to preview the future of food and connect directly with entrepreneurs who are as passionate as we are about developing new ingredients, technologies and products that have sustainability and purpose built into their DNA.”

Purchase tickets to FoodBytes! SF here. Keep up with FoodBytes! by joining the newsletter and following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or via #foodbytes.


About FoodBytes! by Rabobank:

Rabobank, a premier global food and agribusiness bank, first launched FoodBytes! in San Francisco in 2015 as part of its Banking for Food (B4F) strategy. Rabobank believes that sustainability and innovation are critical in promoting a thriving food and agricultural industry that will feed the increasing global population, expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Since launching in 2015, 250 startups have pitched on the FoodBytes! stage, 1,700 startups have applied from 59 countries and more than 4,100 people have attended events in North America, Europe and Australia. Rabobank is a leading global food and agriculture bank, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain.


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