February: A Short Month with Big News

As February comes to close, it's worth taking a look at some of the amazing developments and events that took place in the past few weeks:

Memphis Meats Makes a Meatball

On February 1st, cultured meat startup Memphis Meats announced they had created the world's first cultured meatball, an incredible achievement for a company that only launched five months ago! The historic announcement received enormous media coverage, generated tons of social media buzz, and the announcement's video garnered over 6 million views in just a few days! Since making their historic debut, Memphis Meats (which was launched through IndieBio) is well on their way to continue blazing a trail for cultured meat production - their first meeting with investors netted nearly double their initial investment goal.

Memphis Meats' historic cultured meatball

Memphis Meats' historic cultured meatball

IndieBio Hosts Epic Demo Day

Just a few days later on February 4th, San Francisco biotech incubator/accelerator IndieBio introduced 14 new startups to a sold-out crowd in what can only be termed an epic Demo Day event. 

Their latest "batch" of companies featured an incredible array of entrepreneurs working on everything from do-it-yourself biotech kits and improved brain imaging, to historic breakthroughs in acne and cancer treatment.
But three of the most thrilling pitches were given by IndieBio's group of animal-free food innovators: Gelzen (animal-free gelatin), New Wave Foods (plant-based shrimp), and the aforementioned Memphis Meats (cultured meat).

IndieBio founders Ron Shigeta, Ryan Bethencourt and Arvind Gupta

IndieBio founders Ron Shigeta, Ryan Bethencourt and Arvind Gupta

Each startup gave exciting presentations on their companies, their progress, their first demo products, and why making these foods in a new, more sustainable way without animals is so important. You can watch the entire show here. (Gelzen's presentation is at about the 8:30 mark, New Wave Foods at 40:00, and Memphis Meats at 1:30:30)

CEO of Gelzen Alex Lorestani

CEO of Gelzen Alex Lorestani

New Wave Food's Dominique Barnes

New Wave Food's Dominique Barnes

Uma Valeti of Memphis Meats

Uma Valeti of Memphis Meats

Each startup gave exciting presentations on their companies, their progress, their first demo products, and why making these foods in a new, more sustainable way without animals is so important. You can watch the entire show here. (Gelzen's presentation is at about the 8:30 mark, New Wave Foods at 40:00, and Memphis Meats at 1:30:30)

Hellman's Goes Egg-Free

After they infamously tried to sue plant-based egg company Hampton Creek in 2014, corporate food giant Unilever announced a sudden change of heart several weeks ago, and introduced their very own line of egg-free mayonnaise. Dubbing it "Hellman's Carefully Crafted", the packaging describes the product as a "dressing and sandwich spread" that's "free from cholesterol and eggs." In New Omnivore's view, any animal-free innovation is good innovation, and a positive step towards making food better, so hurray for them!
As for Hampton Creek, they haven't officially commented on their arch-rival's latest surprise, but if nothing else, Unilever's about-face definitely proves the timeless adage: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Plant Butchers Poised for World Domination

In a happy sign of the growing popularity of high quality plant-based meats, another plant-only butcher shop recently opened for business in Berkeley, CA. Slyly named "The Butcher's Son", this delicatessen-style eatery has already been serving up some serious eats:most notably, their drool-worthy Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. They opened February 22nd, and have reportedly been so busy they had to temporarily close this weekend to adjust to demand.

Speaking of plant butchers, New Omnivore's write-up on this growing group of foodies has been viewed over 30,000 times on Medium and was added to Kimball Musk's "Food is the New Internet" page on the site. Check it out here!

That's all the news for February - we look forward to what March and the beginning of spring brings!