Cows, crickets or coconut ice cream? With food at the heart of many global challenges, from climate change to soil loss, this week we bring you 10 crowdfunding innovations you can actually eat.
1. Goodio Cools
The Finnish food company Goodio already makes chocolate, but they know that even in cold countries people want ice cream. With a successful equity campaign on FundedByMe, they are now getting ready to launch a dairy-free, organic ice cream made from coconuts. They promise it in four flavours – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint – so stay tuned on their Facebook page for future delectation.
What could be more popular than a crowdfunding campaign where the supporters get rewarded in beer? With this Scottish craft beer club, Beer52, beer-lovers can subscribe to receive monthly boxes of craft beers from around the UK. Small, local breweries get national distribution and word-of-mouth advertising, consumers get to try new products, innovators collaborate, and the world becomes merrier and slightly more intoxicated.
Monthly food sampling must be the next big thing, because another new start-up, Flavourly, reached its crowdfunding target within 24 hours. The equity campaign only launched on Angels Den two weeks ago, and the founders have already had to introduce a stretch goal.
Like Beer52, Flavourly is a subscription service in the UK that allows customers to discover new craft beers every month – but this time packages also include fine foods and snacks.
If you’ve ever been grossed out by a bug-eating contest, you might not be so excited about the UN’s recent recommendation that we should all be eating insects. On the other hand, innovators like the guys from Exo think insect protein might be more palatable without the “ick factor” of crunchy legs.
Exo protein bars are made from ground up cricket flour and other, tastier ingredients like chocolate. Eating crickets could help overcome the global food crisis, since they need much less food and water than, say, cows, have much lower GHG emissions, and reproduce faster. They also have more iron and high calcium content.
Cut to the chase and get straight to the heart of things with the Dutch scheme Koopeenkoe, where customers buy beef directly from the source. The best part? A cow isn’t slaughtered until every part of it has been sold, minimising waste and maximising freshness. The cows are raised on a mostly organic diet and outside most of the time, and customers get to eat locally. The website is in Dutch, but this article explains the process in English.
6. Foodie Dice
Finally, a legitimate excuse to “play with your food”. This Kickstarter project spices up an ordinary cooking experience with an element of chance. To play, role six Foodie Dice, see what ingredients land face-up, and use all or some of them to make your meal more creative. The basic pack includes nine dice: protein, cooking method, grain/carb, herb, bonus ingredient, plus spring, summer, autumn, and winter vegetables. The bonus pack includes a wild card, spices, dessert and vegetarian protein. This campaign only finished in November, but you can already order your own Foodie Dice on the website.
7. Pizza Rossa
The award for best start-up of 2013 – at least on Crowdcube – goes to Pizza Rossa, a new fast-food restaurant hitting the streets of London later this year. Their campaign also beat records for largest amount of equity funding raised in the UK. Unlike Italy or New York, good pizza by the slice has apparently been hard to find in Britain – but not for much longer.
8. inSpiral Kale Chips
Bye-bye fatty potato crisps, hello guilt-free kale chips. Wildly popular in US health food circles, this superfood is becoming increasingly mainstream in Europe. The start-up inSpiral markets their kale chips as a raw food, vegan, gluten-free, additive free, organic snack – salty, flavourful, and still good for you.
Thanks to their Crowdcube campaign, these Inspiral kale chips are now cheaper, more widely available, and sold in a 100% compostable packaging. Check out their inspir(al)ing crowdfunding pitch on Youtube.
If you see cooking as a hassle you may find new happiness in Soylent, a food replacement that claims to “free your body” from food. Whether Soylent makes eating pleasurable is debatable, and some nutritionists are dubious about its health benefits. Still in its experimental phase, if more widely accepted Soylent may also help ease global hunger and malnutrition. In the meantime, its new nutrition label sheds some light on its many health-giving ingredients.
One thing is certain: Soylent’s crowdfunding campaign has been a massive success, raising around $2 million. The product should be available for wider consumption in spring 2014.
Like 4D printing, crowdfunding perpetuates itself. Through GoFundMe, individuals can raise cash for their own personal projects – in this case, FundaFeast. One of the first dedicated food crowdfunding sites, FundaFeast went live on February 1st and may mark the beginning of a increase in more specialised crowdfunding platforms than the Kickstarter and Indiegogo giants.
Other food crowdfunding (foodfunding?) platforms – mostly US-based – include Credibles, where customers support local food business in exchange for credit, and Foodstart, raising money for restaurants and food trucks.
All of these projects sound delicious, but where are the Norwegians? If you know of a Norwegian crowdfunded food scheme, we want to hear about it!